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Lower Right Back Pain: What It Is and the Pain Relief Options

A woman seated on a bed while applying pressure to her lower right back

Lower right back pain is localised discomfort in the lumbar region. It specifically affects the right side and causes debilitation that impacts daily activities. To find relief from this pain, there are different options available. One option is drugs, including over-the-counter medications or opioids prescribed by a doctor. Another option is natural treatment, which includes physical therapy, cold and hot therapy, or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy.

Back pain can be an acute or chronic condition, persisting for more than three months. Acute pains subside once the cause, such as wounds or injury, heals. However, chronic pain is primarily due to a condition that progresses over time. It is essential to find relief, as it can significantly affect the quality of life. This article will provide information about pain in the lower right back, including the pain medications and natural treatment options to consider.

What is a Lower Right Back Pain?

Many people acquire lower right back pain because of muscle strain and sprain. It occurs due to tissue injury from sudden movements and overstretching of the muscles and ligaments. Examples include using an improper lifting technique, heavy lifting, or not warming up before exercising. As a result, the pain can restrict movement.

Another factor contributing to back pain is structural or spinal issues. It involves disorders of the spine due to wear and tear. Common conditions include ankylosing spondylitis, spondylolisthesis, spinal disc herniation, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, spinal stenosis, and bone spurs. This is typical as a person gets older and the vertebral column deteriorates.

Degenerative structural problems result in the gradual impairment of spinal function. A slipped disc in the vertebrae may cause compression of the nerves. This results in chronic pain conditions in the lower back that may extend to the buttocks and legs. Furthermore, compressions of the sciatic nerve can cause inflammation, sharp pain, and weakness. The narrowing spaces in the spinal canal can cause numbness and tingling sensations in the extremities.

Anatomy of the Lower Right Back

  • Multifidus: this deep muscle runs along the spine, originating in the sacral and lumbar regions. It extends upward, providing essential support for spinal stability and contributing to controlled movements of the lower back.
  • Erector Spinae: comprising the iliocostalis, longissimus, and spinalis muscles, the erector spinae group extends the length of the spine.
  • Spinalis: as part of the erector spinae group, the spinalis muscle specifically runs along the spinous processes of the spine.
  • Latissimus Dorsi: Spanning the lower and mid-back, the latissimus dorsi is a large, powerful muscle responsible for adduction, extension, and medial shoulder rotation. It also provides stability to the spine.

A man holding his pained lower right back

Pain Medications to Alleviate Lower Right Back Pain

Lower right back pain can be incredibly distressing. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are often recommended to alleviate the discomfort. These counter pain medications work by reducing inflammation in the affected area. This can help ease the pain caused by various medical conditions and strained or injured soft tissues.

For severe pain in the lower right back, a doctor may prescribe stronger pain medications to provide relief. These prescription medications can include muscle relaxants, opioid pain relievers, or antidepressants, depending on the cause and severity of the pain. It is necessary to follow the correct dosage and be aware of the potential side effects of these stronger medications.

Healthcare providers may recommend steroid injections as a more targeted approach to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain for some individuals. They administer these injections directly into the affected area, offering longer-lasting relief than oral medications. Overall, the choice of medicines depends on the specific condition and medical history of the individual.

Potential Side Effects

The potential side effects of counter medications or prescription drugs commonly include stomach upset or abdominal pain, nausea, and constipation. Overuse of medicines may also cause rebound headaches. Furthermore, large doses can lead to high blood pressure, liver damage, kidney infection, and other internal organ issues.

Pregnant women should consult their provider before using any medicine. These medicines are typically contraindicated in the third trimester of pregnancy. Additionally, long-term use of opioid medications may cause liver failure and respiratory depression. It also has a high risk of developing physical dependence and tolerance. Therefore, health professionals supervise the intake of opioids and other prescribed drugs.

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Natural Treatment Options to Ease Lower Right Back Pain

When experiencing lower right back pain, physical therapy and exercises are effective treatment options. A physical therapist can create a customised plan to improve the range of motion and strengthen the muscles. This can help relieve discomfort and improve the quality of life for individuals with right-sided back pain. Engaging in physical activities and following exercise videos at home can also help.

In addition, cold and hot therapy can help ease the pain in the lower right back. Applying an ice pack can reduce inflammation and numb the area. Meanwhile, a heating pad can increase blood flow and relax the muscles. Both methods can provide relief and are simple to incorporate into daily activities.

Another natural treatment option is TENS therapy. By sending mild electrical pulses to the affected area, this therapy can help disrupt pain signals and provide relief. People can use TENS therapy at home, and it is a non-invasive and drug-free way to manage pain in the lower right back. If symptoms persist despite these natural treatment options, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for appropriate medical treatment.

A Closer Look at TENS

TENS therapy utilises a portable, battery-operated device people wear on the body. It commonly uses a set of electrodes to deliver electrical impulses through the skin. Particularly, high-frequency TENS (50-120 Hz) causes the spinal nerves to close, preventing the pain signals from reaching the brain.

Another way TENS relieves back pain is through endorphin release. The machine utilises low frequencies (10 Hz or below) to let the body produce more endorphins or natural painkillers. Endorphins help suppress the nerve cells from sending pain messages and reduce stress and anxiety. Additionally, the constant stream of low electrical pulses boosts blood circulation in the area.


Lower right back pain can stem from muscle strain or structural issues in the spine. It often results from everyday activities or age-related wear and tear. Over-the-counter NSAIDs can help reduce inflammation and ease mild pain. Severe cases may require prescription medications like muscle relaxants or opioids. Steroid injections may provide targeted relief for some individuals. Nevertheless, following the correct dosage and guidelines is vital when using medication to minimise complications.

Natural options like physical therapy, exercises, and hot and cold therapy can provide relief. TENS therapy, a portable device sending electrical pulses, disrupts pain signals and triggers endorphin release. This non-invasive approach offers an effective, drug-free way to manage discomfort. If symptoms persist despite all the remedies, seeking advice from a healthcare professional is crucial for appropriate medical care. Individuals interested in wireless TENS devices may check out iTENS Australia.

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