You might feel kidney pain or discomfort as a dull, one-sided ache in your upper abdomen, side or back. Sometimes, back pain is felt on the side of the body as well as the back. It causes severe, ongoing pain in your flank or side. Kidney stone pain comes in waves and is very severe. Back pain can be incredibly frustrating, but the good news is: It usually gets better on its own. They may cause you to feel a pain in your back or side. If this happens, the discomfort might be in either side of your belly or low back. But there are some differences in how kidney pain feels and where it's located compared to back pain. The key thing to notice about back pain, though, is that it often flares up or lessens depending on how you move, according to Cheyenne Santiago, M.S.N., R.N., and managing editor at MCG. If that happens, you'll feel sharp pain or cramps in your back or side. “You don’t typically get bad stones on both sides at the same time.”. Identify back pain. Back pain is classified into neck pain, upper back pain, lower back pain or tailbone pain anatomically. These are mineral deposits that can grow large enough to block a ureter, a tube that connects your kidney and bladder. If you’re going to see the doctor about regular musculoskeletal back soreness, your M.D. There is no confusing a kidney stone with back pain. Back pain most often occurs when the back is overworked, strained, or frequently subjected to poor posture. “And depending on how sick you are, they may also order some blood tests to check for other signs of infection and see how well the kidneys are actually doing to clear toxins,” says Dr. Rajan. If your doctor is very concerned, they might do an ultrasound to look at the structure of your kidneys and check for stones. These experts not only breakdown how you can begin to identify your back pain, they explain the possible causes, when you should take a trip to your M.D. Back problems usually affect your lower back. With back pains, one feels the pain on simple movements of the body; it actually becomes difficult to move. Kidney Pain: Drinking a lot of fluids can trigger the pain if some part of the kidney is blocked; normally not triggered by movement.. Back Pain: Pain can be triggered by movement of the back muscles (back injury) or prolonged standing, sitting or lying with sciatica.. A 56-year-old member asked: How do I know if I have back pain, or kidney pain? But more serious or complicated conditions could require other procedures, so it’s important to see your doc to receive the proper assessment and treatment. 3. Instead you’ll want to take mental notes on the consistency of your aches. People often are surprised at how high their kidneys are. They're below your rib cage on both sides of your spinal cord. Your kidneys are two small organs shaped like beans. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It feels like pain in your flank, between your ribs and your hips on your side. If you are pregnant and experiencing a significant fever, see emergency care to get evaluated right away, adds Santiago. It's easy to mistake kidney pain for ordinary back pain. Symptoms of kidney stones can include: side and back pain… Pain due to kidney infection is indicated by … The signs and symptoms of kidney pain and back pain depend upon the underlying cause. Also called pyelonephritis, this infection could cause discomfort in one or both kidneys. while the kidney pain is associated with symptoms like fever, vomiting, nausea, swelling of body, excessive urination, blood in urine etc. Location. The kidney is located along the back wall of the abdominal cavity. Sometimes a urinary tract infection (UTI) can get out of hand as the harmful bacteria crawl their way through the bladder and up to the kidneys. Infections can get worse and lead to serious tissue damage, while odd growths and stones can impair kidney function. We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. This genetic disease causes many cysts to grow in your kidneys. Formed in your kidneys — often from concentrated urine — kidney stones are hardened deposits of salts and minerals. “If you reach around and put your hand naturally where your waist is, it’s right about there,” says Dr. Rajan. This is called the flank area. If, however, you are experiencing back pain after traumatic accident or have other concerning symptoms, head over to urgent care for immediate treatment. With your back, it might lessen when you adjust your position. Kidney pain vs back pain will show you about the symptoms of the kidney diseases. So, if you also: … you’ll want to have your primary care physician examine your kidney function. Reason being: This area bears most of our weight as we go about our daily activities, rendering it more vulnerable to injury, tightness, and muscle fatigue. Unlike back pain, you don’t want to have a “wait and see” approach with your kidneys. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders … Specializes in Pediatric Urology. To figure that out, we spoke to specialists from MCG Health: a research company that publishes evidence-based, data-driven guidelines to help patients and physicians work together to develop individualized care plans. the lumbar region). Hence, check these main points before judging if you have kidney pain or back pain. There are all sorts of nerves, joints, ligaments, and muscles that can get irritated and create problems back there; and believe it or not, certain organs can also play a part in what you might assume to be your average back soreness. “The middle of the kidney itself doesn’t have any nerves,” says Sabitha Rajan, M.D., MSc, a hospice and palliative medicine specialist and associate managing editor at MCG Health. They may use one or more tests to find out the cause of your pain. “So, whenever there’s pain in that area, it means something is causing them to stretch and hit nerves [near your back] and it’s usually something pretty serious.”. When left untreated, inflamed kidneys can lead to kidney damage, high blood pressure, and in rare cases, organ failure. Depending on the cause of the pain, you could have other symptoms too. To treat your kidney pain, your doctor first needs to find its cause. Back pain or neck pain can be a dull pain or sharp shooting pains down your arms and legs as in sciatica. Back pain is more common than kidney pain. Kidney stones. Also: if you think you injured a muscle, “you may actually be able to push right on the muscle that's causing you the pain,” says Santiago. The pain may also progress to other areas, such as the abdomen or groin. However, kidney cancer is not exactly rare either: According to the American Cancer Society, it’s among the ten most common cancers in men and women. Back Pain. The area around the affected kidney between your rib cage and spine could feel sore. How to know if you are experiencing Kidney Pain. Doctors may use blood tests, X-rays, CT, and/or MRI to diagnose kidney pain and back pain. First, they’ll ask you about your symptoms and if you've had any history of kidney problems in the past or family members with kidney disease. Acute (sudden) kidney failure may result from kidney trauma. MCG doctors suggest avoiding aggravating movements and giving heat, ice, or anti-inflammatories a try. Kidney pain can be caused by kidney stones, kidney infection, kidney cancer, and polycystic kidney disease. Pain that is related to a pulled muscle, ligament strain, or disc damage, can be anywhere up and down your back, but it tends to be around the lower spine (a.k.a. These are signs that it is probably not a kidney issue. A blood clot can form in one of the veins in your kidney. Kidney cysts. 2. You may feel spasms of pain at times too. You'll also have low back pain on one side of your body that lingers. Kidney pain has many possible causes. It usually affects people in their 60s or 70s, rarely appearing in those under the age of 50. Triggers. These organs are connected to others like your bladder and ureters, where you store and get rid of urine. What you may think is a muscle tweak may actually be a deeper, more urgent issue. This can happen in one or both kidneys and sometimes it causes pain. Kidney Pain: Unless treatment has started for the underlying condition, the pain will linger on. 1) Location of the Kidney Pain Vs Back Pain . Like back pain, kidney pain can vary from mild to severe, but “kidney pain is pretty consistent and doesn’t change regardless of [the body’s] positioning,” says Santiago. Dr. George Klauber answered. And these are the sort of agonies that need your attention stat. Kidney pain vs back pain Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between kidney pain and back pain. Why trust us? Your kidneys are situated in the back of your abdomen under your lower ribs, one on each side of your spine. © 2005 - 2020 WebMD LLC. So it's important to watch for any signs of kidney disease or damage, like pain. The earlier your doc can prescribe you a care plan, the better they can nip your condition—and your puzzling “back” pain—in the bud. Kidney pain is constant at a place sometimes, this is an indication. Pregnant women are at a greater risk for complications so if primary care isn’t available, urgent care is the best place to seek assistance. “Really anyone who has symptoms of a urinary tract infection or kidney stones should follow up with their physician to make that determination,” says Santiago. “Those can either bleed or become infected,” says Dr. Rajan, and overtime they cause the kidney to enlarge and lose their function. But how exactly do you tell the difference? They're each about the size of your fist. You may also experience numbness or tingling in your legs. If the pain in your lower back is accompanied by pain in your abdomen, then it is more likely that your pain is related to your kidneys. You may feel it in the upper half of your back, not the lower part. Many contact sports or vigorous activities like football, boxing, horseback riding, or soccer could put you at risk for a kidney injury. Unlike back discomfort, it's felt on one or both sides, usually under your rib cage. It's often constant. Your urine can't drain the way it should and builds up in your kidneys. Pain in the back has the following attributes: The Location of the DiscomfortNeck and back pain can happen anywhere on your back. But if you’re into contact sports, happen to be in an accident, or end up in any situation where you take an extremely hard blow to the flank, you could do some organ damage. When they get blocked or inflamed, you may experience some bothersome backaches. This is why vehicle donation is so important to fund the education of kidney disease. Tumors in your kidney may not cause any discomfort early on. This is called a “urinalysis.” With this test, your doctor is looking to see whether or not they see microscopic blood or smaller crystals. All rights reserved. Kidney swelling. On the other hand, back pain is very common. Kidney pain can be intense or mild, depending upon the root cause. That’s why it’s important to know when your pain is a muscle twinge that just needs rest and ibuprofen, and a kidney issue that needs your doctor’s attention ASAP. “If … Fortunately, your kidneys are guarded by your ribcage and tough back muscles, so kidney injuries aren’t super common. Often referred to as the \"Quiet Disease\" because of the lack of symptoms, most people do not discover they have kidney disease until it is very advanced. They clean out water, acids, and waste from your blood. Back pain tends to remain on the back side of the body. If it doesn’t clear up within six to 12 weeks, go see your primary care doctor who can assist you in finding better treatment. Some muscular problems in the back or other diseases can mimic kidney pain. Other symptoms that can happen with kidney pain. Here’s What Sugar Really Does to Your Brain, This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. These organs are connected to others like your, Smart Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes, Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs and Cats, Coronavirus in Context: Interviews With Experts. This is called the flank area. With kidney pain you may also have: Kidney pain has many possible causes. Usually the kidney on the left side is a bit higher due to the liver position. Back pain has the … Or maybe you observe that sitting for long hours is making your back even crankier when gentle exercise makes you feel a bit better. Kidney disease affects millions of people in the United States, and there are just a few indicators that reveal issues with kidneys. A renal mass is a noncancerous tumor or growth. General back pain, on … Sign Up to Receive Our Free Coroanvirus Newsletter, Pain under your rib cage or in your belly, Pain in your side; usually only one side, but sometimes both hurt, Sharp or severe pain that may come in waves, Pain that can spread to your groin area or belly, Is more likely to be stabbing than dull and constant, Gets worse or flares up when you do certain activities, like lifting a box or bending over, When you rest or lie down, back pain may ease up. is most likely going to perform a physical exam to figure out what’s causing the problem. Once it gets big, you might feel a dull pain in your side or back, or feel pain in the upper part of your belly. Also, many people ignore early warning signs, while catching kidney disease early can mean the difference between life and death. Solving the mystery of your back pain can sometimes be a tricky task—especially if there isn’t an obvious injury to explain it. back pain vs kidney pain. Most kidney pains will be dull. Physicians often prescribe antibiotics for UTIs, and in the case of a small kidney stone, they may just recommend drinking more water and taking pain meds until the stone passes. Good question: Often difficult to tell. Other symptoms of PKD include kidney stones, UTIs, and high blood pressure. Renal vein thrombosis. Back pain can range from a sharp burning sensation to a dull ache. Kidney pain is discomfort that comes from the area where your kidneys are. It's often described as a dull ache, you feel in your sides, back, or belly. If you have these signs, contact your doctor. But pain in these areas isn't always a sign of a kidney issue. Kidney pain is discomfort that comes from the area where your kidneys are. When it comes to differentiating between the two, you want to look at two factors: the location of the pain and the type of sensations you’re experiencing. Kidney infection. PKD is a hereditary condition where clusters of noncancerous cysts develop in the kidneys. If you have blood in your urine, or if your pain is sudden and unbearable even without signs of blood in your pee, get medical care right away. 10 Highly Effective Treatments for Lower Back Pain, The Best Way to Sleep When Your Back Hurts, Notice your pee looks bloody, dark, or cloudy, Find that your urine smells funkier than usual, Feel like you have to pee all of the time. 3. You have one on each side of your body. and what you can expect. Causes of back pain Kidney cancer. For example, you may find it super agonizing to bend over and grab your book bag when standing is just fine. A kidney infection causes a dull constant pain on the sides of your back. It can be so bad that people have compared passing a kidney stone to childbirth. Pain from the kidney usually has other symptoms associated with it. Intense, sudden, stabbing pain may be a kidney stone. The pain in the lower part of the back can be caused by pulled muscles, herniated disks, arthritis, pregnancy, or fracture of the spine. The back pain is often dull, aching, intermittent and sudden in nature whereas kidney pain is often sharp and wave like accompanied with nausea and vomiting. Polycystic kidney disease. Cleveland Clinic: “Kidney Pain,” “Kidney Pain: Care and Treatment.”Â, Mayo Clinic: “Kidney Pain,” “Kidney Stones,” “Kidney Cysts,” “Polycystic Kidney Disease,” “Back Pain,” “Hydronephrosis.”, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: “Your Kidneys & How They Work.”, Urology Care Foundation: “What Are Kidney Stones?” “What Is Kidney (Renal) Infection -- Pyelonephritis?” “Kidney Cancer,” “What Is a Renal Mass and What Is a Localized Renal Tumor?”, Stanford Health Care: “Renal vein thrombosis.”, Korey Stringer Institute: “Kidney Injury.”, Keck Medicine of USC: “10 Signs Your Back Pain Could Be a Kidney Stone.”, Mount Sinai Medical Center: “Kidney Pain.”. “If they are larger, the pain is fairly sharp, and it tends to come in waves.” In other words, the pain tends to get worse when the stone moves. Your kidneys also make hormones that help you manage your blood pressure, keep your bones strong, and make red blood cells. Kidney (renal) cancer: Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer. It’s often described as a dull ache, you feel in your sides, back, or belly. The back pain is caused mainly due to inflammation in the spine whereas kidney pain mainly occurs due to kidney stone. If your pain is a constant ache, it’s probably not a kidney stone. It's important to let your doctor know if you notice pain that you think may be coming from one or both of these organs. These tests include: Once your doctor diagnoses the cause of your kidney pain, they can decide on the best treatment plan for you. Back pain is actually far more common than kidney pain -- usually sourcing the pain in the muscles, bones, or even the nerves in the back. Urinary tract infections also cause discomfort in this organ. Benign kidney tumor or mass. Read more: Kidney Pain vs. Back Pain Article “It’s also typically one-sided,” adds Santiago. 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