Pain in the right side of the lower back: what is it due to?

Muscle problems are one of the most common causes of lower back pain. Unfortunately, this symptom can also occur in multiple pathologies such as endometriosis, appendicitis, and kidney conditions.

Last update: December 11, 2021

Pain in some area of ​​the body is one of the main symptoms of multiple pathologies. For this reason, the appearance of pain in the right side of the lower back is a cause for concern for many people.

The only abdominal organs located in the lumbar region are the kidneys., so pain in this area is associated with kidney disease. However, other tissues and the genitalia share sensory fibers with the lower back.

Causes of pain in the right side of the lower back

This is one of the most frequent symptoms. In fact, studies establish that up to 80% of people will suffer from it.

Pain in the right side of the lower back is associated with muscle or kidney disorders. However, it can also appear in the context of serious pathologies that require immediate medical attention.

1. Muscle or spinal problems

Muscle or spinal problems are one of the main culprits for lower back pain. This pain is also known as low back pain. In most cases, it appears due to mechanical alterations, such as muscle tension due to improper posture.

Lifting heavy objects incorrectly can also cause this pain to appear. The muscles of the lower back can stretch or tear when they are exerted too much. Finally, wear on the intervertebral discs is another frequent cause, due to friction between bone surfaces.

Fortunately, conservative treatment usually has favorable results. Special exercises, physical therapy, and the use of over-the-counter pain relievers are allies. Surgery is reserved for very serious cases.

There are work postures that favor the appearance of pain in the lower back. Especially office jobs.

2. Kidney diseases

Another common cause of pain in the right side of the lower back is kidney disease, specifically when it affects the right kidney. The common conditions that cause this type of pain are infections and kidney stones.

Kidney stones are solid deposits of mineral salts that are formed in the kidneys and move through the urinary tract. They cause great pain in the lower back as they move, as they tend to injure the walls of the ureter. In addition to pain, people may have an urge to urinate, oliguria, or hematuria.

Treatment for this condition will vary, depending on the size of the stone. Specialists can indicate medications that facilitate the exit of the same. They can also pulverize it with a shock wave technique or remove it surgically.

On the other hand, urinary infections can ascend and affect the kidney, causing pain in the right side of the lower back. One of the most frequent etiological agents is Escherichia coli, according to various studies. However, many bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract can cause this condition.

People with these infections may also have fever, burning when urinating, foul urine, nausea, and vomiting.. Fortunately, treatment with antibiotics can resolve the condition in its entirety. However, the infection can lead to permanent kidney damage.

3. Appendicitis

The appendix is ​​a portion of the large intestine located on the lower right side of the abdomen. This portion of the intestine can become inflamed and cause a very painful pathology called appendicitis.

The pain of appendicitis usually begins in the upper abdomen. As the condition progresses, the pain is localized in the lower right part of the abdomen; at this point, it can also radiate to the lower back. The irradiation is due to the fact that both areas share some nerve fibers.

Appendicitis can manifest with other symptoms such as general malaise, nausea, vomiting and even fever. In addition, the pain tends to get worse with movements or after pressure in certain specific areas.

The only treatment for appendicitis is surgical removal of the appendix. The procedure should be performed as soon as possible, because there is a risk that the organ will rupture and fecal matter will be dispersed in the abdomen.

4. Endometriosis

The endometrium is the inner lining of the uterus. It is an epithelial tissue of rapid renewal, which is shed with menstruation and is constantly renewed, preparing for a possible pregnancy.

Endometriosis is a gynecological condition in which the endometrium grows outside the uterus, and can be in the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Expansion of this tissue into other structures causes irritation and pain, sometimes on the right side of the lower back.

Some studies estimate that this disease can affect between 2 and 10% of women worldwide. The hormonal approach with birth control pills can prevent the growth of endometrium in adjacent structures. It is also possible to remove excess tissue through surgery.

5. Pregnancy

Low back pain is one of the most common ailments during pregnancy and it can be present from the first trimester. Pain in the lumbar region appears as a result of the increase in relaxin levels in the body. This hormone is responsible for preparing the pelvis for childbirth, thus increasing the elasticity of the ligaments.

The increase in the size of the uterus and the baby during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy also causes discomfort in the lower back. In fact, the pain can be located on the right side of the lower back, depending on the position of the baby.

In addition, there is a readjustment in the center of gravity, so mothers modify their posture and way of walking, which increases pain. These annoyances are minor and can be alleviated with the following measures:

  • Do not wear high heels.
  • Perform constant stretching.
  • Take hot baths.
  • Receive massages.
Low back pain in pregnancy can be reversed with exercises designed especially for pregnant women.

6. Testicular torsion

Testicular torsion is a condition that most often affects boys. It occurs when the testicle rotates on itself, which causes reduced blood flow to the organ. It is a true medical emergency, as it can cause irreversible damage.

The main symptom of testicular torsion is scrotal pain, which can radiate to the lower back. Scrotal swelling, nausea, and vomiting are also common manifestations.

Treatment of testicular torsion can be both medical and surgical. Specialists can attempt to manually reverse the torque within 6 hours of the incident. After that time, surgery will be necessary.

When to visit the doctor?

Pains in the right side of the lower back are rarely medical emergencies. However, it is always necessary to consult a specialist in the presence of new pain; especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms.

It is important to closely monitor the characteristics of the pain and see if they change throughout the day. In this sense, it is necessary to go to the doctor before the following manifestations:

  • Pain so intense that it prevents daily activities.
  • Sudden onset pain that does not subside with the use of analgesics or anti-inflammatories.
  • Persistence of symptoms for more than 3 days.
  • Concomitant symptoms, such as fever, nausea, vomiting, and general malaise.

Preventing pain in the right side of the lower back is possible

The most common cause of pain in the lower back is usually muscle problems due to stretching or tears. These conditions appear when maintaining uncomfortable postures for a long time or lifting heavy objects improperly. Fortunately, it is possible to prevent this discomfort.

This type of pain is usually relieved with simple measures, such as taking pain relievers or applying ice to the region. However, lower back pain can also be caused by medical emergencies such as appendicitis or testicular torsion. In this sense, it is always advisable to go to the doctor.

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