There are two main categories of back pain: pain that can be pinpointed, and pain that has no apparent cause. The former usually stems from an injury such as heavy lifting. Usually, healing from an injury like this simply requires rest, heat or ice therapy, and anti-inflammatory OTC medications. The pain should subside fully within a couple of weeks. The latter category is more difficult to deal with because if no one knows the root problem, it is hard to determine the best course of action. A few conditions that can cause lower left back pain include scoliosis, kidney infection, tumors, and digestive problems; since these can sometimes require immediate medical attention, it is important to consult a doctor as soon as any worrisome symptoms arise.
As people age, the spine works more to support one’s weight. A combination of bone loss, weight gain, and muscular atrophy can cause significant spinal problems, one of which is scoliosis. Some patients are born with scoliosis, while others can develop it over time. This curvature of the spine is defined by a degree of 10 or more. Severe scoliosis is considered to be a curvature of 30 degrees or more. In some people, this curvature is noticeable, as the patient cannot stand up straight, or he or she might try to redistribute weight and stand crookedly in the process.
Another degenerative disorder is bone loss. Bone density naturally decreases as one ages, so it is important for people to take the proper steps to prevent bone loss. Women are especially vulnerable after age 50, so a daily calcium supplement can help to curb bone loss.
A few other degenerative disorders affecting the lower left back include osteoarthritis, herniated disk, and spondolylisthesis, which is when spinal disks slip out of place and pinch nerves. Tumors can also cause pain in the spinal column by placing pressure on the nerves.
If the onset of lower left back pain is sudden, a kidney infection might be possible, although this condition is almost always accompanied by other symptoms. Other signs include fever, trouble urinating, or blood in the urine. This type of infection is considered a medical emergency and should always be treated immediately. Kidney stones are not only painful, but if left untreated, they can cause kidney failure. The kidneys’ function is to filter waste out of the blood, so an infection originating in the kidneys can spread to the rest of the body if the person with the infection isn’t treated.
Another possible cause is digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome. If the back pain seems to coincide with eating certain foods, or if the pain is accompanied by diarrhea or vomiting, digestive issues might be the culprit.
Doctors will sometimes advise back pain sufferers to keep a journal documenting when the back pain flares up, how they would rate the pain, and what the patient was doing when the pain started. Because there is no single answer as to what causes lower left back pain, any sudden, sharp pains, or pains that persist or worsen over time should always be examined by a doctor
Written By: Updated: July 20,2011