How To Tell The Difference Between Kidney Pain And Back Pain
First, it helps to have a more specific idea of where the kidneys are located. They are underneath the ribcage on either side of the spine. Because of this, many people mistake kidney pain as back pain .
Back pain is typically found in the lower back, while trouble with the kidneys results in a pain that is deeper and located higher on the back. The discomfort from kidney problems may also migrate to other regions such as the abdomen or groin.
What Causes A Kidney Infection
The commonest cause of kidney infection is the bacteria called E coli . The mode of infection is ascending of the germ from the anogenital area.
The urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters , urinary bladder, and the urethra . These bacteria can enter the urinary tract via the urethra. The infection can occur during sexual intercourse or because of poor hygiene habits after bowel movements. On entering the urethra, the bacteria can migrate upwards to infect the bladder and the kidneys . Although pyelonephritis is rarer than cystitis, it is a serious condition and needs prompt medical management. Kidney infections can even occur in the absence of a bladder infection. This may be seen in conditions, such as kidney stones , and with weak immunity, such as diabetes and HIV.
How To Relieve Kidney Pain
This article was medically reviewed by Victor Catania, MD. Dr. Catania is a board certified Family Medicine Physician in Pennsylvania. He received his MD from the Medical University of the Americas in 2012 and completed his residency in Family Medicine at the Robert Packer Hospital. He is a member of the American Board of Family Medicine.There are 21 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 20 testimonials and 85% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 269,094 times.
Research suggests that if you experience pain in your back between your ribs and your buttocks, or even down your sides into your groin area, you may be having kidney pain.XResearch source Although back pain is not always caused by your kidneys, you should talk to your doctor to make sure you don’t have any serious medical conditions. Experts note that treating your kidney pain will depend on its cause, and your doctor can make the best recommendations for your situation.XResearch source
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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.
What Is A Kidney Infection
Kidney infections are technically a type of UTI, since kidneys are part of your upper urinary tract, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . These infections are typically caused by bacteria called Escherichia coli that is usually found in the large intestine but can wreak havoc when it finds itself in the urinary tract.
Kidney infections are one of the most common urologic conditions that we see in general urology practice, Fara Bellows, M.D., a urologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells SELF. Still, kidney infections are no joke.
This is a serious organ infection, and people need to take care of it, urologist David Kaufman, M.D., of New Yorks Central Park Urology, tells SELF. Bladder infections are really uncomfortable, but kidney infections can be deadly.
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Raleigh Adult Medicine: Compassionate Internal Medicine Doctors In Raleigh Nc
Its sometimes difficult to tell the difference between back pain and kidney pain. Often, there are subtle cues that can be easy to overlook. Thats why we want to help you alleviate your pain, regardless of whether the source is your kidneys or another condition.
Contact us for an appointment today.
For more than 20 years, Raleigh Adult Medicine has served as the Triangle areas premier internal medicine provider. We tailor our treatments to provide the finest personalized health care available for each stage of your adult life. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
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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Not All Kidney Pain Is Treatable With At
While these solutions may help relieve, or in some cases eliminate, mild kidney pain, they will not stop infections from spreading. When left untreated, even the occasional UTI can turn into something more severe, which is why its always in your best interest to contact your urologist when you are experiencing any type of pain in your kidneys.
Based on your symptoms, an in-office visit may not be required. Talk to your urologist and ask questions about the type of pain you are experiencing. They will be able to tell you if at-home remedies are possible, or if you need to schedule an appointment.
As always, feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. And dont forget to download our Nutrition & Lifestyle Guide before you go for more health and wellness tips from our urological experts!
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.
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Back Pan Vs Kidney Pain: How To Tell The Difference
Theres usually no easy way to differentiate between back pain and kidney pain, especially for the constant ache of a kidney stone thats not demanding to be passed. Passing a kidney stone is a different story since it hurts so badly, and kidney infections provide clues in the form of other symptoms.
Unsurprisingly, your best bet is to see a doctor for a formal diagnosis. Be prepared for a physical exam, providing your family and medical history and undergoing tests. The tests can include urine analysis or culture as well as a plain abdominal X-ray, CT scan or MRI.
There is no cure or quick fix for getting rid of kidney stone pain, as people who have experienced the excruciating pain know. Dr. Charney said. The only solution is to have a physician prescribe pain medications and sometimes fluids while just giving yourself time to pass the stone. However, there are antibiotics for kidney infections as well as home remedies. The home remedies include using heat to the area where you have discomfort, keeping yourself hydrated and taking over the counter pain meds when needed.
Overall, the best advice to keep kidneys healthy is to exercise, keep hydrated especially in warm weather or when exercising, maintain a healthy weight, and quit smoking. And the best part? That advice works for back pain as well.
Early Diagnosis Is Important
The underlying cause of kidney pain plays a key role to determine the treatment plan. And if the pain does link to a problem in the kidney, early treatment is necessary before the problem becomes advanced. Advanced kidney problem is more difficult to treat. Thats why, its important to diagnose the cause clearly as well as take the appropriate treatment as early as possible.
Generally, its recommended to see doctor promptly if you have some of the following symptoms:
Several tests to help diagnose pain in the kidney area include urine tests, blood test, or sometime imaging tests .
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How To Distinguish Back Pain From Kidney Pain
As back pain is a common experience for many people, its easy to think that its just another ordinary ache that will go away on its own. However, your kidneys may be the organs that are actually causing you pain. It can be tricky to distinguish what exactly is causing your discomfort because of how close the pain areas are. Heres a quick guide to help you figure out if youre experiencing kidney pain or back pain:
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.
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When To See A Gp
See a GP if you feel feverish and have pain that will not go away in your tummy, lower back or genitals.
You should also see a GP if you have symptoms of a UTI that have not improved after a few days, or if you have blood in your pee.
Contact a GP immediately if you think your child may have a kidney infection.
If you cannot get a GP appointment and need urgent medical attention, go to your nearest urgent care centre .
If you do not have a local UCC, go to your nearest A& E.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- How will this disease make me feel?
- Do I need any more tests?
- Do I need to see a specialist?
- What are my treatment options?
- Do the treatments have side effects?
- What do you expect for my case?
- What can I do to keep my kidneys working?
- If I have children, will they get the disease?
- Do my children need to get a genetic test?
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Kidney Pain Vs Back Pain Difference Between Back Pain And Kidney Pain
Life may hit you with an ailment without any warning and might take you by surprise. You may often misjudge and misinterpret the symptoms you might have and panic over the same. Such situations might make you struggle with everyday activities by giving you unnecessary anxiety. Thus, it is always recommended to carefully assess yourself and arm yourself with the best knowledge about your symptoms to avoid unnecessary stress. Often, people confuse something insignificant with a major life-threatening illness. One such source of dilemma is the confusion between back pain due to muscle spasms and back pain due to kidney stones. To help clarify it, we have listed down the key differences between the two categorically so that you may never confuse them again.
Simple back pain and kidney stones induced pain are easy to confuse, as the kidneys are located in the lower back and thus any problem in them may cause a sharp pain in that area. The key differentiating factors between the two kinds of pain are the type, the location, the way the pain radiates and the severity of the pain. These factors will help you correctly deduce if its just a back spasm or stones or infection in the kidneys.
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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.
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When Should I See My Doctor About Kidney Pain
You should see your doctor immediately if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Worsening, dull pain in one side of your back or flank
- Body aches, fatigue, fever
- Recent urinary tract infection
If you suddenly experience severe kidney pain, with or without blood in your urine, you should seek emergency medical care. Sudden, severe pain can often be a sign of a blood clot or hemorrhage, and you should be evaluated immediately.
Dr. Rondon says if you notice symptoms like a change in your urines color, a fever, or if your pain doesnt improve, seek a doctor. For emergency situations, you should go to the emergency department. For other situations, contact your primary care physician for a referral to a nephrologist or urologist.
For more information on kidney pain, talk to your doctor or visit the UPMC kidney disease webpage. Do you have flank pain? Check out our article on the 3 Common Causes of Flank Pain to learn more.
American Kidney Fund, Kidney Pain
Anton J. Bueschen, Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations, 3rd Edition, Flank Pain
National Kidney Foundation, 3 Early Signs of Kidney Disease
National Kidney Foundation, How Your Kidneys Work
Kidney And Flank Pain Causes
A number of different infections or injuries can cause kidney or flank pain. The most common causes include:
- Kidney stones: Masses made up of crystals that form in your urine and build up in your kidneys that can cause severe pain, especially during urination. They can be passed manually or, in more serious cases, removed surgically.
- Pyelonephritis An infection caused by bacteria traveling up from the bladder or from the blood into the kidneys.
- Polycystic kidney disease : A genetic disease in which normal kidney tissue is replaced by cysts, PKD can cause the kidney to stop working.
- Kidney infarction: A rare condition in which kidney blood flow is disrupted. This can lead to acute kidney injury, decreased kidney function, kidney disease, and death.
- Hemorrhage of the kidney: A bleed in the kidney, possible from multiple causes.
- Kidney canceror tumor: Benign or cancerous masses in the kidney. Kidney cancer is found most often in older adults, with more men affected than women.
- Renal vein thrombosis: A clot that develops in the vein that drains blood from the kidneys.
In addition to kidney problems, upper back and side pain also can be caused by physical injury, arthritis, or gallbladder or gastrointestinal diseases. Its important to know when to seek care.
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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