Right side back pain is one of the most common complaints amongst adults. Also known as flank pain, it refers to the pain felt in your upper abdomen, side and/or back. Most people who experience flank pain complain of it being focused on only one side of the body, very commonly the right side. There are multiple reasons why this discomfort may arise and it is important to understand the cause before trying to find a remedy for the discomfort. This is because some back pain may be caused by problems more serious than a simple muscle strain.

Common Causes

Although there are multiple things that can be attributed to flank pain, here are some of its most common causes.

  1. Muscle Strain

Many people do not know this, but the back is one of the most used parts of your body. You may not realize this but every time you lift something, move your arms, bend over, sit down or partake in a slew of routine daily activities, you are using your back. If the back muscles are overworked, it will cause pain in your back. Tiny tears and overstretching in the back muscles happens to everyone and, depending on how serious the injury is, can take months to heal. Not only that, the discomfort will vary according to which muscle is strained and how badly it has been strained. Back pain centralized on the one side of your body is not uncommon but, depending on how deep the pain is, you should seek medical advice.

  1. Slipped Disk

This problem is generally associated with the spine. Made up of 26 vertebrae cushioned by disks, the spine is a hardy yet sensitive part of your body. These disks are in place to protect the vertebrae by absorbing shock and stress put onto the back and spine. The lower back is the most common area for the occurrence of a slipped disk and it is normal for the pain be centralized on just one side. Depending on how bad the discomfort is, treatment can vary from simple bed rest to surgery. Seek the advice of a doctor when you are able to as he or she will be able to tell you how bad the injury is and what to do next.

  1. Urinary Tract Infection or Bladder Infection

This is a common cause for pain centralized on the right of your back. Bladder and urinary tract infections do affect men, although they are more common in women. These infections inflame the ureters, kidneys, urethra and bladder, hence pressure and discomfort in the general area is not surprising. Besides the discomfort, another way to tell if you have a urinary tract or bladder infection is to note the color of your urine. Urine that takes on a pinkish hue is a sign of an infection and you should seek medical help right away. Another sign of an infection is a burning sensation while urinating. Ranging from home remedies to medication, urinary tract infections are relatively easy to treat and not a cause of major concern. On the other hand, bladder infections are more serious and should be treated right away. Preventive measures should also be taken to avoid a reoccurrence.

  1. Gallbladder Issues

Flank pain can also be attributed to gallbladder problems. Your gallbladder is a small pouch located under your liver. It stores bile that moves and digests fat. Gallstones are formed from cholesterol in the bile and can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a size of a peach seed. Gallstones or a gallbladder infection will cause great discomfort. When left untreated, gallstones can be a big problem so, if you have other symptoms such as nausea and stomach discomfort, head to the emergency room right away.

  1. Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are made up of a solid concentration of minerals formed in the kidney. These minerals come from urine and typically leave the body through the urine stream. Obstruction can happen when the kidney stones grow to a large size, leading to discomfort in the flank area. Over a million people are treated for kidney stones every year in the United States alone, making it one of the most common diseases in the world. Depending on the size and number of kidney stones found, treatments vary from medication to surgery.

  1. Joint Dysfunction

Joint dysfunction will cause pain on your right back. This problem mostly inflicts athletes as they tend to overwork their joints and back muscles. Symptoms are limited range of motion and mild to severe pain in the lower back, groin, thighs and buttocks. Medical attention is recommended to avoid a “freeze” or “lockdown” of the area, which will greatly limit your movement and cause great discomfort.

  1. Fracture

If a fracture occurs on the right of the body, particularly to the scapula, you will experience a stabbing pain. Trauma such as an accident or fall is usually what leads to a scapular fracture. If you feel discomfort in your back and a reduction in movement on one or both sides of your body, see a doctor for a consultation right away as this could be caused by a serious fracture.

  1. Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is most commonly known as the largest nerve in your body. This nerve is located in the lower back area and stretches all the way down to below your knees. A pinched nerve, internal bleeding, infections or injury to the area can cause problems with the sciatic nerve. This will lead to unbearable pain that can inhibit even the simple act of walking.

Simple Ways to Alleviate the Pain

Depending on the cause of the discomfort, there are many ways to alleviate the pain you feel on the right side of your body. Stretching exercises have been known to be very effective when combating minor back pain. Yoga or Pilates not only help alleviate the pain, they also help keep the muscles stretched and limber. These exercises will maintain your body like a well-oiled machine and help your body prevent or lesson injuries should you overwork yourself in the future.