Why Do I Have Back Pain On One Side Of My Back?

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 7, 2022

Foraminal Stenosis

Back pain comes in many forms, but for some people, their discomfort tends to develop on one side of their spine. Maybe they have pain in their upper right portion of their back, or the problem lies just above their hip on their left side. If back pain isn’t developing uniformly, what might be going on to cause the issue? In today’s blog, we examine why back pain may be developing on one side of your spine, and some tips for preventing and treating these types of issues.

Back Pain On One Side

If you’re dealing with back pain on one side of your spine, here are some of the most common culprits and some advice for treating these injuries.

  • Muscle Strains And Sprains – If pain is minor or moderate, it could just be the result of a muscular strain to a specific muscle on one side of your back. This is common if you recently engaged in strenuous physical activity, like if you were playing sports, lifting and moving heavy objects or just finished a day at the construction site. If you recently put your spine under a lot of stress, especially if you were twisting or turning, a muscle strain may be to blame. These typically resolve well with rest, icing and working to avoid stressing the area for a short while.
  • Organ Issues – Although it may feel like pain is housed in your back, it could actually be an issue with one of your organs. A problem with your kidney, liver or appendix can result in discomfort that mimics back pain, but the true issue is with the organ. For sharp pain or discomfort that worsens, head to an urgent care facility to get to the bottom of your pain.
  • Uneven Stress – If you put uneven stress on one side of your back, muscles will be asked to provide different levels of support, and that can lead to an overstress injury. For example, if you always carry your backpack looped over your right shoulder, or you walk with your shopping bags in your left arm, stress may be disproportionately placed on one side of your back, which can lead to different joint or muscle problems. Strive to have stress displaced evenly on your arms, shoulders and spine.
  • Nerve Problems – Symptoms can vary depending on where a nerve is compressed. If you end up suffering a pinched nerve, it can lead to shooting pain along the extremities in your right or left side. Determining where nerve impingement is located can help a spine specialist figure out the best way to free the compression.
  • Unrelated Joint Problems – A final common reason for back pain on one side of your spine is due to an issue in a different joint in your body. If you’re dealing with hip, knee or ankle joint problems, there’s a good chance that your gait is affected. If you have a hitch in your step or are walking with a limp, this will change how stress is dispersed in your body. Inevitably, one side of your body will begin to compensate for the weaker or injured side, and this increase in stress can lead to physical symptoms in different areas of your body, like your back. Take care of joint problems that are affecting your gait, and your spine problems may resolve.

For individual advice on how to treat your back pain, or to learn more about why you’re experiencing symptoms on only one side of your back, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.

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