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Lower Left Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes And Treatments

Lower Left Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes And Treatments

Back pain, regardless of the cause, is an incredibly common medical problem. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that 60-80% of adults will experience back pain at one point in their lives. And anyone who has gone through a “back attack” knows just how painful and debilitating this condition can be – it is no wonder that it is a leading cause of missed work days globally.

There are a number of underlying reasons for lower left back pain, which is actually more common than right lower back pain. It is important to understand what these causes are because it will affect the way the problem is treated.

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To further alleviate lower back pain, you can’t miss the following posts:

Lower Right Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes And Treatments

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5 Effective Yoga Exercises For Lower Back Pain

5 Stretches For Lower Back Pain Relief

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Symptoms Associated with Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain itself can vary from a dull, throbbing ache to pain that is sharper and more stabbing. Sometimes, the type of pain can alternate between the two. Also, depending on the cause of the problem, there can be other signs and symptoms that accompany back pain, including pain that can radiate to the hip or down the leg, nausea and/or vomiting, fever and changes in urination (such as pain while urinating or having to urinate more frequently than normal).

It is important to report these extra signs and symptoms to your doctor, because it can help to diagnose and then begin to treat the problem.

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Common of Causes of Lower Back Pain

Left lower back pain can happen for a number of reasons, but the most common causes are listed below:

  • Pregnancy. The weight of the growing baby and the increased levels of estrogen and relaxin which loosen back ligaments both can lead to lower back pain during gestation.
  • Lower back strain. This is one of the most common causes of back pain and is usually considered to be a stretch injury or due to overuse of muscles.
  • Herniated discs or other vertebral problems. The spine is made up of a series of vertebrae connected by the spinal cord. If the vertebrae are damaged, bulge out or if the cartilage between them wears down, this can put pressure on the nerves and cause a lot of pain.
  • Shingles. This infection, which can happen to anyone who has had chicken pox, gets into the nervous system and can often cause pain and raised, red wheals on the back and sides.
  • Kidney problems. Kidney infections or the formation of kidney stones can also cause severe lower back pain.

Let’s take a look at how these different problems can be treated.

Treatments for Lower Back Pain

Once the underlying cause of the left lower back pain is diagnosed, a plan of care can be developed that will help resolve the problem. Below are treatments for the common causes for lower back pain:

  • Pregnancy. Pregnant women who work on their posture, sleep on their side with a pillow between their knees, and do pelvic exercises and other stretches can find some relief.  Warm or cold applications can also alleviate the pain.
  • Lower back strain. Rest is the most important way to help with lower back strain, but over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and cold applications can also help.
  • Vertebral problems. A combination of physical therapy with pain medications and steroids can help improve the situation. However, sometimes surgery might be necessary.
  • Shingles. Antiviral medications like acyclovir as well as pain medications can help, but often this problem can come back, especially if someone has a weakened immune system from illness.
  • Kidney problems. Kidney infections will need to be treated with antibiotics and an increase in fluids, while medications to help pass kidney stones, pain medication and even surgery can alleviate the problem with kidney stones.

In short, back pain is statistically likely to happen to most adults in their lifetime – and the experience can be excruciating. However, understanding the underlying causes of this pain can help a doctor make a diagnosis so that treatments to resolve the problem can begin. Diagnosis is incredibly important, because as you can see from the article above, treatments will vary widely depending on the underlying cause.

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Brian Wu

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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