What Causes Lower Back Pain on the Left Side

Lower back pain on the left side could be sign of a serious medical condition. Most commonly it is a sign of overuse or poor posture. It is important that a patient determine the cause of their pain in order to rule out any serious medical complications.

Breathing Conditions

Lower Back Pain Left SideOne of the possible causes of lower back pain on the left side could be conditions relating to breathing; muscular injuries in particular which can include damage to the diaphragm muscle. Difficulty breathing and left side lower back pain could also be signs of cardiac or pulmonary problems. These are considered to be serious medical conditions. Sudden pain and difficulties breathing could be the result of a left side specific muscle spasms, a condition which typically will resolve itself with time.

Kidney Infections

Because the two kidneys are located on opposite sides of the body, an infection in the left kidney could lead to the development of lower back pain on the left side. The kidneys are surrounded by a nerve-filled sensitive capsule. Infections often cause the organ to swell, which causes pain in this capsule. Calcification of the fluid inside of the kidneys can also lead to a very painful condition known as kidney stones. These will also create pain and tenderness in the lower back region, near the location of the kidneys.


Pregnancy can also create pain in the lower back. This pain can be specific to the right or the left side. The pain is caused by irritation and pressure placed on the nerves surrounding the hips and the spine, due to the increasing growth of the fetus. This irritation can lead to the development of painful sensations. Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy may also be a cause of side specific pain. These hormones can often alter the joints and ligaments attached to the spine, which can result in changes in movement and posture.

Side Specific Injury or Illness

Lower back pain on the left side can very often be the result of a side specific injury or illness. If the left side of the body is injured, then the injured portions of the body will radiate pain. It can also occur that injuries to other portions of the body can cause the shift or alteration of the body’s bones or muscles, which could cause pain to radiate on another part of the body. Illnesses or diseases that alter the body on the left side can also cause pain. These can include bacterial infections, viruses or the development of diseases.

Posture Related Problems

By far, the most common cause of lower back pain on the left side of the body is poor posture. In order to remain in a straight position, the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the body have to stabilize the spine. Abnormal movements or pressures placed on a single side will serve to pull the spine out of its alignment. The result of this can be pain in the left side of the body. Repetitive movement, overuse of the muscles and poor posture can all lead to the formation of both sudden and chronic back pain.

While most incidents of left side lower back pain are due to muscle overuse or poor posture, some painful symptoms could also be signs of more serious health problems.

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