The pain felt in the lower right back can sometimes be caused by strained muscles. However, lower right back pain that has nothing to do with one’s muscles can be linked to problems with the internal organs.
Lower Back Pain
Eighty out of one hundred adults in the US alone experience pain in their lower back as stated in a study done by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. A fraction of that pain is linked to:
- Degeneration of the Spinal Disc in Charge of Shock Absorption
- Muscle Tightness Caused by the Wrong Posture
- Tearing or Overstretching of Ligaments Caused by Incorrect Lifting
Treatment relies solely on the severity and the cause of the back pain. Physical therapy accompanied by anti-inflammatory medications is sometimes recommended. However, for instances where the pain continues to linger despite conservative treatments done, surgery is then recommended by the doctor.
Pain Linked to Internal Organ Problems
For lower right back pain that has nothing to do with muscle tightness or strain, this can be linked to numerous problems with the internal organs. These are as follows.
1. Kidney Disorders
Kidneys are situated under the ribcage and on both sides of the spine. However, the slight difference in height between the left and right kidneys lead to back pain. Since the left kidney is higher than the right, the right kidney can significantly cause pain in the lower back when inflamed, irritated, or infected. Such disorders that can affect the kidneys include kidney infection and kidney stones.
- Kidney Stones
These stones appear like pebbles and are made up of excess salts and minerals in the urine. Kidney stones can get stuck in the ureter, which is a tube that transports urine from the kidney to the bladder, and cause pain in the back, groin, and lower abdomen.
Pain is sharp and cramping in nature, and it comes and goes as the kidney stones move. Additional symptoms of kidney stones include painful urination or difficulty to urinate. One’s urine may also have a tinge of blood due to stones cutting through tissue when traveling through the ureter.
Treatment of kidney stones includes surgical procedures to pulverize or remove the stone. Other non-surgical procedures include shock wave lithotripsy which uses shock waves to break kidney stones and prescription medications that relaxes the ureters.
- Kidney Infection
E. Coli is one of the common bacteria to infect the kidneys that can lead to urinary tract infections. Infections of the kidneys cause lower right back pain and UTI symptoms such as:
- Urgency to Urinate
- Burning Sensation When One Urinates
- Foul-Smelling and Dark Urine
Kidney infections also cause nausea, vomiting, and fever. When left untreated, infections in the kidneys can cause permanent damage and lethal blood infections.
The appendix is found below the navel, particularly the right side. This tube is attached to the large intestine. When inflamed or infected, it is called appendicitis which usually affects individuals between the ages of 10 to 30 years old.
Appendicitis leads to fullness and tenderness in the abdomen. The pain starts in the navel before extending to the right side and the back. Movement can worsen the pain felt. Apart from pain, other symptoms associated with this disorder include vomiting and nausea. Treatment involves removal of the inflamed appendix.
3. Ulcerative Colitis
Persistent inflammation of the large intestine or the colon can cause pain in the lower right back. Apart from pain, other symptoms associated with this disorder is fatigue, weight loss, rectal pain, and diarrhea.
4. Liver Problems
Inflammation of the liver, also known as hepatitis, or liver scarring can also cause pain in the lower right back. An enlarged liver can also cause lower right back pain. Other symptoms include jaundice, lack of appetite, nausea, and fatigue.
5. Inflammation of the Gallbladder
A dysfunction or an inflammation of the gallbladder is usually accompanied by severe indigestion, especially after meals. An inflamed gallbladder causes right-sided back pain and upper right abdominal pain.
For women, lower right back pain can be caused by endometriosis. This is a condition that involves the growth of uterine tissue in the fallopian tubes or ovaries. It affects one percent of the female population in the US.
The growth of tissue outside of the womb can irritate organs and tissues surrounding it. This irritation can lead to pain that radiates to the back. Laparoscopic surgery and hormonal therapy are the usual methods of treatment.
For pregnant women, pain in the lower right back is often felt. However, the time when the pain is felt matters. For pain in the lower right back felt during the first trimester, this may be a symptom of a miscarriage, especially if it is paired with spotting or cramping. Seek immediate medical attention if this does occur.
On the other hand, pain in the lower right back felt during the second and third trimester are linked with the growth of the uterus. While the baby grows, the uterus adjusts its size as well. Posture can change and, thus, cause pain in the lower back.
8. Testicular Torsion
For men, lower right back pain can be linked to this condition. Testicular torsion happens when the spermatic cord gets twisted. The spermatic cord is located in the scrotum, and it is in charge of carrying blood to the testes. When it gets twisted, blood flow is either reduced or cut off.
Symptoms of testicular torsion include pain in the groin that radiates to the lower back. Nausea, vomiting, and inflamed scrotum are also noted. Such a condition is categorized as a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention.
For pain the lower right back caused by strained muscles, home treatments can help manage or reduce the pain. Some of these include the following.
- Apply an ice or hot pack every two to three hours for 20 to 30 minutes. This eases inflammation and pain.
- Take over-the-counter medications for pain like Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. However, these must be taken under the supervision or guidance of a doctor or licensed pharmacist.
- Consume more than eight glasses of water in a day. Also, limit intake of protein that comes from animals. Reduce intake of salt as well to reduce one’s risk of getting kidney stones.
- After urinating, specifically for women, wipe from front to back. This prevents the spread of bacteria in the colon to the urinary tract.
- Lift using the proper method. When lifting objects, bend the knees and hold the item close to one’s chest.
- Set aside at least 10 minutes in a day to stretch muscles.
When to Worry About It?
Pain that is felt in the lower right back do not mostly require immediate medical attention. However, for some cases, it may necessitate the need for hospitalization. Head to the hospital if one or all of the following are experienced:
- Intense pain that disrupts activities of daily living
- Severe and sudden pain
- Pain supplemented with additional symptoms like fever, nausea, vomiting, and incontinence