Causes of Pain on the Right Side of the Back: Types of Pain and How to Diagnose

Back pain is one of the most common complaints of patients seeking medical care. Such symptoms may have different origins, localizations, characteristics, etc. In particular, if a person has pain from the back on the right side, this may indicate the development of minor injuries and serious illness.

It is important to note that the cause of right back pain is not necessarily a pathological process related to the spine or back. Pain can be radial, that is, can indicate disease in various organs and systems. We will now consider what types of pain syndromes are identified, why they occur, and principles of diagnosis.

Pain on the right side of the back

type of pain

Before looking for the cause of any unpleasant feelings, it is necessary to understand their classification. In this case, the question was about the type of back pain on the right side.

The ability to identify pain syndromes, their specificity and nature will give you the opportunity to more accurately communicate your clinical situation to your doctor about how you are feeling. At the same time, doctors can make assumptions about the origin of pain after receiving a description of symptoms. This will greatly simplify the process of determining a diagnosis and prescribing treatment in the future.

There are several types of pain:

acute pain

One of the most common types of pain, and the worst. They are characterized by increased intensity and suddenness of occurrence. They are difficult to tolerate by patients and require pain medication. In most cases, acute pain can be successfully stopped with analgesics or antispasmodics. This pain syndrome is characterized by short duration and sudden disappearance, but these manifestations in cases are cyclical.

severe back pain

Acute subspecies, characterized by intensity and suddenness. They are characterized by stab wounds or cuts, and the back pain is so intense and unexpected that the person literally means "twisted. "Patients who experience severe pain are always irritable because they are constantly in a state of anticipation of a new attack, which is unpredictable. Acute pain on the right side often radiates to the back, ie, radiates, even if its epicenter is in the front of the body.

Right side dull pain

The second type of pain syndrome differs from the first in terms of variety and is much less intense. The main disadvantage of dull pains is that they are methodical and persistent. Such painful sensations do not go away for long, they constantly disturb a person, even in dreams. Due to the low intensity, dull pain is more tolerable, but at the same time the drug relief is less effective, since in this case it is important to act directly on the cause of the pain syndrome.

right back pain

A type of dull pain that in most cases radiates from another sector to the back, especially as this often occurs in various diseases of the organ. Also, pain is often a sign of overworked back muscles, which can happen not only because of physical exertion at work or in the gym. Pain on the right side under the ribs due to muscle strain from being forced to stay in an uncomfortable position for a long time.

right side pain

The second type of dull pain is also characterized by monotony, persistence and persistence. In this case, the intensity of pain is also low, but all dull pains have an unpleasant feature - they increase for a short time with unsuccessful, careless movements, sharp changes in body position, etc. In this case, a person feels brief bursts of pain that can be replaced by numbness, and the pain syndrome becomes dull again. Stretch pain, hence the name, can feel like something is pulling on a muscle or bone, for example, when stretch pain in the lumbosacral region radiates to the right leg.

In addition to the above classification, the main division of pain syndrome types is divided into mild pain and severe pain. Unfortunately, these metrics are subjective as they depend on the individual characteristics of each individual's organism. First, we're talking about sensitivity, pain thresholds, but in any case, it's important to communicate to the attending physician the intensity of the unpleasant sensations experienced.

Information about the nature and intensity of the pain syndrome, as well as the localization, allows the physician not only to suggest possible causes of discomfort, but also to get a general idea of the developmental stage of the pathological process.

Why does it hurt, why?

As mentioned, there are many causes of right side rib pain, from the back of the back, and above or below the chest, and from the right side. At the same time, pain syndromes differ significantly in intensity, characteristics, and localization. Also, the back, joints, and spine are not always the cause of pain syndromes.

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


Osteochondrosis is the morbidity and prevalence leader that can cause the symptoms in question. The pathological process is characterized by dystrophic disease in the spinal cartilage followed by the development of an inflammatory process in adjacent tissues. At the same time, the condition of the spine is also greatly deteriorated, and the root of the spinal cord is invaded or the spinal canal is narrowed. Pain below or on one side of the right rib cage as the disease progresses in the thoracic or lumbar spine. In nature, the pain is usually dull, aching, or pulling, aggravated by stooping, careless movements, and physical exertion.


The pathology that accompanies spinal cord root injury, in which the patient suffers severe pain, either dull or acute, depending on the individual. With this condition, pain often radiates not only to the right side of the back, but also to the shoulder blade, right shoulder, etc.


The formation between the vertebrae that contributes to a herniated disc. This pathology is accompanied by a persistent pain syndrome with an unpleasant pain or pulling sensation. With intervertebral hernias, pain increases during the day and peaks in intensity at night. Pain in the right rib when formed at the level of the corresponding vertebra. Vigorous exercise, weight lifting, or palpation of the site of herniation can cause severe back pain.


Deformation of the spine caused by hyperplasia of bony tissue in the vertebrae. As a result of the dilation, the nerve endings of the spinal cord are compressed, creating a stable and persistent pain syndrome. At the same time unpleasant sensations are dullness, pain, pulling that do not diminish even when lying down or sleeping.

The above four points refer to pain caused only by back and spine disorders, hernias, osteochondrosis, protrusions, etc. But beyond that, it's important to know about other possible causes of pain:

Urinary pathology

A striking example of this type of pathology is urolithiasis, which accompanies the formation of stones. In this case, the location of the pain depends on the location of the stone. If they form in the lower part of the ureter, they can cause severe pain in the lower back and tilt to one side.


A hallmark of sciatica is an invasion of the sciatic nerve, after which it becomes inflamed in an area. Because the sciatic nerve is the longest in the body and begins in the lumbar region, pain radiating to the back is not uncommon in this condition. Essentially, they're sharp, strong, and stabbing, but they occur in attacks that sufferers describe severe back pain.

kidney problems

The most common of these diseases is pyelonephritis, an inflammatory process in the kidneys caused by bacterial etiologies. In this case, pain can be felt in the lower right or left side, depending on which kidney is inflamed. The pain is usually dull, but can also resemble renal colic. In this case, renal colic is a separate kidney disease with pain on the right side from behind. In this case, however, the pain syndrome was very intense and, as the pathology developed, was able to cover the entire lumbar region.

liver disease

As you know, the liver is located on the right side of the abdomen. Therefore, lesions of this organ are often accompanied by pain on the right side of the back. Among the pathological processes, the most unpleasant and painful is hepatic colic or cirrhosis. A bigger threat is a rare rupture of the liver, in which a person suffers severe pain with internal bleeding.

Pathology of the stomach and intestines

There are many different diseases of the stomach and intestines, with an unpleasant feeling that radiates backwards. These are acute forms of gastritis, peptic ulcer, colic, etc. However, a disease of this nature is accompanied by other symptoms (nausea, constipation, vomiting, etc. ).

Respiratory diseases

In this case, lung disease is directly implicated, of which pleurisy (inflammation of the pleural tissue), pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs) are considered the most common, and tuberculosis is one of the possible problems. In each case, pain occurred on the right side when the right lung was affected. Pain is of varying nature, mainly sharp and stabbing, and tends to be exacerbated by coughing.

heart disease

Mainly consider coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction. At the same time, the pain in the back and right chest and back appears due to low back pain, which is acute and tingling, and is aggravated by fatigue, coughing, and deep breathing.

Inflammation of the gallbladder or acute cholecystitis

Another common problem is that patients complain of severe pain on the right side of the abdominal cavity. However, the pain can radiate to the right side, even under the right shoulder blade. All unpleasant feelings are mainly produced after eating junk food and alcoholic beverages. Clinical manifestations are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and oral bitterness.


Pain in pregnant women more often occurs in the beginning or middle of the third trimester. This can be explained by the growth of the fetus, since in later stages it will reach a considerable size, which can significantly increase the load on the expectant mother's back. Also, because the center of gravity is shifting, individual muscles are put on more load, which can also cause pain. In this case, pain may appear in the lower right corner, mainly in the lower back, and disappear when the woman rests.

Of course, we cannot forget another very common factor - mechanical damage. In this case, the cause of any discomfort is blows, bruises, sprains, dislocations and fractures. In addition, the item can be attributed to muscle pain caused by excessive physical exertion in the back.

In any case, even knowing all possible variables, it is difficult to determine the exact cause of right pain syndrome from the back. This is why the cause of pain diagnosis and treatment are inseparable concepts. To determine an accurate diagnosis, be sure to consult your doctor.

Diagnosis - who to contact?

First, you should go to a local therapist who will refer you to a narrow specialist based on the complaint. Depending on the underlying cause of the right back pain, this specialist may be a neurologist, urologist, gastroenterologist, or cardiologist.

To understand why the right side of the back is painful, a number of diagnostic measures are required, which also vary based on a variety of factors. Initially, the doctor conducts an initial examination by palpating the location indicated by the patient. It is only after the exam that it becomes clear which exams are required:

Computed tomography scan for diagnosing right back pain
  • radiography;
  • Computed tomography (CT);
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI);
  • Fluoroscopy;
  • blood, urine, stool tests;
  • measure stress and heart rate;
  • Fiberoptic gastroduodenoscopy with gastric juice sampling and tissue biopsy;
  • Ultrasound of specific organs, etc.

Each method allows you to identify problems in specific areas to detect damage to organs, spine, and more. The only thing important to remember is that contacting a doctor in this case is mandatory and self-medication is strictly prohibited.