Causes & Treatments of Pain in the Lower Right Back Area

emergencyMost people will experience lower right back pain at some point and time in their lives. Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people head to their doctor or the ER seeking help for the uncomfortable sensations. Sometimes the pain can be the entire back area, but it can also be specifically located to one side or the other. The right side has numerous factors that can cause the pain specific to the area. While the pain may just show up in this quadrant, it can be a sign of a more serious back condition. Because of the physical make-up of the spinal column and back area, consisting of bones, and connecting tissues, musculoskeletal problems are not uncommon. The NINDS or National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke list many ailments that may affect the lower right side of the back.



Reasons For Lower Right Back Pain

Herniated Disc


Lower Right Back PainA herniated disc can cause pain on either side, but specifically the right side when the disk damage occurs in this area. When a disc herniates, it causes the fibrous ring that protects the outer side to rupture, and this can certainly cause lower right back pain. This condition is also known as a slipped disk. While a disk can occur anywhere in back, it is said that more than 90 percent of herniation happens toward the bottom of the spinal area. The most common areas are between the fourth and fifth vertebrae. When a disk herniates, it can impinge the nerves root and this can send an offshoot to the right side causing great pain. Posterolateral direction is the usual cause of a herniation. Depending on the side of the disk that ruptures will depend on what area hurts. If the disk ruptures to the left side, the pain can be centrally located on that side. A herniated disk is one of the most severe back pains and can impair walking abilities and usually requires medical intervention.

QL Trigger Points

QLTriggerThere are trigger points in the lower right side of the back called the Quadratus lumborum or QL. These muscles are a common cause of back pain. The unique shape of this muscle, quadrilateral, gives it is unmistakable name. The location of this uniquely shaped muscle is from the very last rib on the right side down to the pelvis. This muscle is responsible for helping the spine to bend properly from one side to the other. These muscles work together and they help to lower the rib cage. The QL muscle is responsible for a person’s posture and someone with a damaged QL may not be able to sit or stand properly. This is also a common myofascial trigger point. Nodules or knots can be formed within the muscles and can be quite painful when any pressure is applied. Those who have problems with the right QL often report range of motion issues and persistent pain.

Joint Dysfunction

Joint DysfunctionIt is referenced as many terms, joint dysfunction or right side sacroiliac, but it all equals to extreme right side pain. The SI joints are in pairs and located in the sacrum and the iliac. They are also located in the rear side of the pelvic girdle and also in the lower back. When dealing with sports injuries, SI dysfunction occurs commonly. Athletes commonly complain that they have little range of motion and movement problems when they have damage done to one or both of the important SI joints. When a SI joint has too much range of motion, it can be caused by a sprain in the surrounding ligaments. On the other hand, when the joint has too little movement, it can be because the SI joint is locked in a certain position.

Either condition can cause the pelvis to be off balance. When the pelvis is off balance, it can cause pain in the lower back, groin area, thigh and buttocks. When the SI joint that is on the right hand side is strained, the pain will be centralized to that area. While this is the usual case it is not always the situation. There have been claims of damage on the right side causing pain in the left side. An injury resulting from SI pain can be anywhere from a dull ache to a stabbing sensation that causes restricted movement. Those who seem to be frozen on one side, specifically the right, may find that they are having SI joint issues.

Spinal Stenosis

Spiral StenosisWhether inherited or degenerative, spinal stenosis is a common condition that causes much pain, and in some cases, lower right back pain. Though this condition is commonly seen in individuals over the age of 50, it can happen to anyone. This condition causes narrowing in the spinal column spaces and is usually centralized to either the upper or lower part of the spinal area. Sometimes there is no pain whatsoever with this condition, but it is not uncommon for those who have lower spinal narrowing to experience pain on the right or left side. If the condition is not advanced, a person may not have any symptoms or know they have this issue. Stenosis usually occurs either in the neck area or the lower back. Those who have advanced stages of stenosis can have incontinence issues. This is commonly caused by damages wear and tear and aging. The symptoms are numbness and pain in the lower back.

Muscle Strain

Muscle StrainThe back is one of the most abused areas of the body. Those who lift and haul heavy items may experience strains and sprains. However; even if the back is not used for work purposes, just lifting a small child can cause great strain on a muscles. If the muscles or ligaments are strained, this can cause lower back pain. Anything that causes a person to twist suddenly or lifting something to heavy can cause microscopic tears in the area or things to stretch out of place. These conditions often don’t last long, but depending on the severity of the damage will be dependent on how long it takes to heal. These conditions can range from a dull ache to unbearable pain.



SciaticaThe sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It is a pain that is typically felt in the lower lumber area. The nerve runs behind the thigh and below the knee and begins at the roots of the spinal cord. The pain of sciatica is unbearable and because of the nerves location, it can cause impairment in walking. Many things can cause the sciatic nerve to become inflamed. Sometimes it can be referred to as a pinched nerve, as the nerve is actually pinched from a disc being compromised. If there are any internal bleeding, infections or an injury in the area, this nerve can become irritated. A problem with this nerve usually means an immediate trip to the doctor, as normally the pain is unbearable.


Urinary Tract Infection / Kidney Stones

UTIThough it is not a back condition per say, a UTI can leave people with a great deal of pain, specifically lower right back pain. It is called lower flank pain and it is caused from the infection in the kidneys. It is the main purpose of the urinary tract to remove urine and toxins from the body. The urinary tract includes the kidney and the bladder and the ureters. Germs can get into this area and can cause a painful infection. These conditions are not usually serious if caught in a decent amount of time. When a bladder infection is not taken care of quickly, it can cause the infection to travel from the bladder to the kidneys.

The kidneys are usually what cause the pain in the back and these infections can be very painful. Some people are more prone to these types of infections than others. Those who are pregnant have diabetes or consume nothing but sugary drinks are at risk. Common symptoms of this condition are a burning sensation when urinating and foul smelling urine. The pain can be under the rib area in the lower back. When bladder infections occur, it is best to get the situation taken care of before it affects the kidneys. Once in the kidney area, an infection can cause irreversible damages and intense discomfort.

For more information on Cervical Radiculitis, or your pain is located more towards the middle of your back check out this article.