Why Do You Have Back Pain on One Side?

Back pain is mostly felt bilaterally in the lower, middle or upper region of the spine, but some people may experience back pain on one side only.

Back pain is mostly felt bilaterally in the lower, middle or upper region of the spine, but some people may experience unilateral back pain (occurring on one side of the body). Unilateral back pain may be right-sided or left-sided. Some patients suffer from constant pain while some experience intermittent pain. The character of pain may also vary, i.e. it may be of the dull type, throbbing or stabbing.

Causes of Lower Left Back Pain

There may be several causes of lower left back pain but here we’ll discuss the most common causes.

Soft Tissue Damage

Damage to the tissue of one or more back muscles (such as muscle strain or sprain) in this region occurs due to overuse or overstretching, or even from minor injuries, resulting in pain. Muscle spasms may also happen due to inflammation and may also lead to pain.

Spinal Column Damage

Back pain due to the damage of the vertebral column may be caused by:

  1. Disc herniation
  2. Osteoarthritis in the facet joints
  3. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

Problems with Internal Organs

Lower left back pain may also happen due to any problem in the organ of this region, such as:

  1. Kidney infection
  2. Kidney stones
  3. Pancreatitis
  4. Ulcerative colitis (an illness where the large intestine becomes inflamed)
  5. Gynecological problems in females such as endometriosis or fibroids


Radiculopathy takes place due to compression, injury or inflammation because the roots of the spinal nerve are affected. There may be several causes of radiculopathy but the most common one is disc hernia. The treatment of underlying cause results in pain relief.

Spinal Stenosis

This condition takes place when the space around the spinal cord becomes congested and thus the pressure is exerted onto the roots of spinal nerves. Pain, numbness and tingling sensations take place in the affected region of back and legs. This condition most commonly takes place due to arthritis.

Intervertebral Disc Degeneration

Intervertebral discs support the vertebral bones. When intervertebral disc degeneration takes place in the lower left side of the back, you might feel pain. Pain is felt because friction in between vertebral bones is enhanced due to degenerative processes. Pain is also felt in the neck, legs, and arms.

Steroid injections and physical therapy are used as treatment modalities.


Infections may occur in several places in the body which can lead to lower left back pain. Infection may take place in an intervertebral disc, the pelvis or the spinal cord. Bacteria may also extend up to kidneys which are in the lower spine region. Antibiotics are used for the treatment of bacterial infection.


Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissues that line the uterus are found somewhere else in the body. It often causes pelvic pain or sharp pain in the lower back. Painkillers are used to relieve pain for such conditions.

Causes of Right-Sided Back Pain

Common causes of lower right back pain include:

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are composed of excess minerals and salts, and they are solid structures. When a small kidney stone is entrapped in the ureter (part of the urinary tract), sharp stabbing pain is felt in the back, groin and lower part of the abdomen.

Urination is painful in this situation.

Other symptoms include difficulty in passing the urine or blood in the urine. The treatment of this condition includes drugs to relax the ureter, shock wave lithotripsy and surgical procedures.

Bone Spurs

It is a bony projection of vertebral bones which may appear on either side of the back but is more common on the lower right side. It causes less room for spinal nerves. Nerve roots are compressed and pain is felt in the affected region which may radiate to the legs as well.


Low back pain either on the right or left side may happen in pregnancy. Discomfort in the back due to pregnancy may be relieved by warm baths, gentle stretching, massage, and ordinary painkillers.

When to Consider a Doctor?

Sometimes, one-sided back pain is a medical emergency. You should immediately seek medical attention if you have the following symptoms:

  • Sudden and severe pain that is not settled by rest
  • Severe one-sided back pain along with abdominal pain
  • Confusion, dizziness, and difficulty in breathing
  • Intermittent or continuous fever with rigors and chills
  • Difficulty in passing urine, painful urination or bloody urine
  • Bowel or bladder continence or incontinence
  • Weakness, numbness or tingling sensations in the back or upper and lower limbs

Tips to Handle One Sided Back Pain

  • Take proper rest. Minimise normal physical activities for the initial 48 hours
  • Apply hot or cold fomentation to the affected area
  • Use over-the-counter pain relievers. NSAIDs are the best pain medications in this regard.
  • Sleep in a comfortable position keeping a pillow between your legs.
  • Do not perform activities which involve bending or twisting of the back.
  • Do not perform heavy exercise immediately after the occurrence of pain.

Sometimes, pain that occurs only on one side of the spine, is not caused by something serious, even when the sufferer experiences chronic pain. In many cases, spine-related pain is caused by spine-related problems, such as pinched nerves, spinal stenosis, disc problems, or sciatica, all of which can cause one-sided lower back pain, middle back pain, neck pain, leg pain, arm pain and hip pain.

Backrack - An innovative treatment for your one sided back pain!

The Backrack is an innovative device that helps decompress your spine naturally through easy exercises that use only your own body weight. It is a patented class I medical device, meaning it is very safe to use at home. On top of that it is 100% natural and free from side-effects. The device has been designed with people like you in mind to give you the best possible comfort and relief from one-sided back pain. Join thousands of people who have already seen great results from using the Backrack.
Latest Posts

Sign up our newsletter to get article update about backrack therapy.

Learn how to fix back pain.