The spine grants both strength and stability to the entire body. As the most common type of back pain, many people will experience lower back pain at least once in their lives. Some may experience mild back pain while others may live with severe chronic back pain that prevents simple daily functions. There are many types of back pain, as well as different causes. Conditions that affect the muscles, bones, nerves, or organs can all contribute to pain on the lower right side of the back. Understanding the cause of lower right back pain can help board-certified spine doctors identify the underlying conditions or injuries that are responsible for mild or severe pain. More importantly, this critical knowledge can help doctors devise effective treatment plans for optimal recovery.
A herniated disc developers when a disc protrusion ruptures or herniates through the delicate wall of the intervertebral disc. As a result, the viscous material from the interior of the disc can spill into the spinal canal, thereby producing intense pain from impinging on sensitive nerves on one side of the body. In most cases, disc herniation originates from gradual, age-related wear and tear referred to as disc degeneration. Signs and symptoms of herniated discs depend on the location in the spine and if the disc is pressing on a nerve. The most common symptoms a patient will experience include pain in the buttocks, thigh, and calf, numbness or tingling from the affected nerves, and muscle weakness affecting stability and the ability to lift or hold items.
Spinal stenosis arises from the abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal Spinal Stenosis symptoms vary from patient to patient and may range from mild and manageable pain, tingling in the extremities from pinched nerves to limited mobility. Symptoms of spinal stenosis vary from patient to patient, as does the location in which the narrowing occurs. Since symptoms of spinal stenosis are so similar to symptoms of other spinal conditions, it can be difficult to properly diagnose this painful condition. Common symptoms associated with multilevel spinal stenosis include balance and coordination problems, numbness, diminished fine motor skills, and complications with bladder/bowel control.
Sprains and strains are the leading causes of acute back pain, which can range from mild to severe. A sprain occurs when a patient overstretches or tears a fragile ligament while a strain refers to torn tendons or muscles. The most common causes for sprains and strains include lifting heavy objects or improper lifting techniques, twisting or jerking the body in awkward motions, falling, and over-stretching or failing to properly warm-up before exercising.
Patients may experience a combination of several symptoms, which include aching and stiffness in the lower back, a restricted range of motion, difficulty standing or sitting upright, and pain that extends into the buttocks.
Treating lower right back pain from sprains and strains depends on the cause and severity of a patient’s symptoms. Patients can treat mild sprains and strains with rest, ice packs, and over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. For more severe sprains and strains, board-certified spine specialists can treat a patient’s lower right back pain by prescribing muscle relaxants and stronger pain relievers, physical therapy and even surgical intervention after exhausting all conservative approaches.
Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed from blockage or an infection. While appendicitis typically causes intense pain on the right side of the abdomen, the pain can still extend to the right side of the back. Common symptoms of appendicitis to look out for include bloating or excess gas, swelling in the abdomen, a loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, and constipation or diarrhea. Patients should seek out medical care immediately because this serious condition requires the surgical removal of the appendix, referred to as an appendectomy.
Patients may notice painful symptoms in the lower right back when bacterial or viral infections affecting the urinary tract spread to one or both kidneys. Failure to seek treatment can lead to complications such as chronic kidney disease, kidney failure or sepsis. Sepsis is a potentially life-threating ailment caused by the body’s inability to release chemicals into the bloodstream to fight infections.
Telltale symptoms include nausea and vomiting, pain on one or both sides of the back, foul-smelling urine, frequent urination, burning sensation while urinating, cloudy, dark or bloody urine, chills and fever. Board-certified spine doctors can help ease patients’ painful symptoms by prescribing antibiotics and stronger pain relievers.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition that manifests from inflammation in the lining of the large intestine, or colon. Ulcerative colitis typically provokes ongoing diarrhea, which may contain blood or pus. Ulcerative colitis can also produce abdominal discomfort and cramping that radiates to one or both sides of the back. Other common symptoms associated with ulcerative colitis consist of appetite loss, nausea, frequent and painful bowel movements, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, fever, and anemia. Unfortunately, there currently is no cure for ulcerative colitis. Nonetheless, patients can still receive treatment with the goal of achieving remission, meaning a period with few to no symptoms.
Pain in the lower right side of the back may stem from conditions that are specific to males. Testicular Torsion occurs when a male patient’s testicle rotates inside the scrotum, which twists the spermatic cord. This occurrence can potentially limit or block blood flow to the testicles. In addition to mild to severe pain in the lower right back, testicular torsion can result in irreversible damage.
Besides lower right back pain, patients should look out for symptoms ranging from severe and unexpected pain in the testicle or groin, swelling of the scrotum, nausea, vomiting, and blood in semen. Patients can achieve relief from painful symptoms by undergoing surgical procedures to untwist the spermatic cord, or – in more critical cases – remove the testicle.
In a similar manner to men, women may exhibit pain in the lower right back from conditions that only affect females. Affecting 1 in 10 females in the United States, Endometriosis occurs when uterine tissue grows outside the womb, often located on the ovaries and fallopian tubes. When the tissue grows on the right ovary or fallopian tube, it can aggravate the organ and surrounding tissue, thereby culminating in pain from the front or right side of the body to the back. Female patients have effective treatments available such as hormonal therapy or laparoscopic surgery. Low-dose birth control bills can help these growths shrink while surgery can extract the growths.
New Jersey Spine Specialist’s doctors hold a history of excellence in treating countless patients from all over New Jersey for back pain. With locations at Summit’s Overlook Hospital and Montclair’s Mountainside Hospital, New Jersey Spine Specialist’s leading team of spine surgeons provides patients with bespoke back pain relief tailored to individual needs. If you begin to notice lower right back pain, don’t let your quality of life dwindle any longer. Come in for a consultation with New Jersey’s leading spine doctors, and learn about what minimally invasive treatment options may be best for you. NJSS also offers remote telemedicine sessions and phone consultations for a variety of spine-related needs. Virtual appointments are a great option for patients with hectic schedules and cannot visit the office during normal hours. To find out more, give us a call at (908) 738-1679 today!.
“I am pain free, walking and well on my way to recovery thanks to the help of New Jersey Spine Specialists” —Robert K
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