Lower Left Back Pain from Internal Organs

Lower Left Back Pain from Internal Organs

Lower back pain is a condition that’s becoming increasingly common, affecting nearly 70% of adults at some stage in their lives. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that lower back pain, or LBP, is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. Lower back pain can often be attributed to injuries in muscles, ligaments or the spine. However, when the pain is felt on one side of your back, such as the lower left side of your back, it can be a sign of a more serious issue with internal organs like the kidneys, colon, uterus or pancreas.

In this blog post, we will be exploring different causes and symptoms of lower left side back pain from internal organs in both males and females, along with diagnostic and treatment options and when your pain may be an emergency.

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Causes and symptoms of lower left side back pain from internal organs

Some types of lower left back pain can be an indication of a problem with abdominal organs present in both males and females, such as kidneys, the pancreas or the colon. Some internal causes of lower left back pain include the following:

  • Kidney stones: Kidney stones are a hard buildup of minerals and acids that are made up of chemicals in the urine. Lower left back pain from a kidney stone can occur when the stone moves inside the kidney or when your body tries to pass (eliminate) the kidney stone by pushing from the kidneys to the bladder. This movement may cause not only lower left back pain but also symptoms such as pain during urination, a persistent urge to urinate coupled with difficulty in doing so, the presence of blood in the urine, and nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Kidney infections (pyelonephritis): A left kidney infection can lead to lower left back pain, ranging from a dull ache to intense discomfort. Often originating in the urinary tract and bladder, kidney infections can escalate and spread to the kidneys, resulting in localized inflammation and pain. Along with pain in your back, side or groin, common symptoms of a kidney infection can include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, a burning feeling or pain when urinating, or frequent urination. The pain, typically located next to the spine above the hip, often becomes more pronounced with movement or pressure.
  • Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis, a condition that occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed, often results in upper abdominal discomfort that can radiate to the lower left area of the back. This discomfort can be exacerbated by eating, particularly when consuming fatty foods. In cases of acute (short-term) pancreatitis, the pain may persist for hours or days, while chronic (long-term) pancreatitis may cause discomfort that lasts considerably longer. Additional symptoms associated with pancreatitis can include fever, nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Ulcerative colitis: Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the colon (large intestine). This inflammation often results in symptoms such diarrhea, rectal discomfort, weight loss and abdominal cramping. The abdominal cramping in particular can manifest as acute pain in the back and abdomen, affecting the left side of the back.
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Causes of lower left side back pain in females

While anyone can be impacted by lower back pain caused by internal organs like the kidneys, colon, or pancreas, there are some types of internal lower left back pain that impact females in particular. They can be a result of the following:

  • Gynecological disorders: There are several gynecological disorders that can cause lower left back pain in females. Endometriosis is a chronic and often painful medical condition in which tissue similar to the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. This tissue can be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the lining of the pelvic cavity, and in rare cases, even beyond the pelvic organs. Back pain is a common symptom of endometriosis, along with painful intercourse, excessive bleeding, and chronic pelvic pain. Fibroids – uterine masses that are typically benign – are another gynecological disorder that can result in lower left side back pain in females. Common symptoms include lower left side back pain, abnormal menstruation, and frequent urination.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnancy often leads to back pain for a number of reasons, including weight gain, changes in postures, hormonal changes, stress, and pregnancy-induced sciatica. However, a lesser known cause of lower back pain in females caused by internal organs is muscle separation: as the uterus (a female reproductive organ) expands, the muscles along the abdomen may separate, altering the normal support for the back and potentially leading to pain. The intensity and nature of back pain during pregnancy can vary widely among different individuals, and while it’s a common occurrence, persistent or severe back pain pain should be evaluated by a healthcare provider to rule out any underlying issues.
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Causes of lower left side back pain in males

As discussed above, some types of lower left side back pain can be gender-specific. In males, lower left side back pain caused by internal organs can a result of the following conditions:

  • Prostatitis: Lower left side back pain in men could be linked to issues with the prostate, a gland found only in males. Conditions such as prostatitis, which is an inflammation of the prostate, can lead to discomfort and pain in the lower back region. This pain might be particularly localized on the left side.
  • Prostate cancer: Lower left back pain in males can be a manifestation of prostate cancer, particularly if the cancer has advanced and spread to the nearby areas or bones. This pain may arise as the cancer affects the nerves and muscles in the lower back. Along with this localized pain, common symptoms of prostate cancer may include difficulties with urination, such as a weak or interrupted urine flow; frequent urges to urinate, especially at night; blood in the urine or semen; erectile dysfunction; and unexplained weight loss. Early detection and prompt medical attention are vital, as early-stage prostate cancer may not exhibit any noticeable symptoms at all.

When is lower left side back pain an emergency?

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should seek emergency medical care, as the pain may be indicative of a serious or life-threatening issue:

  • Sudden, severe pain in your lower back
  • Fever and/or chills
  • An acute change in the severity of your back pain
  • new symptoms associated with the back painHowever, if the pain is mild but is still not resolving within a week, you should consult a healthcare provider who will conduct a physical examination, discuss your medical history, and run diagnostic tests to identify the cause of your pain.
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What does treatment for lower left side back pain look like?

Treatment options can range from OTC pain relievers or muscle relaxants to prescription medications, physical therapy or surgery. In order to properly diagnose and treat lower left side back pain, your healthcare provider may require an x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scan to examine soft tissue and check for any internal injuries or growths. Conditions such as kidney stones can cause acute low back pain, and a physical examination might be required to help diagnose any underlying causes of low back pain.

Whether you are experiencing acute low back pain, or have been dealing with chronic low back pain for several weeks, Sesame offers care from real, quality doctors near you. Don’t let low back pain control your life. Book a telehealth visit or an in-person doctor visit on Sesame today to discuss treatment options that will work for you.