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Lower Right Back Pain Causes

What causes lower right back pain? This is a common question asked of physiotherapists, as is the same question about the left side. Back pain causes are many and not completely understood and some of the causes can give back pain which occurs on one side or another.

Good information about back pain causes is available at and


Disc Pain

Our intervertebral discs are very tough and in young people they rarely give problems unless subject to severe stresses. Discs can take vertical pressures but combine this with torsion (twisting) and they can be damaged much more easily.

If a disc is injured or suffers degenerative changes over a long period these can occur at one side of the disc, with the rear corners being most vulnerable. This tends to refer pain to one side or another. This can account for right side back pain causes or lower left back pain causes or can give more generalised lower back pain.

Sacroiliac Joint Pain

The sacroiliac joints (SIJs) are the large joints between the sacrum, the triangular bony structure at the base of the spine, and the large sides of the pelvis. The sacroiliac joints do not move much but are known to be responsible for chronic low back pain in up to 15% of back pain cases

Sacroiliac joint pain is usually felt over the joint itself on one side and can be referred down the same buttock or to the same side groin.

Facet Joint or Rib Joint Pain

These small joints sit to the sides of the thoracic spine and can be a back pain cause from injuries or postural overstrain. They can be sources of very acute and disabling pain despite being very small joints.

Upper back pain causes and middle back pain causes are typically different from the causes of low back pain which is often disc related in origin although other structures may be implicated. In the thoracic spine disc symptoms are much rarer and the pain is much more likely to come from the facet or rib joints.

Back pain symptoms from one sided pain include a sharp pain of a sudden incident or a slowly developing pain from repeated activities or poor posture. This settles to a strong unpleasant and often continuous ache with sharp jabs on movement, settling to a lower ache and intermittent pain on stressing until it settles completely.

Back pain treatment with a physio includes the Mackenzie method, a disc based method of treatment which has some evidence of effectiveness, mobilisation techniques, manipulation, general fitness and specific exercises for the symptomatic area. Although these physio techniques cannot usually provide a back pain cure they can help significantly with back pain relief.

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