Getting A Medical Diagnosis
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.
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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Does Kidney Pain Feel Like A Pulled Muscle
As well we know that early treatment is important for any kidney problem before it becomes advanced and more difficult to treat. Kidney pain can be one of common symptoms when something goes awry with your kidneys. Unfortunately its not always easy to identify. Even sometime it may be mistakenly for back pain with minor underlying cause. Does it feel like a pulled muscle? How do we describe it?
The Kidneys Are A Pair Of Bean
The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs that form a part of the excretory system. The kidneys are responsible for purifying the blood of various wastes and toxins which are then thrown out of the body along with the urine. The kidneys also regulate various metabolic activities that are vital for our existence. These are located on either side of the lower back, just below the rib cage which means that if anything is wrong with your kidneys, the pain is likely to radiate to your lower back. This is the reason why a lot of people mistake kidney pain for back pain and viceversa. Reports given by the best hospital in India have shown that a lot of patients who come to the hospital complaining of back pain have been found to be suffering from kidney stones which are the most common cause of kidney pain.
What exactly are kidney stones?
Kidney stones, also known as renal calculi,are solid deposits or clumps formed by the accumulation of dissolved minerals like calcium oxalate and struvite in the inner lining of the kidneys. The size of these stones vary and these can be as large as a golf ball. Smaller stones usually go unnoticed and pass out of the body along with the urine whereas larger stones can get stuck in the urinary tract and need to be removed surgically. Treatment for kidney stones is offered at all the leading urology hospitals in Mumbai.
There are certain risk factors that can increase your vulnerability to developing kidney stones. These include:
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What Does Kidney Pain Feel Like
Your kidneys are fist-sized organs shaped like beans that are located at the back of the middle of your trunk, in the area called your flank. They are under the lower part of your ribcage on the right and left sides of your backbone.
Their main job is to filter waste out of your blood and produce urine to remove that waste along with extra fluid from your body.
When your kidney hurts, it usually means theres something wrong with it. Its important to determine whether your pain is coming from your kidney and or from somewhere else so that you receive the right treatment.
Because there are muscles, bones, and other organs around your kidney, its sometimes hard to tell if its your kidney or something else causing your pain. However, the type and location of the pain and other symptoms you are having can help point to your kidney as the source of your pain.
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.
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What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Kidney And Back Pain
The most important first steps in helping make the diagnosis of back or kidney pain is for the health care provider to talk to the patient, take a history of the illness and examine the patient. Most often, this can help determine the cause of the back pain and direct what tests might be done to confirm the diagnosis.
If concern is that the kidney is the cause of the pain, then a urinalysis or urine sample is most helpful and can help guide further testing. If infection is a concern, urine and blood cultures may be helpful. Most often, patients begin antibiotics before culture results come back, but the results may allow a more specific antibiotic to be chosen.
If a kidney stone is a concern, the provider may choose to treat the patient based on the history, physical exam, and evidence of blood in the urine, especially if the patient has had kidney stones in the past. For patients with their first stone, imaging the kidneys may be appropriate. This can be done with ultrasound or CT scan.
Regardless of the cause of the kidney pain, the provider may choose to evaluate kidney function. Some blood tests include BUN , creatinine, and GFR .
If the back pain is thought to be due to bones, muscles, nerves, or other structures of the back, the health care provider may or may not need to image the back with plain X-rays, CT, or MRI scanning. Other tests depend upon the symptoms and potential underlying cause.
Kidney Pain Vs Back Pain
It’s easy to confuse kidney pain for just back pain. How do you know the difference?
Location. It could be your kidney and not your back if you feel it higher on your back. Back problems usually affect your lower back.
Kidney pain is felt higher and deeper in your body than back pain. You may feel it in the upper half of your back, not the lower part. Unlike back discomfort, it’s felt on one or both sides, usually under your rib cage.
It’s often constant. It probably won’t go away when you shift your body. With your back, it might lessen when you adjust your position.
Signs that it’s your back
- Shoots down one leg
- 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
- Might also be muscle aches
Other symptoms to watch for
Depending on the cause of the pain, you could have other symptoms too. If you have these signs, contact your doctor. You could have a serious kidney problem:
Cleveland Clinic: Ã¢â¬ÅKidney Pain,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ Ã¢â¬ÅKidney Pain: Care and Treatment.Ã¢â¬ï¿½Ã
Mayo Clinic: Ã¢â¬ÅKidney Pain,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ Ã¢â¬ÅKidney Stones,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ Ã¢â¬ÅKidney Cysts,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ Ã¢â¬ÅPolycystic Kidney Disease,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ Ã¢â¬ÅBack Pain,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ Ã¢â¬ÅHydronephrosis.Ã¢â¬ï¿½
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Ã¢â¬ÅYour Kidneys & How They Work.Ã¢â¬ï¿½
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Difference Between Kidney Pain And Back Pain
Back pain is signified by pain experienced anywhere in the lower back or buttocks. Kidney pain, on the other hand, is also experienced in the back, but it usually occurs in the portion between the ribs and hips called the flank.
The severity of back pain changes throughout the day. Kidney pain is usually constant, displaying a pain that is sharp in nature or sometimes dull. The point is that kidney pain does not fluctuate or get better until the problem in the kidney is treated.
The location of back pain also varies. It may extend to the neck, upper back, or remain in the lower back, depending on the site of injury. Varying degrees of pain are also used to describe back pain, with acute being back pain that exists for four weeks, sub-acute being four to twelve weeks, and chronic lasting more than 12 weeks.
Kidney pain is typically classified as being severe or minor, as the different causes can lead to a varying severity of pain. Kidney stones, for example, will produce a severe flank pain possibly associated with nausea and vomiting.
Back pain is also known to spread or radiate to other parts of the body, such as the back of the thigh, buttock, calf, or foot. Kidney pain may spread to the lower abdomen and inner thigh.
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.
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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.
Kidney Pain & Back Pain Treatment
Its important to identify and differentiate between kidney pain and back pain as their treatments differ significantly, owing to their completely different causes. Use this article as a guide to determine if you are dealing with a back or kidney pain.
Back pain can be treated with pain medications, physical therapy or, as a last option, surgery. Kidney pain treatment can only start once the underlying condition has been identified by a medical professional and it will vary depending on the condition. If you suspect your pain is kidney related, make sure to contact your doctor as soon as possible.
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What Type Of Pain Is It
Pain due to renal stones is really sharp whereas that due to a muscle ache or a back spasm is a dull, throbbing one. In case of an injured or irritated nerve, the pain is a sharp, searing feeling running down the back and may travel down to your hips and legs. It may get worse with movement which is not the case with kidney stones. If you dont undergo treatment for kidney stones, the pain may fluctuate according to the location of the stone until it is passed.
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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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.
Whats The Best Treatment For Kidney Pain And Lower Back Pain
Kidney pain treatment occurs once the source for its occurrence has been located by your GP. Kidney stones will be aided with the use of pain medication along with increased amounts of water ingestion to accelerate the kidney stone. Surgery may be required in cases of particularly large kidney stones. In cases of infection, antibiotics are used to help remove the bacterial infection.
Lower back pain treatment differs significantly from kidney pain treatment, due to the many different causes. Pain in the back is treated using pain relieving medications along with physiotherapy. These can include manual therapy such as mobilisation, manipulation and massage, exercises to stretch and strengthen, acupuncture and Pilates. If after conservative physiotherapy treatment, pain levels and returning back to normal movement doesnt improve significantly after a course of 6-8 weeks, then referral back to your GP to request further investigation by a spinal specialist maybe indicated.
If you are unsure on the nature of your back pain and want further information, advice or treatment, dont hesitate to book in with one of our Physiotherapists today at one of the many clinics across Dorset:
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