Left flank pain refers to pain on the left side of the upper part of the body or the torso. Pain experienced in the upper part of the body between the ribs and the hip bones which includes the upper part of the abdomen and back. This portion comprises of a several different and important organs which include the heart, spleen, stomach, left kidney, etc.
In addition, left flank pain may also involve the ribs or the left lung which are also the part of the left flank region. The treatment of left flank pain would depend upon the underlying cause of the pain and the multiplicity of the organs involved.
Possible Causes Of Flank Pain On Left Side
There are several factors that are responsible for left flank pain. Some of the most commonly identified problems include,
- Shingles: According to the National Neurological Disorders and Stroke Institute, shingles is a condition characterized by skin rash and blister which are caused due to Varicella Zoster virus. This condition is often associated with pain along one side of the torso with formation of blisters along the sternum.
- Polyneuritis: This condition is characterized by burning and sensation of pain along peripheral nerves and is commonly associated with diabetes. Though the condition can affect multiple nerves along different parts of the body, it is also considered to be one of the causes of left flank pain.
- Enlarged Spleen: Enlargement of the spleen is associated with a range of conditions including infectious diseases like malaria or chronic conditions like blood dyscrasia. Inflammation and compression of the surrounding organs are the primary causes of pain.
- Bruised ribs: Following an injury, the ribs can be damaged on the left side, which can result in pain.
- Kidney Problems: Kidney disorders affecting the left kidney can also result in left torso pain. Some of the common conditions include renal stones, hydronephrosis and glomerulonephritis.
- Gastritis or peptic ulcers may also be associated with left torso pain, as the pain may radiate to the back.
- Nerve root compressions, affecting the nerves supplying to the left part of the body are also often associated with left flank pain.
Treatment Of Left Flank Pain
Treatment of left flank pain depends upon the underlying cause for the pain. The treatment regimen would vary depending upon the factors contributing the pain. However some common treatment options include the following,
- Muscular pains affecting the left flank region can be treated effectively with hot fomentation and massage. Massaging the left portion with essential oils like lavender oil help relieve muscular spasms. Massage should however be avoided by the condition is associated with injury to the ribs or spine. In such cases, treatment would comprise primarily of rest and use of NSAIDs to manage the pain.
- Gastric complains can be treated effectively using a dietary approach. Spicy and oily foods need to be completely avoided. Drinking cold milk helps to relieve gastritis related left flank pain.
- Spleen enlargement can be treated only by treating the underlying condition. Surgical removal of the spleen may be required in severe cases.
- Kidney pain can be treated using hydrotherapy. Increasing the intake of fluids can help flush out the stones that may be responsible for left flank pain.
Other conditions resulting in flank pain on the left side need to be treated accordingly.