Should You Get Lower Back Pain Around Your Kidney Checked
Lower back and neck pain are common complaints among millions of Americans. While the majority of these cases are due to poor posture or muscle strain, back pain is also associated with organ problems like the kidney.
So when should you visit a doctor for lower back or kidney pain? Lower back pain is a common condition thats often mistaken as kidney pain because of the location. Its better to consult a doctor if the pain persists for a few weeks to find out if the symptom is an indicator of kidney problems like kidney stones, urinary tract infection, kidney infection, renal cancer, polycystic kidney syndrome, or retroperitoneal fibrosis.
Causes Of Kidney Pain
Kidney pain has many possible causes. These organs are connected to others like your bladder and ureters, where you store and get rid of urine.
Kidney stones. Intense, sudden, stabbing pain may be a kidney stone. These are mineral deposits that can grow large enough to block a ureter, a tube that connects your kidney and bladder. If that happens, you’ll feel sharp pain or cramps in your back or side. It can also spread out to your groin. As you try to pee out the stone, you might feel waves of pain.
Kidney infection. Also called pyelonephritis, this infection could cause discomfort in one or both kidneys. You may feel pain in your back, in your side or both sides under your ribs, or in your groin. You’ll also have a fever. Urinary tract infections also cause discomfort in this organ.
Kidney swelling. This condition, called hydronephrosis, can happen if your kidneys are blocked. Your urine can’t drain the way it should and builds up in your kidneys. This can happen in one or both kidneys and sometimes it causes pain.
Kidney cysts. You may not feel a simple kidney cyst until it grows larger. 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.
Polycystic kidney disease. This genetic disease causes many cysts to grow in your kidneys. They may cause you to feel a pain in your back or side.
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.
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When To Consult A Doctor About Possible Kidney Problems
Consulting a physician helps patients know whether they have kidney problems or common low back pain. They also help determine the main cause of the pain and prescribe different treatments or pain relief options. Talk to a doctor about the possible kidney pain if:
- Theres a constant dull aching pain or sharp flank pain.
- The location of the pain changes.
- The pain spreads to the lower abdomen or the inner thighs.
- The back pain is accompanied by other symptoms like fever and chills, nausea and vomiting, cloudy or dark-colored urine, painful urination, bloody urine, and small kidney stones in the urine.
Could Your Lower Back Pain Be Kidney
Understanding what kidney pain usually feels like will help you figure out if your pain is caused by a kidney problem or a musculoskeletal problem.
Common features of kidney pain include:
You feel pain higher and deeper in your back. Your kidneys are on either side of your spine below your rib cage.
Kidney pain is usually felt on one side as most conditions that cause kidney pain only affect one kidney. Central pain or pain on both sides is more likely to be muscular.
Pain will increase when you apply pressure to the area.
Pain may spread into your groin on the same side.
You might feel a cramping sensation that comes and goes .
The kind of pain you feel depends on the condition causing it.
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How Severe Is The Pain
Pain due to kidney stones can be searing, sharp and severe. Back pain can vary according to the type and extent of the injury or irritation. It is usually of a dull and throbbing nature, but in the case of serious injury can become unbearable. The pain may get worse after movement or due to prolonged sitting or standing. This is not the case with a renal stone.
It must also be noted that unlike in the case of a muscle or nerve injury, a patient who has not undergone kidney stone treatment will experience some physiological repercussions and symptoms. A renal stone can lead to symptoms like:
- Cloudy, dark urine
- Urgent and frequent need to urinate
- Blood in urine
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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.
Type And Severity Of Pain
Muscle pain feels like a dull ache or soreness. Certain body movements can trigger or worsen muscle pain, the intensity of which can range from mild to severe and may fluctuate in response to stretching.
People with nerve pain may experience a burning or stabbing sensation that travels to other areas of the body.
Sciatica is a form of nerve pain that affects the back. People develop sciatica when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched or compressed, which causes a burning pain in the lower back that radiates through the buttocks.
Bone pain can result from vertebral fractures or an irregularly shaped spine. This type of pain comes on suddenly. Bone pain ranges from moderate to severe and usually worsens in response to movement.
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Kidney Pain Vs Back Pain: How To Tell The Difference
Do you ever feel a surge of pain in your lower back? This could happen for various reasons and can even be caused by different parts of your body. Pain that originates underneath the ribcage and towards the bottom of your back can be a sure sign that your back needs repair or, it could be a sign that you are dealing with some kidney issues. How do you tell the difference between kidney pain vs. back pain?
Kidney health specialist Dr. Gura uses the right tools and procedures to help patients determine whether their pain is coming from the back or the kidneys. Since the kidneys reside in the back of the body, it can be easy to mistake the origin of the pain. Below, youll find some tips to help you figure out where your pain is coming from.
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What Causes Kidney Pain
Kidneys drain urine to the bladder via tubes called ureters. Your bladder is emptied via the urethra. Problems in any of these areas can cause pain, and may be caused by:
- an ultrasound
If you have had kidney stones in the past, it may not always be necessary to have a computed tomography scan, which exposes you to radiation. Ask your doctor if a CT scan is necessary for you. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
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Adpkd Treatment And Home Care
There is no cure for ADPKD, but you can treat the health problems that the disease causes and possibly prevent kidney failure. You may need:
- Medicine to prevent kidney failure. Tolvaptan can slow the decline of kidney function for adults whose disease is at risk of quickly getting worse.
- Medicines to lower your blood pressure
- Antibiotics to treat urinary tract infections
- Pain medicines
If your kidneys fail, youâll need dialysis, which uses a machine to filter your blood and remove waste, like salt, extra water, and certain chemicals. You can also get on a waiting list or receive a kidney from a living donor for a kidney transplant. Ask your doctor if thatâs a good option for you.
Its important to stay as healthy as possible to protect your kidneys and keep them working as long as you can. Follow your doctors advice carefully. You can also keep up these habits to stay well:
- Eat right. Stick to a healthy, well-balanced diet thats low in fat and calories. Try to limit salt, because it can raise your blood pressure.
- Stay active.Exercise can help control your weight and blood pressure. Just avoid any contact sports where you might injure your kidneys.
- Dont smoke. If you smoke, get help from your doctor to quit. Smoking damages the blood vessels in the kidneys, and it may create more cysts.
- Drink plenty of water.Dehydration may cause you to have more cysts.
Treatment And Management Of Back Pain Vs Kidney Pain
If back pain is not chronic, it can be managed by a hot pack and a massage on the other hand, kidney pain is persistently acute and would need a visit to the doctor.
Back pain is managed by a number of therapies and pain medications. Even though surgery is an option, it is rarely considered unless absolutely necessary. Some of the back pain management involves use of heat therapy, massage therapy, cold compression therapy, use of muscle relaxants, physical therapy, exercises, Alexander Technique, acupuncture, electrotherapy etc. Patients commonly see a chiropractor, physical therapist or Osteopath.
Kidney pain is treated according to its cause. Treatment usually involves antibiotics and bed rest for long time. Kidney disorders can have serious implications and hence require immediate medical intervention. Removal of kidneys stones might require surgical methods if medications fail to give relief to patient.
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Take Pleasure In An Anti
When you eat anti-inflammatory foods routinely, several antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and also even anti-cancer representatives can build up in your blood. Over an amount of time, these powerful agents can play a substantial function in minimizing and/or removing inflammatory responses in the body.
Eating these healthy beverages regularly might help in reducing your back pain. How To Tell If Lower Back Pain Is Kidney Related
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Fever And Chills Along With Your Back Pain
This could also mean that you have a urinary tract infection.
If you have any of these symptoms, along with your back pain, you should call your doctor right away.
If your pain is unbearable, is associated with fevers or chills, or you have nausea and vomiting that is preventing you from keeping down fluids or medications, you should seek immediate medical attention, Nguyen says.
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How To Get Relief
Rest and changing environmental triggers like your desk chair may be the easiest places to start when addressing back pain, but there are additional ways to relieve pain in the long term.Chiropractic care has proven effective at reducing not only back pain, but neck pain and headaches, including spinal headaches. At Denver Upper Cervical Chiropractic, we use gentle manipulations to adjust spinal misalignment, a common cause of back pain.
Additional treatments for back pain include:
- Physical therapy: Stretching and strengthening exercises to improve your posture and core strength can help alleviate back pain.
- Lifestyle changes: This includes changes to diet, exercise, and posture. Stress and sleep problems are also common triggers for chronic back pain.
- Pain medications: Many patients turn to over-the-counter painkillers to mask back pain symptoms, but this should not be a plan for long-term relief.
- Injections: Your treatment plan or medical advice may include nerve blockers or injectable steroids for targeted back pain relief.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture has proven somewhat effective in some low back pain patients. More research is needed to demonstrate long-term efficacy.
- Massage therapy: Tension release in the back muscles through massage therapy can be a helpful way to relieve both physical and mental stress.
- Surgery: In rare cases, your healthcare provider may recommend back surgery to address severe pain. Spinal fusions and disc replacements are 2 common surgical options.
What Are Common Kidney Pain Symptoms
People with kidney pain may experience different symptoms. Some of the most common kidney pain symptoms include:
- A constant, dull ache in your back.
- Pain in your sides, under your rib cage or in your abdomen.
- Severe or sharp pain that comes in waves.
- Pain that spreads to your groin area.
- Kidney pain is often accompanied by nausea or vomiting, especially if the pain is due to kidney stones.
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Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease
This genetic disease causes numerous fluid-filled cysts to develop in the kidneys that often interfere with kidney function. The cysts also cause medical problems like infections, kidney stones, and high blood pressure if left unchecked. Some PKD patients might not experience symptoms for years until it starts causing painful symptoms.
Diagnosis and Possible Causes
ADPKD occurs because of a problem in one of the two genes of the DNA. PKD1 and PKD2 are the genes responsible for creating proteins in the kidney cells, which is why a problem in either of these genes might cause the kidney cells to form cysts.
If the primary physician suspects that their patient has a serious kidney problem, they may refer the patient to a nephrologist. The kidney specialist then asks different questions that help them determine the patients exact condition. They may also perform tests like MRI, CT scan, and DNA test to get an accurate diagnosis.
Care and Treatment
Unfortunately, there isnt a cure for ADPKD. Patients may only treat the health problems associated with the disease to prevent kidney failure. Depending on the complication being treated, doctors might prescribe pain medicines and antibiotics.
Why Wait Until Your Kidneys Are Diseased
While the study was conducted on people with kidney disease, we could safely extrapolate the recommendations to those who want to avoid kidney disease and achieve optimal kidney function now, especially as we age.
In fact, additional research points to the actuality of physiological changes in the kidneys as we age. The research notes that a progressive reduction of the glomerular filtration rate and renal blood flow are observed in conjunction with aging. The reason for these phenomena is a decrease in the plasma flow in the glomerulus, a bundle of capillaries that partially form the renal corpuscle.2
In addition, the aging kidneys experience other structural changes, such as a loss of renal mass, and decreased responsiveness to stimuli that constrict or dilate blood vessels. The study concludes with a notable summation:
age-related changes in cardiovascular hemodynamics, such as reduced cardiac output and systemic hypertension, are likely to play a role in reducing renal perfusion and filtration. Finally, it is hypothesized that increases in cellular oxidative stress that accompany aging result in endothelial cell dysfunction and changes in vasoactive mediators resulting in increased atherosclerosis, hypertension and glomerulosclerosis.2
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Treatment For Flank Pain From Inflammation
For flank pain from inflammation, such as an infection and arthritis, the treatment will depend on the specific condition.
Kidney infections may require hospitalization. A doctor will prescribe antibiotics if you have a kidney infection. They may give these antibiotics to you intravenously .
Physical therapy and exercise programs can often treat pain from arthritis in the spine. Your doctor may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication, which will help reduce inflammation and discomfort.
In rare cases, surgery may be needed to correct a spinal problem thats causing flank pain.
Feeling Tired Or Sluggish During The Day
Everyone has a day when they feel tired maybe you didnt get enough sleep, or ate the wrong foods, or some other temporary factors are at play. But sometimes, fatigue is caused by lack of a hormone called erythropoietin, or EPO. The main function of EPO is to stimulate the production of red blood cells, and red blood cells carry energizing oxygen to cells throughout your body.
Stressed kidneys do not produce enough EPO, thereby reducing the number of red blood cells and making you feel weak and tired out.
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What Should I Do If My Kidneys Hurt
If you have kidney pain that doesnt go away, the first thing you should do is call your healthcare provider to schedule an appointment or go to the emergency room if you have symptoms such as uncontrolled pain, severe nausea or vomiting, fevers or chills, or an inability to pee. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to ease discomfort:
- Stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water will help flush bacteria from your urinary tracts. Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol.
- Use heat. Place a heating pad on your back, abdomen or side to help reduce kidney pain.
- Take pain relievers. To ease fever or discomfort, take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen .