Why Does My Back Hurt On The Lower Right Side?

Do you ever wonder:

"Why does my back hurt on the lower right side, but not the left side?"

It can't be that you're "just getting older".  After all, the right side of your lower back is no older than the left side of your lower back.

Watch the video below to learn what can make your back hurt on the lower right side, and what you can do to get your back to STOP HURTING!

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Why Does My Back Hurt On The Lower Right Side?

It's common for people to have back pain that is more prominent on one side than the other.

In fact, even among people who have back pain on both sides, there's often one side that's worse.

Quite often that's the right side.

Why is it so common for your lower back to hurt on the right side?

Well, most people are right handed.

If you always lift and carry things on your right side, use a computer mouse in your right hand or lean to the right side of your chair, you start developing muscle imbalances.

When the right-sided lower back muscles get stiffer than the muscle on the left side, it can make your back hurt on the lower right side.

How To Keep Your Back From Hurting On The Lower Right Side

As noted above, asymmetrical posture and lifting things more on the right side than left side often lead to muscle imbalances.

Therefore, in order to keep those muscle imbalances from developing in the first place, it's best to try do activities as symmetrically as possible.

Now, I realize it's not possible to always keep your activities in the midline of your body using both hands.... life happens.

But sometimes you DO have a choice of how you do things.

Here are some examples of ways to keep your back from hurting on the lower right side:

  1. Avoid always sitting on the right side of the couch and leaning on the right arm rest
  2. When lifting and carrying things, lift square up with it when lifting. Carry it in front of you rather than under your right arm or on your right hip.
  3. Stand with equal weight on both feet rather than shifting your weight over to one side or the other.
  4. When sitting, keep your feet square rather than crossing one leg over the other, particularly if you always tend to cross your legs in the same direction every time.

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Stretches To Stop Your Back From Hurting On The Lower Right Side

If the reason your lower back is hurting on the right side is due to stiff, sore muscles, then stretching out those muscles a good way to to get your back to stop hurting.

One easy way to stretch your right lower back is just leaning to the opposite side with your arm over your head as shown in the video above.

Tight Hip Flexors Can Make Your Back Hurt On The Lower Right Side

There are several ways to stretch tight hip flexors.

A tight psoas major muscle can cause your back to hurt on the lower right side

Your hip flexors are a group of 4 different muscles, but the one that has the most effect on lower back pain is called the iliopsoas.  The psoas portion of the iliopsoas attaches to the front side of the spine on each side.

When the psoas is too stiff, it can put a lot of pressure on the joints and discs in the lower back.

The Quadratus Lumborum Can Make Your Lower Back Hurt On The Right Side Too

Quadratus lumborum stiffness can make your back hurt on the lower right side

This stretch for right-sided lower back pain is variation on the hip flexor stretch also targets your quadratus lumborum, a muscle that runs along the side of your lower back.

Can A Herniated Disc Make My Back Hurt On The Lower Right Side?

Yes, a herniated disc can make your back hurt on the lower right side. 

However, more commonly, when a herniated disc is pressing on a nerve, it causes pain, numbness, or tingling in your leg.

In fact, if you have back pain, that's usually a good reason NOT to have back surgery.

Back surgery is usually performed only if:

  1. You're having bowel or bladder problems (can't go, or can't hold it)
  2. You have leg weakness from a pinched nerve that haven't gone away with other treatments.

Most of the time though, herniated discs can heal without surgery.

If a herniated disc is the cause of your right-sided lower back pain, stretching the muscles described above can take pressure off of the discs and nerves. This in turn can help you to relieve your back pain

What If I Have Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative disc disease basically means the discs in between your vertebrae start to dry out and lose height.

This makes the joints in your lower back closer together where the joint surfaces rub against each other, which can cause lower back pain.

Your discs are located in the center of your spine, so typically pain from degenerative discs is in the center of the back or on both sides, but again, often one side is worse than the other.

This comes back muscles being stiffer on one side of the the back than the other.

Take home point...

Regardless of whether your back pain is caused by muscles, herniated discs, or degenerative discs the tips on this page can help if your back hurts on the lower right side.

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If you try the advice on this page but you need more help to find out what you can do to get your back to stop hurting, click the button below to talk to a Back Pain Specialist.

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