Whoever said, “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel”, was onto something. If a one-sided low back pain issue has you feeling like you’re in a dark tunnel, this article will help light your way out

Are you:

  • Experiencing back pain on the lower right side when driving?
  • Feeling lower right back pain while lifting weights?
  • Searching for answers to why you have one-sided lower back pain?

Don’t let your situation get worse; listen up!

Yes, it’s a fact: 

Back pain on the lower right side or left side (or any location for that matter) can be one of the most frustrating and debilitating issues you can face, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to understanding what is causing your pain, how to treat it, and how you can prevent it from happening again.

Do not despair. There’s hope.

Before you start chugging down the Advil® like it’s going out of style, in this article (updated in 2022), I’ll give you a quick rundown on what right and left side lower back pain is, plus I also cover the baffling situation of when your lower back pain CHANGES SIDES.

That’s not all, though. I won’t leave you hanging…

I’ll review possible diagnoses, causes, and treatment options for single-sided lower back pain. But if you want to learn more about sciatica (pain past the knee) and its causes and treatments, you can read all about it in one of my other articles right here

But first, a disclaimer.

Back Pain On The Lower Right Side Banished! A (Near) Unbelievable Recovery Story

Hey there! I’m Sebastian.

Sebastian

I’ve had lower right back pain and have been able to recover from it entirely. 

When I was 15, I was told I would need back surgery to reduce my pain so I could play baseball again.

But guess what? They were wrong!

Long story short: I did not require surgery, injections, or medication to return to baseball. 

It even gets better:

I am 38 now, play baseball two days a week, lift weights, sprint, and have no issues with my lower back holding me back from doing what I want.

So, why am I telling you this?

I’m telling you my story of recovery to let you know that you can recover as well (if you find the right person to help you as I did).

Hopefully, this article gives you better information to discuss with your sports chiropractor, physiotherapist, physical therapist, personal trainer, orthopedic, or medical doctor.

But here’s the thing, though:

Not everyone will get back to feeling 100%. 

As a general rule, the longer you’ve had it, the more challenging it can be. But this does not mean it’s impossible to feel physically capable again. And that’s what this article is about!

Let’s get to it.

What Is The Lower Back?

The lower back is the area of the body that extends from the last rib to the top of the pelvis. It includes the lumbar spine, which comprises five lumbar vertebrae (L1 – L5) and a sacrum. It is also called the lumbar spine or lumbosacral region. 

The vertebrae (bones) are stacked on top of each other like a deck of cards, with the sacrum acting as the base of the cards. Discs between each vertebra act as ‘cushions’ – the discs are made from cartilage. This soft material helps absorb shock when the body moves.

Spinal joints are surrounded by muscles, tendons, and ligaments that help to hold the bones together and keep them moving. If any of these structures become weak or damaged, they can lead to pain in the lower back.

In addition to its role in standing, walking, bending, and lifting, the lower back also helps us twist and turn. Because it’s such a complex part of our anatomy, conditions affecting it can also affect numerous other parts of our bodies.

How To Stop Lower Back Pain Fast (TRY THIS)

What Does One-sided Lower Back Pain Mean?

Lower back pain often referred to as lumbago, is a general term for pain that occurs in the lower back region of the body and is not exactly a “specific disease diagnosis,” according to Healthline. It’s more accurately described as a collection of symptoms that may or may not be related to any underlying condition” with one or more parts of the lower back, such as ligaments and muscles.”

Therefore, by extrapolation, one-sided low back pain (left side lower back pain/right side lower back pain) can be defined as pain on either side of the lower back region arising from any musculoskeletal system disorder.

Demystified: Causes Of One-Sided (Left Or Right) Lower Back Pain

Right or left side lower back pain can be caused by many things, including:

Cause #1: Driving

Did you know that driving is the #1 cause of single-sided lower back pain in people over 25? 

That’s right, the activity that most of us do every day—driving—is one of the leading causes of lower back pain. 

And this is backed by years of research too!

A review of studies published from 1975 to 2005: “Eight of the nine studies concluded that there was an increase in low back pain among car drivers…”

I’m sure you’ve been there. You’re driving to work in the morning when the traffic is heavy and stop-and-go. You tense your lower back muscles in anticipation of the next bump in the road. 

And then it happens: A sharp pain shoots down your right leg. It feels like someone has stabbed you in the back with a knife. You grimace, shift positions and continue driving. 

It’s a familiar scenario that can leave many people wondering what causes lower back pain on one side only.

Here’s where it gets interesting:

If you’re a US-based driver, you might experience more pain in your right lower back. If you’re a European-based driver, you could experience more pain in your left lower back

Why?

It has to do with the gas pedal.

Want to know how? We’ll get to that later.

For now, let’s take a step back and look at something central as we discuss single-sided low back pain in this article: 

Back Pains Are Not Created Equal.

But one thing almost all types of low back pain have in common is posture. 

Posture is simply defined as “the position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting.”

And when you look at it from the physiotherapy viewpoint, here’s how physiopedia defines posture:

“Posture is defined as the attitude assumed by the body either with support during muscular activity, or as a result of the coordinated action performed by a group of muscles working to maintain the stability.”

In other words, posture is a relationship between your body parts—your head, neck, and shoulders; your hips, knees, and ankles; your upper back and lower back; even your hands and feet.

When these relationships are good, we say that our posture is good. When they’re wrong (or “slouchy”), we say that our posture is bad or slumped over, which can cause problems over time.

I know—you’re probably thinking, “I thought this was about one-sided lower back pain.”

But we can’t explain one-sided lower back pain without understanding all that goes into it. And we can’t understand all that goes into it until we understand the context of what’s happening in your life right now.

Think about it: 

When driving, you’re in a car with a steering wheel and pedals. Your hands are on the wheel, and your feet are on the pedals. Your spine is held upright by the seat belt, and your shoulders are relaxed because you don’t have to hold up your body weight (it’s all supported by the seat belt).

If we zoom out and look at everything together—the position of your arms and legs relative to one another—then suddenly things start making sense!

Now let’s get back to how driving causes one-sided low back pain…

If you are a driver in the US, lower right back pain can occur when you tense the sciatic nerve with every up and down on the gas pedal. It tends to happen more in stop-and-go traffic. 

You may think it is the stress of the traffic, but that may not be so!

I’ll explain:

The mystery lies in your sciatic nerve.

How Does Driving Affect Your Sciatic Nerve?

To understand why you are experiencing right or left side lower back pain, let’s look at the anatomy of the Sciatic nerve.

The sciatic nerve is the largest in the body, originating from your lower back and traveling through your hips and buttocks before reaching down each leg.

The sciatic nerve exits the spine through tiny holes called intervertebral foramen. In many cases, this nerve can become compressed (like when driving) at this location, causing it to swell, leading to stiffness and pain around the lower back.

Specifically…

Pressure on a spinal nerve root (not the sciatic nerve) creates a situation where your lower back pain is only on one side.

Right Or Left Side Low Back Pain When Driving: What Are The Common Symptoms?

The following symptoms also may describe your situation:

  • Lower back pain – right side above buttocks;
  • Pain on the right side under ribs towards your back;
  • Lower back and hip pain on one side;
  • Sharp stabbing pain in the lower back right side
  • Worsens while sitting in traffic;
  • Pain in upper glute muscle;
  • Chronically tight hip flexors (muscle group found on the front of your upper thigh);
  • Occasional changes of sensation in the thigh, calf, or foot (buzzing, tingle, numbness, or pain);
  • Pain with overstriding while running;
  • Chronic hamstring (that’s the tendons at the back of your thigh) tightness;
  • Achy Quadratus lumborum (QL) muscle, i.e., the deepest abdominal muscle located in your lower back on either side of the lumbar spine;
  • And tightness in your neck or shoulder blades.

How Do I Know If My Back Pain Is Sciatica Or Not?

Quite rightly, you may be confused about what’s happening in your back and how to tell the difference between sciatica and other causes of back pain. 

Here’s how you know the difference between sciatica and back pain:

Onset:  Sciatica is an absolute beast. It’s the kind of pain that can come out of nowhere, like a thief in the night –hitting you fast and hard, and then it just hangs out there for up to three to six months at a time until it decides to go away on its own.

Pathophysiology and symptom: Remember, if you’re experiencing pain on only one side of your lower back, it is most likely due to the pressure on a spinal nerve root and not the sciatic nerve which is the situation with sciatica. In a nutshell, sciatica is a pain radiating from your lower back (lumbar spine), traveling through your buttock and down the back of your leg.

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of how driving can cause left or right-sided low back pain, we can begin to address how we can medically diagnose and manage it.

How To Diagnose Low Back Pain On One Side Due To Compressed Sciatic Nerve?

The two most telling medical tests to determine if the pain on the left or right side of your lower back is due to a compressed sciatic nerve are:

  • The Straight Leg Test: According to “StatPearls,” a constantly updated medical database” for medical practitioners published on the official website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “the straight leg raise test, also called the Lasegue test, is a fundamental maneuver during the physical examination of a patient with lower back pain. It aims to assess lumbosacral nerve root irritation.”
  • Slumps Test:  The Slump Test is a test used to detect changes in neural tension or sensitivity.

Note:

These are called neural tensioning tests. And we can conduct both of them (in the office or virtually) to see if you have been placing pressure on a spinal nerve.

When they duplicate 1 sided low back pain, this tells us there is a high probability that you have a pinched nerve. Remember, pinched nerves don’t like it when you stretch them.

Interestingly, while you may not have formally had these tests performed on you, you may have already experienced a life situation that required you to perform a sloppy version of the test on yourself with daily tasks.

For example:

  • Lower back pain with a long seated hamstring stretch.
  • Bending over to touch toes (yoga forward fold).
  • Standing chair hamstring stretch.
  • Stiff-legged deadlift.

Up next: the most important thing you can do to make your life better…

How to Alleviate (“Treat”) One-Sided Back Pain Caused By Driving

The way to “treat” one-sided back pain caused by driving is to stop driving.

But since it is most likely impossible to do that though, or if it’s not an option for you at this time, here are some tips:

  • Move your seat closer to your steering wheel and increase the lumbar support on your chair (if you have one). Moving your car seat forward allows for more knee bend (this leads to sciatic nerve slackening) and less pain.
  • If you don’t have built-in lumbar support, roll up a towel and place it behind your lower back to let your lower back relax.

While you can slack the sciatic nerve by bending your knee – which is easy as pie, it’s not always the most effective.

That’s right. It does not solve the problem completely. It just removes the trigger.

So…

“What’s the best method to treat right side pain in my lower back?” you ask. I got you covered!

The most effective approach:

  • Addressing non-painful/dysfunctional areas of the body with mobility and stability exercises.

If you are experiencing one-sided back pain, likely, your body is not functioning correctly. The best way to alleviate this pain is by addressing the underlying issues with mobility and stability exercises.

It is important to note that for these exercises to have a lasting effect on your spine and body, they must be performed correctly.

The thing is this:

With one-sided back pain, the mid back and hips usually are the highest payoff point. Unfortunately, most remedies ignore this all-important detail.

Relieve Pain

To fix your 1 sided low back problem, we at Performance Place will help you perform mobility drills explicitly designed for your condition to increase joint range of motion and improve muscle activation patterns in those areas.

Restore strength and stability

After restoring mobility and stability to areas that did not hurt (but were not functioning well), the next step is to “save” your progress by strengthening the area.

Strength building helps the computer of the body (your central nervous system) retain movements and eliminate painful movement compensations.

A heads up:

You see, without some challenging rehabilitation, you may regress backward to having the same low back pain within months. 

To put it another way: The rehabilitation process was not completed, even if it was pain-reducing.

The Performance Place Shines Through

Performance Place offers a proven treatment program that helps long-term sufferers of left and right lower back pain weekly achieve their goal of pain-free living.

We know that feeling like you’ve been through the wringer is exhausting and can also take a severe toll on your wallet. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to help you get back on your feet without breaking the bank.

Our program is simple: 

We chill down your nerve before reintroducing the provocative (yet effective) movements that would effectively alleviate your problem. 

And if you live outside of Costa Mesa, we offer virtual sessions so you can still get treatment from us wherever life takes you!

We offer in-person sessions (Costa Mesa, CA) or virtual sessions online. That means we’ve got you covered if you’re looking for a place near you where you can treat your left- or right-sided back in Costa Mesa, CA. For those outside the city, you have the option of joining our virtual classes.

Action Tip: Stop sitting around with your left or right-sided back pain; allow Performance Place to end your one-sided back pain once and for all!

More Info

Cause #2: Sitting With A Twist

 “I don’t sit with a twist,” says almost no one. In today’s world, it’s hard to avoid sitting without a twist.

You probably don’t even realize you’re doing it.

And it’s not just because you’re at your desk or in the car. You may be sitting on the couch, at your desk at work, or even on a bench with your legs crossed.

If you have to ask if this applies to you, check this out: 

Sitting at a traffic light or waiting for a call often defaults to twisting your upper body to your right side while your lower half is buckled in tight. You may be twisting to your left more often if you’re outside the US.

It’s not just you.

In the US, police or emergency personnel have laptops and radios on the right side of their body, so, naturally, they’ll twist to the right when reaching for their device.

Note: This does not mean all police officers, firefighters, and paramedics have right-side low back pain.

If you aren’t aware of the dangers, you need to be.

In the end, it turns out that sitting with a twist is terrible for your posture and can even end up screwing with your lower back. This is because the upper body’s weight is distributed unevenly between the two sides of your spine. The more weight you put on one side, the more pressure it will exert on that side.

Let’s look at it in depth:

Over weeks, twisting can make the right side of your spine sensitive due to the pinching effect I mentioned previously. 

And it’s not just the right-sided lower back alone…

Pain in the lower left back can also occur via different spinal mechanics. And if you remember, earlier, I spoke about how important it is to understand the mechanics of your back pain and how it helps in diagnosis and treatment.

Okay, how does this play out?

Reaching for your device and adjusting your posture can cause a cascade of destructive events leading to one-sided lower back pain, such as lumbar spine disc herniations, bulges, extrusions, and prolapse. It happens because the alignment of the vertebrae in your lumbar spine changes, causing the nuclear disc material (jelly) to shift and then slip out of position. It is the explanation: “why do I feel pain on one side of my body when I stand after sitting for a while.”

 To help make it more straightforward for you, here’s an analogy:

Suppose you imagine a jelly donut as a model of the central canal. In that case, sitting with a twist is like putting more pressure on the donut, which leads to the nuclear disc material sliding to the outer walls of the donut.

In the case of twisting while sitting, the jelly will move away from the location of constant mechanical pressure from sitting and twisting.

So, if you have pain in the lower left back and often bend forward and twist to the right side, this may be your scenario.

What else?

Symptoms of One-sided Low Back Pain Due To Sitting With A Twist

The following symptoms also may describe your situation:

  • Pain is worse in the morning hours
  • Lower left side back pain above buttocks
  • Pain with sitting
  • Walking reduces pain after a few moments
  • Pain moving from a sitting to a standing position
  • Exiting your car becomes uncomfortable
  • Putting on your shoes and pants in the morning is challenging

Important Notes:

  • Spinal disc injuries do not happen with trauma. They often happen over time with no single injury event.
  • Secondly, they do not often require surgery, medication, or injection.

Talking about treatment…

With non-surgical treatment, you may experience a dramatic reduction of day-to-day pain within just weeks of starting a treatment plan.

That brings us to a common question I get a lot:

How Can I Treat Pain On My Left/Right Lower Back After Sitting (With A Twist)?

Walking: The simplest thing you can do is walk more. Walk when you get home and before you even drive to work.

Ideally, 30 minutes in the morning, but if you are busy, even a 5 – 10 minute brisk walk is better than nothing. Sprinkle it throughout the day!

That’s not all…

Be Proactive!

As I said in the beginning, the power to improve your situation is in your hands. Nobody can do the work for you.

If you must sit for a long time for work, having a nice chair with lumbar support can help reduce low back stiffness.

Finally…

Get Professional Help

At Performance Place, we specialize in non-surgical treatment for spinal disc herniations and pinched spinal nerves. With the proper guidance, you can improve within a matter of weeks.

Remember, you are in control, so act now.

Cause #3: Asymmetrical Sports

Let’s get this straight: 

This discussion can quickly become very specific, so I’ll try to keep it broad.

But guess what?

The myth that sports requiring many asymmetrical movements can directly cause back pain is far from true. We all think our back problems are due to “wear and tear” over the years. Still, we often just forget the fundamentals of good biomechanics and orthopedic posture.

And the next time you hear someone say that baseball and tennis cause back problems, I have a few things to say:

I’ve been playing baseball for over 30 years and don’t have back pain anymore. In effect, it means playing the same sport for 30 years and not having back pain proves that playing sports does not cause back issues.

However, here’s the truth:

Each sport comes with its own set of different risks. So then, what are these asymmetrical sports guilty of causing pain on only one side of the lower back?

Here are some sports whose athletes have been known to suffer from 1-sided low back pain:

  • Baseball
  • Softball
  • Cricket
  • Field Hockey
  • Ice Hockey
  • Tennis
  • Golf

If you play any of these sports and suffer pain on either the left or right side of your lower back, this might be your Aha moment. And the question begging for an answer would thus be: 

How can you solve this type of lower back pain?

“A sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on.” -C. S. Lewis.

The point I’m trying to make is that if you don’t understand the mechanics of the problem, it will only get worse. You might be doing everything right and still have back pain. 

The first step in solving any problem is understanding it.

And that brings us to: Your core.

The core is a system that has been around for as long as humans have walked the Earth. It’s a critical part of our bodies, helping us stabilize and protect our spine, hips, and other joints.

But what if I told you there’s a difference between core strength and stability? A strong core can be a great thing—but only when coupled with good stability. Conversely, a weak core predisposes you to lower back pain.

Why?

When the stability of your active systems, i.e., muscles, is weak, your passive system, which includes your joints and ligaments, tends to be overworked, resulting in pain.

But the solution is not to just “stay active” and try to push through a new workout program or make up for lost time with a more strenuous workout. 

The answer is simple: Core endurance and reactive stability are good starting points.

Here are some core strengthening exercises that work wonders we like at Performance Place.

Additionally, you may need to improve the function of your hips. Pinchy hips can rob your lower back’s ability to stabilize as you twist in sport. Thus, in this Youtube video, I discuss how hip mobility and core stability work with 1 sided low back pain.


That’s not all…

There’s good news:

Left/Right-Sided Lower Back Pain? Full recovery is possible!

Here’s the deal. You’ll follow a program created specially for you, combining proven exercises and stretches to help relieve your pain and strengthen your low back muscles anytime, anywhere. Most of the work is done at home or in a gym. You simply need to know what to do and how to do it – and that’s what we’re about at the Performance Place!

Wait! 

Before I jump to the next cause, there’s something you need to be aware of:

Other athletes can develop one-sided low back pain yet are not performing asymmetrical motions repeatedly.

Yes, that’s right.

The following sporting/recreational activities can lead to pain in one side of your lower back:

  • Ballet
  • Gymnastics
  • Ice skating

But…

These are unique situations that may require x-rays (and other images) to investigate the possibility of a spinal stress fracture. The area of interest is the pars interarticular is.

To save your time, I won’t spend much time on this topic since I have extensively covered it in podcasts. Here is the most recent one we did on Dancers with lower back pain

Moving ahead:

Here’s something equally crucial you could be going through…

Compensated Movement From Old Aches /Pains

Generally speaking, compensating is a process by which the body adjusts to an imbalanced movement. In compensation, it’s the body’s effort to reduce the likelihood of misaligned movement causing severe long-term health problems.

A limp is a perfect example.

So…

  • Do you squat with a shift to one side?
  • Do you have a slight limp?
  • Have you had a repeated knee injury (or ankle) on the left side and experienced chronic lower right back pain?

Then, it is likely that your body can and will compensate for accomplishing a task. 

To buttress my point:

If the task were to cross a busy street, you would run with a limp if you had a sprained ankle, yet you would still accomplish the task of avoiding a car.

The body will find a way to achieve the mission. Yet, sometimes it retains these movement compensations as a default even after your ankle pain is long gone.

Despite that, limping in the absence of any pain happens. 

Allow me to explain:

The Relationship Between Compensated Movement And Pain In One Side Of The Lower Back

Generally, we have three situations of compensated movement, which can create one-sided lower back pain.

  1. You have a current ache/pain in another part of your body that you’re compensating for (i.e., sprained ankle)
  2. You had a past ache/pain that you UNKNOWINGLY compensate for (Past left ankle sprain that shifts you AWAY from using the left leg).
  3. You had a past ache/pain that you KNOWINGLY compensate for (Past left ankle sprain that shifts you AWAY because you are afraid of hurting it again).

Let’s dig deeper into these scenarios:

In Situation 1, you have a current injury in another part of the body. You may notice your 1 sided low back pain may reduce on its own in the same timeline as the active injury. The injured area is called a “painful/dysfunctional” region, which creates short-term compensation.

In this case, your body will reduce the need to compensate over time. You will gradually apply weight to the injured part of the body, which deloads the opposite side of your lower back.

In Situation 2, your past injury is categorized as a “non-painful/dysfunctional” region that tends to create LONG-TERM compensation if not made functional again. I.e., limping in the absence of pain or swelling of the said ankle.

Your knee connects to your hip, your hip connects to your low back, and so on… we all know the song. It turns out it is all true!

In this situation, a customized program should be implemented to address all NON-painful/dysfunctional regions to deload the one side of your low back that hurts.

But here’s the catch:

To do this, you may need a skilled eye to identify non-painful/dysfunctional regions of your body that force the low back to work too hard.

Hang in there; it’s not all gloom and doom.

The Mobility, Stability, and Strength Model program design typically works well.

However, it’s always best to have someone narrow down what exercises will give you the most bang for your buck (and time). 

Because…

Some programs can take 1-2 hours a day if not narrowed down. That’s way too long for most people to do daily!

The truth is you only need 30-60 minutes of activity to reverse the compensation process and reduce right or left-sided lower back stiffness quickly.

In Situation 3, where you consciously avoid using certain joints, you need to get 1-on-1 coaching to implement a similar program design as I mentioned above. 

Warning! Do not try to do this on your own.

This is a “fear avoidance” case, and you’ll need reassurance that they are doing everything correctly.

Unfortunately, most people in Situation 3 end up with paralysis by analysis. Don’t let that be you.

Here’s what you should do:

Simply have a skilled coach, physical therapist, physiotherapist, sports chiropractor, or personal trainer tell you precisely what to do and how to do it.

And you will be surprised how much of your anxiety about movement will decrease by simply doing the exercises with the safety of a coach.

In Situations 2 and 3, no amount of massage, adjustments, electrical stimulation, heat, cupping, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, ice packs, medications, or surgery will change your movement patterns.

The only working solution?

Correcting compensated movement patterns requires coaching. 

Just like a professional pitcher in baseball, you need a coach to optimize your movements sometimes.

How Do You Correctly Diagnose Your Compensating Movement?

Usually, a simple mobility assessment gives enough information to move forward. A skilled trainer or medical professional can do this within 30 minutes or less.

Want to do it on your own first?

Have a friend take a video of you squatting, lunging, bending over, and backward. These movements will provide lots of information to start with a program. You will see and feel things that you have never noticed before. Consider this as your “discovery phase” of recovery.

You may notice your lower back rounding or extreme flatness as you move. You may notice your hips feel tight. You may see you dominantly shift towards one side or another.

You won’t know unless you look.

Chances are you are in Situation #2, where the movement compensation occurs without you knowing it. Don’t try to correct it. Typically the proper mobility, stability, and strength exercises will do it all for you, so you don’t have to overthink.

Just move, don’t think. The right program and coaching are all you need.

Cause #4: Internal Causes

One-sided hip or lower back pain can signify internal damage/issues/diseases to internal organs or tissues.

These include:

Impact (blunt) trauma, tumors, infections, kidney infection, pancreatitis, ulcerative colitis, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, kidney stones, testicular torsion, and much more are in this category.

Many of these are accompanied by odd symptoms of nausea, vomiting, fever, gas, bloating, urination, sweating while sleeping, constant pain, intense abdominal pain, and much more.

I know what you’re thinking: 

“I can do this myself.” But do you want to take that chance? I wouldn’t.

I am a medical professional, and I know firsthand what it’s like to spend hours looking for answers -it’s hard to wrap your head around all the information you have to sift through on your own. 

Instead, see a medical professional for a complete physical examination and medical workup. It’ll be a whole lot safer and a whole lot easier on you that way. 

Based on your medical presentation, the medical practitioner may decide whether you need blood work, X-rays, MRIs, CTs, nerve conduction tests, or any other advanced testing.

Cause #5: Deconditioned Or Poor Stability (Back Pain That Changes Sides)

Have you noticed that your lower back pain switches from side to side based on the day or the activity?

When this happens, many rehab professionals consider this an “instability case.” I’m not talking about a clinically unstable spine, such as what you could experience with high grades of spondylolisthesis or fractures. 

Then, what is it?

I’m talking about “deconditioned or poor stability.”

You know that saying, “You are what you eat?” Well, in this case, you’re what you do. 

In case you’re wondering, here are the findings of a 2014 review study published in Current Medical Research and Opinion:

“…the majority of evidence suggests LBP is associated with decreased strength/endurance, atrophy, and excessive fatigability of the lumbar extensors. Prospective studies also suggest lumbar extensor deconditioning may be a common risk factor predicting acute low back injury and LBP.”

Some hypotheses to help you understand the medical speak better:

  • If you had a trigger point within the lower back muscles, your pain would NOT change sides.
  • If you had an active disc injury, you would NOT have your back pain be on the left side one day and then move to the other side the next.
  • If you had a Sacroiliac (SI) joint sprain, your pain would NOT change sides.
  • If you had a pinched nerve in your lower back, the tension would NOT change sides.
  • Lower back pain that changes sides is NOT due to a true structural reason.

That is to say:

Lower back pain that changes sides results from one or a combination of the following: a biomechanical loading problem, a mobility problem, or a stability problem.

This is what we discussed in situations 2 and 3 above – where low back pain that switches sides is often seen.

What does this mean for you? 

It would be best if you started working on getting yourself healthy again as soon as possible. It may be worth it to see a specialist if this is the case—the sooner your spine can start getting straightened out, the better off you will be in the long run.

Bottom line: back pain can be an uncomfortable and debilitating phenomenon. Don’t be a slave to lower back pain. We want you to feel better to enjoy the things you love most. So, contact us immediately if you feel achiness in one side of your lower back that moves to another. We want to help ease your pain and lessen the chance of serious injury.

Valuable Resources For The Diagnosis of One Sided Lower Back Pain

I have written articles about these diagnoses already. If you want to investigate any of them further, just click on the links and use our sidebar on the following page to find what you are looking for.

  • Low back disc injury (Youtube Video).

  • Arthritis.
  • Bone spurs.
  • Spinal stenosis.
  • Muscle Strain or Sprain.
  • Facet Syndrome (Youtube Video).

  • Sciatica.
  • Low Back Pinched Nerve (Youtube Video).

Others include:

A Quick Summary Of Non-Surgical Treatments For Lower Right Side Back Pain

  • Massage.
  • Injections.
  • Cupping.
  • Trigger Point.
  • Releasing scar tissue.
  • Active Release Technique.
  • Graston.
  • Chiropractic Adjustments.
  • Surgery.
  • Ice, Heat, and NSAIDs.

While the treatments above may temporarily relieve pain and control symptoms, they do not address underlying factors that led directly to the original condition. Therefore, none of them can help restore function or reverse movement compensations.

The same can be said of the non-surgical treatments. They’re just as effective when combined with the following:

  • Active care.
  • Corrective exercise.
  • Mobility exercise.
  • Stability exercise.
  • Strength training.
  • Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS).
  • Functional Range Conditioning (FRC).
  • Kinstretch.

Ultimately…

Returning to a pain-free and fully functional life is within your reach: Effortful exercise with good coaching can help return you to a pain-free and fully functional life. 

Don’t be fooled into thinking passive care is always the best approach – it is not required in many situations. Effortful treatment works wonders and can also reduce pain quickly.

Recap

If you read the whole article, you can probably tell that resolving lower back pain isn’t as easy as popping a few pills or buying a new mattress. 

Quick fixes do not improve mobility, stability, strength, or movement compensations (conscious or unconscious). If you want to get rid of your lower back pain for good, here’s what you need to know:

A Word On Performance Place

The word: Proven!

 Hey, you, reading this…

You’re here because you’re looking for a solution to end the agony of the pain you endure on the right side of your lower back. Or is it a left-side back pain?

Whatever it be, we’ve got you covered!

Performance Place provides a proven way to get the results you want. We’re not talking about “I’m gonna try this and see what happens” or “I’ve heard it can help me reduce the pain.” 

We’re talking about a proven system – customized programs that have helped thousands of people get rid of 1 sided lower back pain for good. We’re ready to show you how it works and, most importantly…how to do it. Discover how now!

Think less, do more and feel better quickly!