Causes of pain in the right side of the back: types of pain and diagnostic methods

Back pain is one of the most common complaints for which patients seek medical attention. Such a symptom may have an origin, location, character, etc. different. In particular, if a person has pain on the right side of the back, this may indicate both minor injuries and the development of serious pathologies.

It is noteworthy that the cause of pain on the right side of the back does not necessarily lie in pathological processes associated with the spine or back. Pain can be radiated, that is, it can indicate diseases of various organs and systems. Now we will consider what types of pain syndromes are found, what are the causes of their occurrence, as well as the principles of diagnosis.

Pain in the right side of the back.

types of pain

Before looking for the causes of any unpleasant sensation, it is necessary to understand its classification. In this case, the question is about what types of back pain are on the right.

The ability to recognize the pain syndrome, its specificity and nature, will give you the opportunity to more accurately convey the clinical picture to the doctor and tell him about your feelings. At the same time, the doctor, receiving a description of the symptoms, can make assumptions about the origin of the pain. This will greatly simplify the process of identifying the diagnosis and prescribing treatment in the future.

Pain is of the following types:

sharp pain

One of the most common types of pain, and also the most severe. They are characterized by their greater intensity, as well as the suddenness of their appearance. They are difficult for patients to tolerate, requiring the use of analgesics. In most cases, acute pain is successfully stopped with analgesics or antispasmodics. Such a pain syndrome is characterized by its short duration, it occurs as abruptly as it disappears, but these manifestations of cases are cyclical.

acute back pain

A subspecies of acute, characterized by intensity and sharpness. They are characterized by stabbing or cutting, while back pains are so strong and unexpected that the person literally "twists". Patients experiencing acute pain are always irritable, since they are constantly in a state of expectation of a new attack, which is impossible to predict. Acute pain on the right side often radiates to the back, that is, it radiates, even if its epicenter is in the front of the body.

Dull pain on the right side

The second type of pain syndrome in terms of variety, differing from the first in much less intensity. The main disadvantage of dull pains is their method and constancy. Such painful sensations do not go away for a long time, they constantly bother a person, even in a dream. Due to the low degree of intensity, dull pains are easier to bear, but at the same time, drugs relieve them worse, because in such cases it is important to act directly on the causes of the pain syndrome.

Right back pain pain

One of the types of dull pain, which in most cases radiates to the back from another department, especially often this happens with various diseases of the organs. Also, aching pains are often a sign of overexertion of the back muscles, which can occur not only as a result of physical exertion at work or in the gym. Pain in the right side under the ribs from behind appears due to muscle strain due to prolonged forced stay in an uncomfortable position.

Drawing pain on the right side

The second type of dull pain, which is also characterized by monotony, constancy and duration. The intensity of pain in this case is also low, but all dull pains have an unpleasant feature - they increase for a short time with careless and unsuccessful movements, a sharp change in body position, etc. In this case, a person feels a short-term flare-up of pain, which can be replaced by numbness, the pain syndrome again sluggish. Therefore, drawing pains have that name, they cause the sensation that something is pulling on a muscle or bone, for example when a pulling pain in the lumbosacral region radiates to the right leg.

In addition to the above gradation, the main division of pain syndrome into types is the classification into weak and severe pain. Unfortunately, these indicators are subjective, since they depend on the individual characteristics of the organism of each individual person. First of all, we are talking about sensitivity, pain threshold, but in any case, it is very important to convey to the attending physician the intensity of the unpleasant sensations experienced.

Information about the nature and intensity, as well as the localization of the pain syndrome, allows the doctor not only to suggest a possible cause of discomfort, but also to understand approximately at what stage of development the pathological process is.

Why does it hurt and why?

As mentioned above, there are a large number of causes of pain in the right hypochondrium behind the back, as well as above or below the thoracic region, but also to the right. At the same time, the pain syndrome is surprisingly different in terms of intensity, character and localization. Also, the back, joints and spine are not always the cause of the pain syndrome.

Let's look at the most common causes of pain on the right side of the back:


Osteochondrosis is leading in frequency and prevalence, it is he who can cause the symptoms discussed. The pathological process is characterized by dystrophic disorders in the cartilage of the spinal column, followed by the development of an inflammatory process in the adjacent tissues. At the same time, the condition of the spinal column worsens considerably, an infringement of the roots of the spinal cord or a narrowing of the lumen of the spinal canal occurs. Pain under the right rib or only in the side occurs with the development of pathology in the thoracic or lumbar region. By nature, the pain is usually dull, aching, or drawing, and is aggravated by bending, careless movement, and physical exertion.


A pathology that accompanies damage to the roots of the spinal cord, in which the patient suffers from intense pain, depending on the individual, dull or acute. With this disease, the pain often radiates not only to the right side of the back, but also to the scapula, right shoulder, etc.


The formation between the vertebrae, which contributes to the protrusion of the intervertebral disc. This pathology is accompanied by a constant pain syndrome with unpleasant sensations of pain or pulling of nature. With an intervertebral hernia, the pain increases during the day, at night there is a peak in intensity. Pain is given in the right hypochondrium when it is formed at the level of the corresponding pair of vertebrae. Sudden movements, lifting weights or palpation of the place of hernia formation respond with severe sharp back pain.


Deformation of the spine caused by the proliferation of the bone tissues of the vertebrae. Due to the expansion, the nerve endings of the spinal cord are compressed, and a stable and constant pain syndrome develops. Unpleasant sensations at the same time are dull, aching, pulling in nature, do not weaken even when lying down or sleeping.

The four points described above refer to pain caused exclusively by diseases of the back and spine, hernias, osteochondrosis, protrusions, etc. But in addition to this, it is important to know other possible causes of pain:

Pathologies of the urinary system

A striking example of pathologies of this type is urolithiasis, which is accompanied by the formation of stones. In this case, the location of the pain depends on the location of the stones. If they are formed in the lower part of the ureter, severe pain will appear in the lower back, giving way to the side.


A feature of sciatica is the infringement of the sciatic nerve, after which it becomes inflamed in a certain area. Due to the fact that the sciatic nerve is the longest in the body and begins in the lower back, it is not uncommon for pain to radiate to the back in this disease. By nature, they are sharp, strong, stabbing, but they occur in attacks that patients describe as severe back pain.

kidney problems

The most common disease in this category is pyelonephritis, that is, an inflammatory process in the kidneys of bacterial etiology. In this case, the pain is felt in the lower right or left side, depending on which kidney is inflamed. The pain is usually dull and aching, but can also resemble renal colic. In this case, renal colic is a separate kidney disease, also accompanied by pain in the right side behind. However, in this case, the pain syndrome is very strong, and with the development of pathology, it can cover the entire lumbar region.

liver disease

As you know, the liver is located on the right side of the abdomen. Consequently, pathologies of this organ are often accompanied by pain on the right side of the back. Among the pathological processes, the most unpleasant and painful are hepatic colic or liver cirrhosis. An even higher level of threat is a rare liver rupture, in which a person is in severe pain, accompanied by internal bleeding.

Pathologies of the stomach and intestines.

There are many different diseases of the stomach and intestines, accompanied by unpleasant sensations radiating to the back. These are acute forms of gastritis, peptic ulcer, intestinal colic, etc. However, diseases of this nature are accompanied by other symptoms (nausea, stool disorders, vomiting, etc. ).

Diseases of the respiratory system

In this case, lung diseases are directly involved, among which pleurisy (inflammation of the pleural tissue), pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs) are considered the most common, and tuberculosis is also among the possible problems. In each case, right-sided pain will be present when the right lung is affected. The pains are of a different nature, mostly sharp and stabbing, they tend to intensify during coughing.

cardiac pathologies

Coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction are mainly taken into account. At the same time, pain sensations in the back, on the right side of the back in the thoracic region, appear due to waist pains, they are sharp and stabbing in nature, aggravated by exertion, coughing, deep breathing , etc.

Gallbladder inflammation or acute cholecystitis

Another common problem in which patients complain of severe pain in the right side of the abdominal cavity. However, the pain radiates to the right side or even below the right shoulder blade. All unpleasant sensations arise mainly after eating junk food, alcoholic beverages. The clinical picture is supplemented by nausea, vomiting, a feeling of bitterness in the oral cavity.

The pregnancy

Pain in pregnant women most often occurs at the beginning or in the middle of the third trimester. This is explained by the growth of the fetus, because in later stages it reaches a fairly large size, which significantly increases the load on the back of the expectant mother. In addition, painful sensations also arise due to the fact that the center of gravity is changing, respectively, more load is placed on individual muscles. In such cases, the pains may appear in the lower right, occur mainly in the lumbar region and disappear when the woman is at rest.

Of course, we must not forget about another very common factor - mechanical damage. In this case, the cause of any discomfort is bumps, bruises, sprains, dislocations and fractures. Also, this element can be attributed to muscle pain caused by excessive physical exertion on the back.

In any case, it is difficult to determine the exact cause of the pain syndrome in the right side of the back, even knowing all the possible variables. That is why the diagnosis of the causes and the treatment of pain are inseparable concepts. To accurately establish the diagnosis, be sure to consult a doctor.

Diagnosis: who to contact?

First of all, you need to go to the local therapist, who, based on the complaints, will refer you to a limited specialist. Depending on the underlying cause of your right back pain, this specialist may be a neurologist, urologist, gastroenterologist, or cardiologist.

To understand why the back hurts on the right, a number of diagnostic measures are required, which also differ depending on various factors. Initially, the doctor performs an initial examination with palpation of the place indicated by the patient. Only after the examination it becomes clear what tests are needed:

Computed tomography for the diagnosis of pain in the right side of the back
  • bone scan;
  • computed tomography (CT);
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI);
  • fluorography;
  • Analysis of blood, urine, feces;
  • Pressure and heart rate measurement;
  • Fibrogastroduodenoscopy with the possibility of gastric juice sampling and tissue biopsy;
  • Ultrasound of a specific organ, etc.

Each method allows you to establish a problem in a particular area, detect damage to organs, the spine, etc. It is only important to remember that contacting a doctor in such cases is a mandatory action, and self-medication is strictly prohibited.