“Bending over from pain” is a typical expression used to express suffering. Which fits perfectly when the pain is one of the most flexible areas of the body, that is, a side. “The causes can be numerous and diverse,” explains the doctor Nicola Castaldini, specialist in internal medicine at the San Pier Damiano Hospital in Faenza, Ravenna. “Generally, the pain in the side can appear as dull, continuous and without an analgesic position, that is, there is no posture capable of relieving it, or it manifests itself through spasms characterized by acute peaks alternating with phases of complete remission”. Get to a diagnosis certain can be complex: a careful medical history and an objective examination are needed, sometimes integrated with some clinical tests, such as an ultrasound of the complete abdomen and specific blood tests that can reveal a possible inflammatory state of the organism or perhaps a malfunction of liver or kidneys.
Because it can hurt the right or left side
These areas of the body include different organs, muscles and nerve structures, so the pain can be linked to a trauma suffered in that area of the body or it can represent the projection of a deeper problem. “For example, in the case of double organs, the kidneys can create pain on both the right and left sides and the most common cause is renal colic due to the presence of stones, characterized by a violent pain that is felt right in the lower back and on the corresponding side », reports Dr. Castaldini. “The intestine can also cause discomfort on both sides, as it occupies almost the entire abdominal cavity, as well as the ovaries in women. Only on the right, on the other hand, we find the biliary tract and the retrocecal appendage, while on the left we have the spleen ».
How to tell if the pain is muscular or not
Other times, however, the pain may be due to one disc disease at the back-lumbar level, that is to the degeneration of one of the discs interposed between one vertebra and the other in the vertebral column. How is it recognized? “When we are unable to find a position capable of alleviating our suffering, the origin is almost certainly visceral and therefore must be sought in one of the abdominal organs, while the classic musculoskeletal pain is often associated with movement or maintenance of a determined posture, but it always has a position of relief », Dr. Castaldini specifies.
How to tell if the liver has to do with it
Sometimes it is feared that the pain in the right side may hide a liver problem. «In reality, the liver is not innervated by nociceptive fibers, those that transmit painful signals, so this organ cannot hurt, even when it is inflamed. Rather, the one that can hurt is there Glisson’s capsule, a sort of fibrous lining of the liver: as happens with the spleen, when poorly trained subjects run or play sports, the sudden request for an increased blood supply may cause localized pain, generally destined to resolve spontaneously with rest and, over time, with training », Dr. Castaldini explains. “The same can happen when exercising after main meals: the digestive tract, which at that moment is busy processing the food introduced, is deprived of blood, diverted to the muscles, so it becomes difficult and can manifest discomfort in the form of pain “.
When to worry
In case of trauma or if the pain is accompanied by others symptoms, such as fever, itching, blood in the urine, widespread abdominal pain, or irregular bowel function, you should seek medical attention. “Even when the pain persists over time or returns cyclically, the problem should not be underestimated,” recommends the expert.
“If, on the other hand, the suffering is isolated, limited to a single episode and not related to other symptoms, there is generally no reason to worry. In most cases, it is an intestinal problem, even if only an obstinate constipation or some inflammation ».