How Kidney Issues Can Cause Back Pain
Our compassionate staff at Osteoporosis and Rheumatology Center of Tampa Bay in Tampa, Florida is led by Jeffrey Miller, MD, a rheumatology and internal medicine specialist with years of experience in treating different types of pain. While you might think the pain youre feeling in your back means that you may have hurt your back, its possible that it could be your kidneys.
Pain In The Left Side Under Ribs
A pain in the left side of the body under your ribs may cause you panic because of the possibility that it is heart-related pain. While it is true that left sided rib cage pain could be a sign of angina or another serious cardiac issue, there are other reasons for such pain.
Your heart is located under your ribs, slightly to the left of your middle chest. If heart-related issues cause chest pain, this will feel like tight squeezing, pressure, or chest tightness under the left rib cage. Usually, the pain will spread to your left arm, jaw, and neck.
However, your left lung, spleen, and left kidney are also protected by the left rib cage. Any condition affecting these organs will result in mild to severe aches and pains under your left ribs.
Of course, blunt trauma to your left ribs or pulling a muscle will result in localized pain in the left side. You might also notice that your ribs are tender or sore to touch.
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:
- Body aches
Also, if you recently had a urinary tract infection , call your doctor. 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.
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Prevention Of Kidney Infections
Kidney infections are the result of bladder infections migrating to one or both kidneys. Here are some methods to reduce your risk of UTIs and kidney infections:
- Maintain personal hygiene habits such as washing your genitals and wiping front to back.
- Individuals with indwelling bladder catheters should remember to have their catheters changed regularly to avoid irritation and infection. Additionally, make sure to clean and monitor the area surrounding where the catheter enters the urethra.
- Urinate when you need to. Dont hold it, and try to empty your bladder completely.
- Urinate soon after sex, and make sure to practice safe sex in general.
- Diaphragms, unlubricated condoms, and spermicidal lubes can potentially contribute to infection. Consider switching to different birth control methods if recurring infections are an issue.
If you suffer any symptoms of a urinary tract or kidney infection, talk to your doctor immediately. The faster you act, the more effective the treatment will be. If you experience any of these symptoms, call or book online with PlushCare to set up a phone or video appointment with an experienced doctor today.
When To See A Gp
See a GP if you feel feverish and you have pain in your tummy, lower back or genitals that will not go away.
Contact a GP immediately if you think your child may have a kidney infection.
Kidney infections require prompt treatment with antibiotics.
Page last reviewed: 06 January 2021 Next review due: 06 January 2024
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What Is A Kidney Infection
A kidney infection, medically known as pyelonephritis, is a common type of urinary tract infection , caused when bacteria have entered the bodys urinary tract and traveled from the bladder into one or both kidneys. Since a kidney infection commonly develops from an untreated bladder infection, the two share the same signs and symptoms.
Common urinary tract infection signs and symptoms include:
- Bad smelling urine
How To Manage The Discomfort
Now that you know the answer to your question, What does a kidney infection feel like? you may also want to know how to manage the pain and discomfort.
Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. Your doctor will ask for urine tests to identify the type of bacteria present in your urine. This helps them select the most suitable drugs for you. The signs and symptoms of an infection will take a few days to ease a bit, but you may have to take antibiotics for a week or longer. Be sure to complete the course of antibiotics even if you start to feel better after a few days. In serious cases, you will have to pay a visit to the hospital. Your doctor will give you antibiotics intravenously to treat your infection.
Lifetime and Home Remedies
You can also take some homecare measures to relieve pain and discomfort. For instance:
- Apply heat on your back, abdomen, or side to reduce pain and pressure.
- Take painkillers to reduce pain and fever. Take acetaminophen and avoid aspirin.
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids to help eliminate bacteria from your urinary tract. Do not drink alcohol or coffee though.
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What Can You Expect When You See Your Doctor About Kidney Pain
If youre going to see the doctor about regular musculoskeletal back soreness, your M.D. is most likely going to perform a physical exam to figure out whats causing the problem. And if they think its a more serious issue, they may order an ultrasound or some other type of imaging.
A kidney evaluation may involve more testing, however.
First, theyll ask you about your symptoms and if you’ve had any history of kidney problems in the past or family members with kidney disease. Then they will palpate the area over your kidneys and check your blood pressure and your temperature.
After that, theyll ask you to pee in a cup. This is called a urinalysis. With this test, your doctor is looking to see whether or not they see microscopic blood or smaller crystals. 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.
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. But more serious or complicated conditions could require other procedures, so its important to see your doc to receive the proper assessment and treatment.
Visit The Spine & Rehab Group For Spinal Pain
If youre experiencing severe symptoms of back pain, its best to consult with a doctor immediately.
With over 15 years of experience, our doctors at the Spine & Rehab Group can help diagnose and alleviate your spinal pain with non-surgical but effective treatment plans. For a healthy spine, book an appointment online with any of our NY and NJ locations today.
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When To See Your Doctor
Kidney pain is almost always a sign that something is wrong with your kidney. You should see your doctor as soon as possible to determine whats causing your pain.
If the condition that has caused kidney pain isnt treated promptly and appropriately, your kidneys can stop working, which is called kidney failure.
Its especially important to see your doctor right away if your pain is severe and started suddenly because this is often caused by a serious problem such as renal vein thrombosis or bleeding into your kidney that needs emergency treatment.
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.
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Where Does Your Back Hurt With A Uti
A back pain you cant ignore An upper UTI can cause intense back pain as the infection reaches the kidneys. People will get pain in the lower back and groin area. Back pain comes with two other symptoms: high fever and vomiting. Upper infections happen when a lower UTI goes unchecked or does not respond to antibiotics.
What Dissolves Kidney Stones Fast
Your doctor can determine whether a juice may cause side effects for you or your baby.Water. When passing a stone, upping your water intake can help speed up the process. Lemon juice. Basil juice. Apple cider vinegar. Celery juice. Pomegranate juice. Kidney bean broth. Dandelion root juice.More items
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Can You Tell If You Passed A Stone
Dr. De cautions people to be careful with the phrase passing a stone. Theres the passing the stone from the kidney to the bladder, which is the painful part, she says. Then theres the bladder out the urethra, which generally doesnt cause pain. Often, people only know they urinated out a stone if they are straining their urine or see it in the toilet. If you have severe pain or severe nausea or vomiting, head to the ER.
You may be given a urine mesh screen or a pee strainer, which you place on top of the toilet seat to collect any material in your urine. Your kidney stone may look like a grain of sand or a piece of gravel. You should keep any stones you collect in a cup with a lid or a plastic bag to keep them safe and dry until you can give them to your doctor for analysis. Your doctor will more than likely give you information on how to reduce your risk of kidney stones like:
- Drinking plenty of water.
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What Is A Urinary Tract Infection
A UTI happens when foreign bacteria enter one or more parts of the urinary system. This includes the bladder, urethra, or kidneys. Because women have a shorter urethra than men, women are more likely to get infected. Some men get UTIs, and risk increases with age. Doctors classify the infections in two ways. A lower UTI affects the urinary tract and bladder. An upper UTI spreads to the kidneys and can be serious if left unchecked.
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Right Side Rib Pain: Appendicitis
In this section we will talk specifically about appendicitis , one of the most common causes of acute pain under the right ribs, a condition that if not treated quickly can be life threatening.
This pathology can be identified by acute pain , different from typical belly pain, only on the right side. The first of its symptoms is a kind of dull pain in the navel and in the pit of the stomach. At this point it can be confused with an upset stomach, however, as the hours go by, this pain increases and is located on the right side , becoming disabling. Here you will find the symptoms of appendicitis .
One of the best ways we have to identify if we are really suffering from appendicitis is to try to press hard on the area that hurts with our fingers. In case of appendicitis, the pain will become very intense and, generally, people cough or cry out. Another way to diagnose it is by walking, since when people suffer from acute appendicitis, people cannot walk upright, but rather shrink back on themselves so that the pain decreases.
Pain And Excess Masturbation
- The problem with frequent or excess masturbation is that it can lead to soreness and body pain. The body pain is a consequence of groin pain that extends from the testicles resulting from excessive masturbation.
- Some men who masturbate excessively often end up using a lot of friction. As a result, they suffer from testicle pain that also irritates them. In some cases, the pain is also accompanied by a sensation of nausea and swelling.
- That is why it’s necessary to take a break until the discomfort settles if you suffer from any pain after masturbation. More importantly, if you’re suffering from constant pains after masturbation, consult a doctor immediately.
Pain Specifically Under Left Or Right Rib Cage
Pain under the left rib cage may seem to be a more prevalent symptom. However, it is important to realize that the different types of rib pain will depend on the cause of the pain.
First of all, it is important to identify the exact location of your rib pain, since sometimes all it takes is millimeters to determine the cause. For instance, if you experience left rib cage pain, any of the organs on your left side could actually be responsible for your pain.
Rib cage pain can also be felt in your chest, abdominal area, or between the ribs. The pain may be occasional, or sudden, severe, and sharp in nature.
Burning pain can also cause rib cage discomfort. If the pain lasts many days, it may be a moderate dull ache. Some people will feel pain under the left rib cage only, or the pain may spread to your neck, shoulder, or jaw.
Some people believe that pain under the left rib cage is considered more serious than right-sided rib pain. This is because left-sided rib pain is associated with heart problems like heart attacks and angina.Although left-sided pain can indicate a serious problem, it is still important not to dismiss right-sided rib cage pain. In some instances, rib pain on the right side of the body can indicate serious issues like appendicitis, fecal impaction, gallstones, pancreatitis, a tumor, and inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis.
Causes Of Kidney Infections
Kidney infections are a result of bacteria entering the kidneys. While there are many causes for a kidney infection, the most common is from a pre-existing infection in the urinary tract, like a bladder infection.
The urinary tract, or urinary system, comprises organs that extract, hold, and transport waste as urine from your system. The organs include two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra.
Kidneys process blood to produce urine. The urine travels via the ureters to the bladder, where it is stored, waiting to release during the urination process through the urethra. When bacteria end up in the urethra, they can travel to the bladder and cause an infection that turns into a kidney infection when it moves to one or both kidneys.
Infections in the urinary tract are most commonly caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli, also known as E. coli. About 90 percent of uncomplicated urinary tract infections are caused by E. coli, a bacteria that can be found in the colons of humans and animals as well as their fecal waste. E. coli can spread to the genitals and into the urinary tract through improper wiping or toilet backsplash. Bacterial transfer can also occur during sex.
Other conditions that prevent the natural urine flow can increase the risk that an infection may occur, such as blockages to the ureters from a large kidney stone.
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