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Is Lower Back Pain Kidneys

Pain That Comes And Goes In Waves And Changes In Intensity

Is my Back Pain due to a Kidney problem? – Dr. Prashanth Jain

As the kidney stone moves through your urinary tract, youll feel pain differently. With a backache, the pain is usually constant.

Kidney stone pain typically starts high up, near the kidney, migrates toward the abdomen and then eventually moves down toward the groin as the stone moves further down the ureter, says Mike Nguyen, MD, a urologist at Keck Medicine of USC and associate professor of clinical urology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Kidney stone pain is typically severe and can be sharp or dull. It usually occurs suddenly, without any provoking events.

Mike Nguyen, MD

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.

Sleep On Your Back In A Reclined Setting

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How To Tell If Its Kidney Pain Or Back Pain

Your kidneys are located just below the ribcage, with each kidney positioned on either side of your spine. Kidneys help to filter toxins and extra fluids from the body to ensure the rest of your body works normally. Common causes of kidney pain include UTIs, kidney infections, and kidney stones. Because your kidneys rest against your back muscles, it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate kidney pain from back pain. To help you distinguish between the two, were breaking down the signs and symptoms of how to tell if its back pain or kidney pain.

Feeling Tired Or Sluggish During The Day

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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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Back Pain Risk Factors

There are certain lifestyle, medical history, and other factors that can make you more vulnerable to back pain.

  • Age: You are more likely to develop back pain as you age. Most people first experience back pain between the ages of thirty and fifty.
  • Fitness level: Those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle are more likely to develop back pain. This is true especially for those who are sedentary during the work week but try to make up for lack of exercise on the weekend.
  • Genetics: Some forms of back pain disorders are caused by family medical history, such as arthritis.
  • Job: Your job may cause you to strain your back. Workers who use an office chair all day, especially one that is not supportive, are at risk, as are those who use their backs in repetitive ways such as lifting, like construction workers.
  • Smoking: Smoking can cause the discs along your spinal column to degenerate more quickly, thus causing back pain.

Bottom Line: Dont Hesitate To See Your Doctor If You Think Its Kidney Pain

Unlike back pain, you dont want to have a wait and see approach with your kidneys. Infections can get worse and lead to serious tissue damage, while odd growths and stones can impair kidney function. The earlier your doc can prescribe you a care plan, the better they can nip your conditionand your puzzling back painin the bud.

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Early Warning Signs Of Kidney Disease

Kidney disease affects millions of people in the United States, and there are just a few indicators that reveal issues with kidneys. Often referred to as the “Quiet Disease” because of the lack of symptoms, most people do not discover they have kidney disease until it is very advanced. Also, many people ignore early warning signs, while catching kidney disease early can mean the difference between life and death. This is why vehicle donation is so important to fund the education of kidney disease.

Kidneys perform important functions of the body such as regulating the acid content, potassium, and salt content. Waste removal is also a function of the kidneys along with producing vitamin D and balancing the bodys fluids. Kidneys produce hormones that regulate the metabolization of calcium and controls blood pressure. Here are a few of early warning signs of kidney disease:

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When either your kidneys or your back hurt, you could either experience mild discomfort or a crippling pain. Since the actual problem might not be clear yet, consulting with a physician is imperative to determine the cause before they can administer treatment.

Issues with the kidney could either be a minor problem or a big one. If youre battling a kidney infection, your doctor would most likely prescribe antibiotics for you. A tiny kidney stone will require no treatment at all and pass naturally. In some cases, you many need a short hospital visit so they can get the stones out of your system smoothly. Drinking plenty of water can help with this problem. A larger kidney stone, on the other hand, would require surgery.

As for the back, various causes means many different cures are available. For non-serious back problems, you only need some rest, muscle relaxants, and a heating pad to relieve the pain. If the pain lasts for over two weeks, it may indicate a more severe problem that could require intensive care, physical rehabilitation, or minor surgery.

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Back Pain Or Kidney Stone

What gives?

According to Dr. Charney, if youre feeling kidney pain, its probably coming from one of two places : Either because of distension of the ureter or capsule that surrounds the kidneys.

The ureterstubes attached to each kidneytransport urine from the kidneys to the bladder. All that urine contains salts and minerals, and if the minerals clump together and block one of the ureters, youve got yourself a dreaded, infamously painful kidney stone.

ureter because there is a stone blocking it, says Dr. Charney. Not only that, he says, but when there is a blockage due to the stone in the ureter, the urine may back up into the kidney and that may expand the capsule of the kidney and cause pain.

Kidney stones

When it comes to where the pain is located, it is typically just on one side. It is routinely categorized as a dull ache. Dr. Charney adds that the pain is always theremore or less bothering you. Sound familiar? Thats because chronic back pain, especially the kind caused by nerve compression, is usually on just one side too .

However, when it comes time to pass a stone, youll know it.

Stone ache can just be faint pain unless that stone is trying to pass, says Dr. Charney. Then it can be severe and last for several minutes before it goes away. Whenever the pain is too excruciating to bearand really, any time you suspect a kidney stonehead to the emergency room. Treatment is available and of course, better safe than sorry.

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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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.

Kidney Stones Or Nephrolithiasis

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Kidney stones are normally made up of hard collections of minerals which form in the renal system. These stones may stay in the kidneys for quite a while. They often become painful when they move out of the kidney into the ureter. The pain is often described as a strong colicky pain, usually felt in the ureter between the kidney and the bladder. Kidney stones can be extremely painful.

Colicky, strong to very strong pain coming in waves, is the most obvious symptoms of kidney stones. The location of the pain and where it spreads to gives clues as to where the stone is currently located in the urinary system. The pain of a kidney stone passing through the urinary system is felt suddenly and severely in the flank and spreads down the groin on the same side. Not all stones cause radiating pain. Some stones may not cause any pain.

Good to know: Pain from kidney stones is often described as excruciating. Kidney pain from kidney stones can come and go. It can occur in bouts lasting between 20 minutes and an hour. People with painful kidney stones often cannot keep still because of the discomfort. They are often pale and sweaty, with a painful, tender abdomen.

Other symptoms of kidney stones include:

  • Nausea

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When Is It Back Pain Vs Kidney Pain

The kidneys are an amazing filtration system and play a crucial role in our overall health. Similarly, keeping ourselves healthy also ensures that our kidneys work properly. When the kidneys do not work as they should, they can cause pain and discomfort. However, diagnosing kidney pain is not something that can be done simply by assessing the location of the pain. There are other organs and structures that can trigger pain receptors in that area.

Before we get a little deeper into kidney pain, we must discuss exactly where the kidneys are located. Many people are surprised to know how high up they are. If you drop your arms to your side, your kidneys are somewhere at the level of your elbows, or slightly higher. This may help you understand that many cases of back pain simply do not originate in the kidneys.

Difference Between Kidney Pain And Back Pain

Waste materials and excess fluid are removed from the circulation by the kidneys. These two organs are located directly below the rib cage on either side of the body. Because the kidneys lie on the back muscles, distinguishing between kidney and back pain can be difficult.

People must consider the following factors when determining if the pain is originating from the back or the kidneys:

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Treatment Of Kidney Infection

Most kidney infections need prompt treatment with antibiotics to stop the infection damaging the kidneys or spreading to the bloodstream.

You may also need painkillers.

If you’re especially vulnerable to the effects of an infection , you may be admitted to hospital and treated with antibiotics through a drip.

Most people who are diagnosed and treated promptly with antibiotics feel completely better after about 2 weeks.

People who are older or have underlying conditions may take longer to recover.

Acupuncture How To Tell If Lower Back Pain Is Kidney Related

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This ancient Chinese recovery technique might bring relief for individuals with persistent low back pain. Delicately placing slim, completely dry needles into your skin at details points may set off the launch of endorphins, your bodys natural painkillers, or it may alter your brain chemistry so you have a greater discomfort tolerance. You must use it along with other therapies.

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How To Identify Kidney Pain

Kidney pain is very annoying, and anyone who has ever suffered from renal colic can agree with us. It is a very stabbing, sharp pain that, as a general rule, is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as urination or even nausea.

In addition, what differentiates it from muscle pain in the lumbar area is that kidney pain is acute from the beginning and appears out of nowhere, unlike back pain, which is progressive.

Kidney Pain Risk Factors

Chronic kidney disease has increased across the population, causing researchers to seek out preventable factors that can help you avoid such pain.

  • Genetics and family history: Some forms of chronic kidney disease have a component that is inherited from family. 23% of patients experiencing chronic kidney disease reported having a family member or relative who also had a chronic kidney disease diagnosis.
  • Race: Several studies have confirmed that Black and African American individuals are at elevated risk for being diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. At twenty years of age, Black men and women are around 7% likely to be diagnosed, compared to 1.8% of white women and 2.5% of white men.
  • Age: Function of the urinary system decreases with age, much like other body systems. Thus, as you age, you are more likely to develop a chronic kidney disease. Your odds increase every ten years after you turn thirty.
  • Socioeconomic status: People with an income equalling $16,000 per year or less are more than twice as likely to develop a chronic kidney disease.

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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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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.

Written byDr. Victor MarchionePublished onJune 9, 2017

This is the case with back pain and kidney pain. Both present very similarly but have completely different causes. Knowing the symptoms, triggers, and characteristics of these conditions can help you differentiate the two.

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