Lower Right Back Pain: Causes and Treatment Options
The lower back supports the most significant weight of the human body. This is one of the reasons why the lower back is more susceptible to injuries and inflammations that other parts of the body. Health conditions in other parts of the body (inflammation and infections) are believed to cause back pains too. Mechanical issues with ligaments, tendons, the spine, and muscles are, however, to blame for lower right back pains. Kidney stones, infections, and appendicitis may have a similar effect.
Depending on the cause, treatment for these conditions may involve surgery, physical therapy, or both. For some, the pain may be acute with sharp shooting pain, while others may experience a chronic but dull ache that lingers on for much longer. The pain may occur specifically to the right side, or in parts of the legs and the back. Experts believe the severity of the pain depends on the triggering element or condition.
This article discusses the most common causes of lower right back pains and potential remedies/treatments.
Strains and Sprains
Lifting heavy items (such as furniture, refrigerator, etc.) can put lots of tension to your back, causing tendons and muscles to overstretch, hence back pains.
Sprains happen when one or two ligaments are overstretched, causing them to tear, while strains are a result of muscles and tendons tearing due to too much pressure. Both strains and sprains can also occur due to one lifting a weighty object, a sudden movement, or an injury. These are mainly characterized by sharp pain and restricted movement on the affected part/area. The torn ligaments cause excruciating pain on the lower right back.
Sprains and strains tend to heal naturally, hence no need for specialized medical care. You can, however, take anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen) for the pain as well as ease the discomfort. A little physical therapy may also come in handy too.
Radiculopathy can occur when a spinal nerve root is inflamed, compressed, or due to an injury. The affected nerve may lead to lower back pains on either side.
While the causes of radiculopathy may vary, a herniated disc is one of the prevalent causes of the same. Disc herniation occurs when a spinal disc slips out of place.
Radiculopathy can be treated using anti-inflammatory medications to help with the pain. While the treatment method may vary depending on the cause, steroid injections may be used in severe cases. This helps manage pain and inflammation accordingly. Physical therapy and losing weight can also be a solution. This is particularly the best treatment option for overweight and obese persons.
Spinal stenosis is a condition that manifests as a result of space around the spinal cord narrowing, which puts a lot of pressure on the nerves and the spinal cord. The pressure exerted may cause numbness and pain around the lower back and legs. Arthritis may also be to blame for spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis can be treated through:
- Physical therapy
- Acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Steroid injections
Intervertebral Disc Degeneration
This condition is characterized by the degeneration of the discs that support the vertebrae.
This is usually as a result of increased friction between the discs that support the bones. The friction causes waves of pain in the legs, neck, back, and arms. This condition is prevalent among aging adults. Some of the treatment options for this condition include:
- Steroid injections
- NSAIDs, pain medications, and steroids
- Facet rhizotomy
- Physical therapy
Infections on other parts of the body may manifest in the form of lower right back pains too. The intervertebral discs, pelvis, and the spinal cord may also be infected by bacteria causing back pains as well. Studies also show that the bacteria can reach as far as the kidneys causing an infection. This is because kidneys sit in the lower right-hand side of the back.
The cause or type of infection determines the best kind of treatment/medication for the same. Antibiotics are, however, the standard treatment for most bacterial infections. The doctor will determine the best treatment method for these infections.
This condition may occur when the tissue supposed to line up with the uterus grows elsewhere. It is common for this tissue to grow on the right side of the abdomen, causes back pains. Medical researchers are yet to come up with a treatment for this condition. The doctor will, however, administer treatment to help provide relief from the symptoms. Some of the treatment options used include:
- a. Hormone therapy
- b. Surgery
- c. Pain medication (acetaminophen or NSAIDs)
Endometriosis may lead to infertility, one of the reasons women (with this condition) are advised to consider in-vitro fertilization.
A spinal tumor may be the reason you have been having chronic back pains.
The tumor may/can grow on the spinal column causing the pain. While the causes of tumors may be unknown, medical researchers believe tumors are a result of aggressive replication of cancerous cells. The growing tumor exerts pressure on the spine and nerve endings, causing severe back pains.
The most commonly used treatments for spinal tumors involve chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Surgery may also be necessary to help remove the tumor.
Kidney stones can be defined as small solid lumps of minerals that form in one or both kidneys.
While smaller kidney stones can be excreted painlessly, the same cannot be said about larger ones. The stuck lumps cause excruciating pain, which could extend to the lower right back (if the right kidney is affected).
Breaking the lumps/stones into smaller pieces can help provide relief from the problem. Surgery may, however, be the only viable solution for severe cases.
This condition can be defined as the inflammation of the appendix. The appendix is the small pouch found next to the large intestine. Inflammation of the same causes pain in the abdomen, which almost always travels to the lower right back.
Surgery is conceivably the best way to treat appendicitis. The procedure involves removing the appendix altogether. This, however, doesn't affect the normal functions of the body.
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The severity of lower right back pains majorly depends on the underlying problem. Most mechanical injuries to the spine and surrounding tissues may heal naturally. While this may take time, physical therapy and other forms of treatment can help accelerate the healing process. Ongoing treatment may be the only option for conditions such as endometriosis and disk degeneration.
Diagnosing infections and other causes of back pains early enough, and ensuring the patient receives prompt (and effective) treatment for the same can help prevent/reduce lower right back pains. Physical therapy may also help prevent certain conditions, including disc herniation.