Pain in lower back left side and tightness/tension in middle back right side

by Lili


I have been having pain in my lower back left side for the past 2-3 months after I started running and exercising a lot after a long period of inactivity. Prior to that I was having a lot of tightness/tension in the middle of my back on the right side. I found out I have scoliosis of about 10 degrees or less which causes the tightness. I have left lumbar scoliosis. Also I have uneven hips as a result of the scoliosis. The right hip is higher than the left.

Hello Lili,
It's the other way around; you have a scoliosis because of the uneven hips. In reality what you have is one limb that is shorter than the other.

The solution is a simple, inexpensive lift in your shoe; the difficulty is working out how thick the inner should be, and whether it's only under your heel, or the whole foot. You could do it by trial and error yourself, or see a professional to guide you; even then it's not clear cut. It's a very common cause of low back pain with a simple solution.

I am trying to find out what is causing the low back pain. I went to different specialists and I got a few different diagnosis. One physiotherapist told me I have lumbar faucet syndrome. Another physiotherapist told me I have a bulging disc. A chiropractor told me I have a bulging disc and also sacroilliac joint pain. I'm very confused as everyone is telling me something different and I would like to find out what the exact diagnosis is so I can get better.

I can't answer which of these it is, but really it makes no difference. First get the leg length inequality worked out before pursuing any treatment.

The reality is that a sharp diagnosis is difficult even to the very experienced and knowledgeable. At a gathering of ten of the world's greatest specialists, less than 50 percent of the time were they in agreement of the diagnosis; so no wonder the lesser lights are also not certain.

My pain seems to increase when I do physical activity such as exercise, especially running so I have stopped doing it. Sometimes when I put a lot of weight on my left foot, such as standing on left leg only, I feel pain in my left low back. Recently I have started hearing a clicking sound in my low back sometimes when I step on my left leg. Sitting helps make the pain go away if I sit with a greater than 90 degree angle between my upper body and legs. When I lie down the pain goes away. Please help me. I would like to find out whats causing it.

This is absolutely typical of the short leg syndrome; standing and walking, especially dawdling causes pain, relieved by sitting and lying down.

Also, are you doing any disciplined lower back exercises? Every morning before getting out of bed is what I recommend. They take less than two minutes; find them in the navigation bar at chiropractic help.

Dr B

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Jun 15, 2016
Physical therapy
by: Anonymous

Hi. Thank you very much for your help. I was wondering if it's possible to correct the pelvic imbalance to equalize the two sides without having to wear a shoe lift? Would it be possible to correct it with physical therapy? I noticed my right side glute muscles are always tight. Do you think the left side is not working properly?

I'm afraid that with a spine looking like the leaning tower of Pisa, stresses and strains are inevitable at the apex of the curves.

Whilst exercise will help strengthen the muscles, and keep the joints mobile, only a lift in your shoe can straighten you up; then all the other issues will show vast improvement. It's so simple and inexpensive; why go looking for a costly and less effective solution?

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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