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.
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Symptoms Of A Kidney Stone
Small stones move into the bladder and out of the body with minimal symptoms.
Larger stones, though, can become lodged in the ureter, block urine flow and cause sharp pain in your back, side, lower abdomen or groin, and blood in your urine. Symptoms may also include burning urination, nausea, and fever. Fever could indicate a serious infection, a reason to call to your doctor immediately.
The location of your pain signals the location of your kidney stone:
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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
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.
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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.
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.
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Causes Of Bilateral And Unilateral Kidney Pains
Flank pains experienced in either one side otherwise known as unilateral, or both sides, which is referred to as bilateral is caused by various reasons .
Treatment Of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones can be managed in a number of ways, depending upon the size of the stone, your other medical problems, and your overall comfort level.;Many small stones will pass with the help of medications, which will keep you comfortable while the stone passes naturally.;This process may take a few days to a week or more.
For larger stones, stones that are associated with severe symptoms, or stones;that will not pass with medical therapy,;surgery is often required.
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What Are The Causes Of Back Pain And Kidney Pain
Back pain most often occurs when the back is overworked, strained, or frequently subjected to poor posture.
Kidney pain has five major causes :
1. Kidney stones
These are hard deposits of minerals and salts that can form in your kidneys and create some excruciating blockage. If theyre very small stones, they may flush out without any pain, says Santiago. If they are larger, the pain is fairly sharp, and it tends to come in waves. In other words, the pain tends to get worse when the stone moves.
Its also typically one-sided, adds Santiago. You dont typically get bad stones on both sides at the same time.
2. A UTI gone too far
Sometimes a urinary tract infection can get out of hand as the harmful bacteria crawl their way through the bladder and up to the kidneys.
With a kidney infection, it’s going to be that dull, continuous pain, says Santiago. UTIs that turn into kidney infections are also more likely to cause fever, chills, and nausea.
Fortunately, your kidneys are guarded by your ribcage and tough back muscles, so kidney injuries arent super common. But if youre into contact sports, happen to be in an accident, or end up in any situation where you take an extremely hard blow to the flank, you could do some organ damage.
4. Polycystic Kidney Disease
5. Kidney tumor
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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Can Kidney Stone Symptoms Come And Go
The length of time a stone can hang around is the primary reason that a person may feel like kidney stone symptoms come and go.
Once you start feeling the pain of a kidney stone, it can take anywhere between one to four weeks for the stone to actually pass. In the meantime, the pain can seem sporadic. Here’s why:
“During a bout of kidney stones, the initial pain is typically caused by the stone making its way through your very narrow ureter tube. There can also be pain if the stone lodges itself there and blocks urine flow out of the kidney, which results in pressure buildup and painful swelling,” explains Dr. Kannady.
As your body tries to move the kidney stone through your ureter, some of your pain may also be from the waves of contractions used to force the kidney stone out. The pain may also move as the kidney stone moves along your urinary tract.
“Once the stone makes it to your bladder, the pain might subside to some degree and you may notice urinary symptoms in its place. The final push from your bladder to outside of your body can reignite sharp feelings of pain, as the stone is now passing through another narrow tube called your urethra,” says Dr. Kannady.
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.
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If You Think You Have A Kidney Stone
If you have been diagnosed with a kidney stone, please call 362-8200 to schedule an appointment for evaluation and treatment; we will do our best to make sure you are seen promptly.;You may be directed to the emergency;department if you are experiencing intractable nausea, vomiting, pain or fever so that urgent treatment can be given.
We have a very limited number of same-day appointments; therefore, it is likely that you will be directed to the emergency department for rapid evaluation. There, they will obtain scans and labs that will help confirm the diagnosis of kidney stones.; From that information, we can make an informed decision about your treatment.
If you have recently passed a stone, you should have close follow-up with a urologist. Our team of stone experts can accommodate you at any of our clinic locations.
What Is A Kidneystone Made Of
Generally speaking,16 types of kidney stones can be created in the human body. And what they are made of can help you prevent additional kidney stones in the future.
The two major types of kidney stones are made up ofcalcium and uric acid. Calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate, and uric acid, alongwith struvite and cystine stones are the major groupings. Technical names likecalcium oxalate monohydrate, hydroxyapatite, and magnesium hydrogen phosphateare a mouthful, to be sure, but knowing exactly what kind of kidney stone youhave can give you the best clues for preventing kidney stones in the future.
Start by collecting your urine to capture the stone as itcomes out. Or by using a coffee filter to catch the stone. After collecting it,take it to your physician; they can send it out for tests. Once the testresults come back you two can craft a treatment plan to help prevent kidneystones in the future. In addition to your customized treatment plan, drinkingmore water, eating less meat, consuming more citrus, and reducing your saltintake are general guidelines that can help reduce the odds of kidney stones inthe future.
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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.
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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What Is Kidney Pain
Kidney pain is discomfort that comes from the area where your kidneys are. It’s often described as a dull ache, you feel in your sides, back, or belly. But pain in these areas isn’t always a sign of a kidney issue. It’s easy to mistake kidney pain for ordinary back pain. But there are some differences in how kidney pain feels and where it’s located compared to back pain.
Kidney pain has many possible causes, and some could be serious. It’s important to let your doctor know if you notice pain that you think may be coming from one or both of these organs.
Where are your kidneys?
Your kidneys are two small organs shaped like beans. You have one on each side of your body. They’re each about the size of your fist. They’re below your rib cage on both sides of your spinal cord.
Your kidneys have important jobs. They clean out water, acids, and waste from your blood. They make urine so your body flushes out the waste. If they’re diseased or damaged in some way, they can’t do their work to maintain a healthy balance of salts, minerals like calcium, and water in your blood.
Your kidneys also make hormones that help you manage your blood pressure, keep your bones strong, and make red blood cells.
So it’s important to watch for any signs of kidney disease or damage, like pain.