How Can You Tell The Difference Between Kidney And Back Pain
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 youre experiencing.
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 . 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. If theres a nerve issue, the pain may also radiate down to your butt or to one of your legs or feet, as well.
Kidney pain, on the other hand, manifests around the middle of your back and to either side of the spine. This is called the flank area. If you reach around and put your hand naturally where your waist is, its right about there, says Dr. Rajan.
Type of pain
Back pain can range from a sharp burning sensation to a dull ache. You may also experience numbness or tingling in your legs. 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.
Kidney pain is also often accompanied by other symptoms. So, if you also:
- Notice your pee looks bloody, dark, or cloudy
- Find that your urine smells funkier than usual
- Have pain when urinating
youll want to have your primary care physician examine your kidney function.
Conditions That Improve Or Worsen Back Pain
Another way that you can start to tell the difference between back pain and kidney pain is to figure out what solutions relieve your pain. When it comes to chronic back pain, especially nervous system pain, it can be incredibly difficult to find relief. Oftentimes, chronic nerve pain requires long-term alternative treatments, such as physical therapy, massages, and even acupuncture, to provide relief. Back pain also tends to feel worse when youre moving around.
What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Kidney Diseases
The doctor usually will do a history and physical examination. Initial tests usually consist of a complete blood count , kidney function , and urine test, and when appropriate, a pregnancy test. A lacerated kidney may be suspected if the person has experienced a traumatic injury to the lower back.
If kidney stones are suspected, a CT exam or renal ultrasound is done; an abdominal X-ray may be ordered but has been replaced in general by ultrasound and CT. As patients with kidney stones often need repeat X-ray studies or have repeat episodes of kidney stones, ultrasound with its lack of radiation is a good study to consider. Abdominal/pelvic CTs with contrast or magnetic resonance imaging and aortogram may be ordered to further define or differentiate underlying kidney and nonrenal causes of flank pain. Such studies are routinely performed if a kidney is suspected to be damaged by a traumatic event .
Recommended Reading: Is Pomegranate Juice Good For Your Kidneys
Who Is At Risk Of A Kidney Infection
Certain medical conditions may increase your chances of having a kidney infection. These include:
- Conditions that may weaken the bodys immunity, such as diabetes and HIV.
- Frequent bladder or other urinary tract infections . A UTI in a pregnant female is a particularly serious condition and should be immediately brought to medical attention.
- Structural problems in the kidney that may alter the flow of urine, such as kidney stones, congenital structural problems of the urinary tract, and tumors present inside or outside the urinary tract.
- Females are at greater risk of a UTI since they have a shorter urethra compared to males.
Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
A person with kidney stones experiences sudden and painful flank pain. The pain usually comes in waves and radiates to the groin. The pain continues until the stone leaves the body. If the stone is small enough, it will leave when a person urinates. Larger stones require surgical removal. Other symptoms of kidney stones include:
- Pain when Urinating
If experiencing potential kidney stones, a trip to the doctor to ensure the stones can pass through the urinary tract is necessary.
Recommended Reading: Watermelon Good For Kidneys
Types Of Back Pain And Kidney Pain
Back pain is classified into neck pain, upper back pain, lower back pain or tailbone pain anatomically. It can be acute if it lasts for less than 4 weeks, sub acute if lasting for 4 to 12 weeks and chronic if present for more than 12 weeks.
Kidney pain is usually very severe and if caused due to kidney stones are known as colic which indicates its wave like occurrence as opposed to steady pain. Pain due to kidney infection is indicated by pain in flank area. All types of kidney pain are usually accompanied with fever, nausea and vomiting.
Back Pain And Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease
Back pain is a complaint of some people with Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease. Understanding the exact causes of this symptom is very important, in order to seek appropriate medical solution. The below are the various kidney diseases that may result in symptom of pain in the back.
1. Kidney infection, or Pyelonephritis
It is a type of kidney infection, which often occurs due to bacteria which have spread from the bladder. Symptoms experienced in this condition include side, groin, and back pain; frequent urination with urgency; burning while urination; nausea and vomiting; fever; and blood in urine.
2. Polycystic kidney disease
This is an inherited disease wherein there is massive enlargement of the kidneys which happens over many years. If the cysts bleeds then it will cause flank pain. An individual suffering from PKD has symptoms like abdominal pain or tenderness, hematuria, frequent urination at night, flank pain, joint pain, hypertension, nail abnormalities, painful menstruation, etc.
3. Kidney stones
If you are suffering from back pain with Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease, then consult your doctor and get an exact diagnosis done, to treat the cause of the discomfort. With timely treatment, the above kidney disorders can be well managed and you can avoid Kidney Failure.
Don’t Miss: What Laxative Is Safe For Kidneys
Where Does Your Back Hurt If You Have A Kidney Infection
Kidney infection or pyelonephritis is a medical condition in which one or both kidneys get infected. A person has two kidneys that are located under the rib cage on each side of the spine. The pain of kidney infection may be felt on the sides and the back. Unlike the classical back pain due to muscle or bone involvement, which typically affects the lower back, kidney pain is felt higher up and at a greater depth. The pain is most commonly felt under the ribs and depending on the involvement of one or both the kidneys, it may be felt on one side or both sides of the body. Kidney pain may also be felt in areas such as the belly or groin. Unlike back pain, the pain of kidney infection may be associated with other symptoms such as:
- Fever which is generally high grade
- Pain, burning, or difficulty in passing urine
- Change in the smell or appearance of the urine, such as cloudy or blood-tinged urine
Kidney infection is generally a serious medical condition. Thus, you must seek urgent medical care if you think you have a kidney infection.;
Kidney Pain Vs Back Pain: How To Differentiate
According to various data banks, the overall prevalence of low back pain was found to be 42% in India. Kidney problems too result in back pain which may be a little different from musculoskeletal back pain. In todays write up we will find out how to differentiate between the two.
Each person has got a pair of kidneys located posteriorly on the lower side of the abdomen. The kidney purifies blood for nutrients and discharges urine.
How to differentiate kidney pain from general backache:
Musculoskeletal back pain is usually felt around the lumbar region, it may pain while muscles are touched. However musculoskeletal back pain can be felt all through the back as well.
Musculoskeletal back pain due to disc or nerve impingement may radiate to buttocks, back of the thigh, laterally to leg and ankles too.
The musculoskeletal back pain is mostly coming and going, peaking after high-intensity work and better with rest. Pain here too is dull aching.
The musculoskeletal back pain is not very severe.
Recommended Reading: Can Seltzer Water Cause Kidney Stones
What Are Symptoms Of Kidney Pain
Symptoms of kidney pain occur in the area of the kidneys, on the sides or middle to upper back, on one or both sides, and may be described as:;
- A constant, dull ache in the sides, back, or belly
- Pain in the side
- Pain may come in waves
- Pain may radiate to the belly or groin area
Depending on the cause of the kidney pain, symptoms that may accompany it include:;
Potential Causes Of Pain In Lower Back Kidney Area
When experiencing back pain, musculoskeletal problems are usually the culprit. Occasionally, however, pain in the lower back kidney area is a symptom of kidney-related troubles. If you experience pain in your lower back as well as pain radiating to your side and your groin, your kidneys are a likely culprit. If urinary problems or a fever accompany the pain, a kidney problem is even more likely. Heres everything you need to know about pain in the kidney area .
You May Like: Can Pepsi Cause Kidney Stones
When Should Call A Doctor For Kidney Pain
Individuals should not postpone seeing a doctor about kidney pain or flank pain. Although flank pain is often seen in underlying problems with the kidney, there are many other diseases that can mimic kidney pain, and a physician can help with an accurate diagnosis of underlying problems that result in kidney or flank pain. Any acute onset of intense kidney or flank pain should be evaluated immediately.
Warning signs that kidney disease is present and may result in kidney pain or flank pain are the following:
- High blood pressure
- Swelling of the hands and feet and/or puffiness around the eyes
- Testing that shows an abnormal creatinine, blood urea nitrogen , or glomerular filtration rate less than 60
In addition, if an individual has diabetes or any of the congenital problems that lead to kidney dysfunction, the individual should be routinely checked for the onset of kidney dysfunction or kidney failure by their physician.
The Back Pain Can Be Symptoms Of Stage 3a Moderate Chronic Kidney Disease
We have heard so many stories of people losing their life to Chronic Kidney Disease. In most cases, you will find that they did not know about the failure until the very end. Here, hence you will find the different aspects of Stage 3A Moderate Chronic Kidney Disease. One must have knowledge of different stages and this will only help you to tackle the problem safely.
Also Check: Is Pineapple Good For Kidney Stones
Evaluation And Treatment Of Flank Pain
After noting symptoms, the doctor examines the person and usually does a urinalysis to check for red blood cells or excess white blood cells. White blood cells in the urine suggest an infection. If an infection is suspected, a urine culture is usually done. A person with very severe, cramping pain and blood in the urine is very likely to have a kidney stone. A person with milder, steady pain, tenderness when the doctor taps over one kidney, fever, and excess white blood cells in the urine is likely to have a kidney infection.
If a kidney stone is suspected, the doctor often does computed tomography or ultrasonography to determine whether a stone is the cause, the size and location of the stone, and whether it significantly blocks urine flow. An intravenous contrast agent is not used for the CT scan. If the doctor is not sure of the cause of pain, often CT that uses an intravenous contrast agent or another imaging test is done.
The underlying disorder is treated. Mild pain can be relieved by taking acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . Pain from kidney stones may be severe and may require use of intravenous or oral opioids.
Which Lifestyle Factors Contribute To Lower Back Pain
There are three major lifestyle factors that may affect your chances of developing lower back pain:
- Multiple studies have established a link between smoking and lower back pain. Smoking raises inflammation inside the body and hinders the body from healing itself.
- Obesity is also associated with several types of chronic pain, including lower back pain. In people with high body mass index , the stress on the spine increases, contributing to even more wear and tear.
- Your level of physical activity can also play a role in your lower back health. While a sedentary lifestyle could increase your risk of developing lower back pain, so can excessive or strenuous physical activity. Check with your doctor if you are unsure about your ideal level of physical activity.
Don’t Miss: How Much Does A Human Kidney Weigh
Conditions That Improve Or Worsen Kidney Pain
Moving around will not affect the pain. It likely wont provide relief, but it will not worsen the symptoms either. In most cases, nothing you do will get rid of the pain until your doctor or specialist properly treats your kidneys.
Kidney pain is also accompanied by several other symptoms, including nausea, feverishness, vomiting, dark urine, frequent need to urinate, or pain while urinating.
Food Tastes Like Metal
Why this happens:
A build-up of wastes in the blood can make food taste different and cause bad breath. You may also notice that you stop liking to eat meat, or that you are losing weight because you just don’t feel like eating.
What patients said:
Foul taste in your mouth. Almost like you’re drinking iron.
I don’t have the appetite I had before I started dialysis, I must have lost about 10 pounds.
Recommended Reading: Celery Juice Kidney
Signs And Symptoms Of Kidney Infection
Symptoms can also vary by age. For instance, very young children may only have a high fever, while senior adults may not even show any of the typical signs. Instead, they may experience cognitive problems such as difficulty speaking and confused thinking.
Getting A Medical Diagnosis
Also Check: Is Watermelon Good For Your Kidneys
There’s Blood In Your Urine
Hematuria ;is enough to send anyone to a trip to the doctor, where you could be diagnosed with a variety of things including a kidney stone, kidney infection, cystic kidney disease, a tumor, or a kidney injury.
But blood in your urine isn’t always a sign of a major kidney issue. There are also more benign causes of hematuria, including extreme exercise or the commonly misdiagnosed excessive consumption of beets, labeled as “beeturia.”
Difference Between Back Pain And Kidney Pain
The kidneys are organs that sit on both sides of the body, right below the rib cage. They rest against the back muscles, which can make it difficult to tell whether youre experiencing kidney pain or back pain. However, you can distinguish one from the other by looking at where the pain is located, how severe the pain is, and what the accompanying signs are.;
So what is the difference between back pain and kidney pain? Kidney pain often affects a higher area of the back compared to back problems which tend to occur on the lumbar spine. If your kidney has a problem, the pain wont go away until it is resolved. On the other hand, back pain can lessen when you adjust the position of your body or if you rest for a couple of days.;
Read Also: Is Cranberry Juice Good For Your Liver And Kidneys