Kidney Pain – Location, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Relief

Kidney Pain Location

Kidney stone pain is sometimes mistaken for pain that is coming from other organs. To avoid confusion, kidney pain is usually isolated in the lower back or mid-back and radiates out to the sides, upper back and possibly other areas of the body. However, the pain felt may vary from person to person.
The pain is most often associated with infection, kidney disease, injury or kidney stones. Kidney pain is different from back pain because back pain is located predominantly in the back as a result of muscular, nervous, joint or bone problems. Kidney pain is normally experienced in the lower back, at the left and right sides of the spine, and above the hips or gluteus maximus.

kidnye pain location Picture 1 – Kidney pain location (back)

kidney pain location picture

Picture 2 – Kidney pain location (front & back side)

Kidney pain locationPicture 3

Kidney Pain Causes & Risk factors

If you experience kidney pain, it may be because you are suffering from one of the following disorders:

  • Arteriosclerosis – When fats accrue in the walls of the arteries, it leads to arteriosclerosis (blocked arteries). When this happens, the blood supply is blocked and can lead to severe kidney pain.
  • Kidney Infection – Also known as pyelonephritis, this condition affects the urinary bladder and goes up all the way to the kidney. When this occurs, the kidney tissues swell, leading to kidney pain. If not treated immediately, it can lead to permanent damage of the kidneys.
  • Urinary Tract Infection or UTI – This condition is common in women and generally affects the bladder, and spreads to the kidneys. When the kidneys become affected, abdominal kidney pain is experienced.
  • Kidney Stones – When there is an imbalance in fluids and electrolytes in the body, it leads to crystallization because the urine solidifies. This is commonly known as kidney stones. When the kidney stones block the flow of urine, the person feels kidney pain. In addition, some people report that the kidney pain commonly occurs late at night or early in the morning.
  • Polycystic Kidney – This kind of kidney disorder is inherited and causes the kidneys to hypertrophy (become bigger) because there is a formation of several cysts. This will lead to the person experiencing an aching and dull kidney pain.
  • Kidney Cancer – This condition is rare. What happens is that a tumor grows and damages the kidney’s capsule leading to a constant, dull kidney pain.

The main difference between back pain and kidney pain is that back pain is normally due to an injury of the back such as a mild sprain or slipped disc. In addition, back pain does not necessarily need any immediate medical attention especially if it is mild, unlike kidney pain which should be treated immediately as it can be serious.

Kidney Pain Symptoms & Signs

Kidney Pain Symptoms & Signs

People who suffer from kidney pain normally manifest the following symptoms:

  • Urinary problems such as blood in the urine or abnormal urine color
  • Fatigue
  • Painful menstruation period
  • Joint Pain
  • Nausea
  • Dull and sometimes sharp kidney pain
  • Vomiting
  • Piercing and dull pain in the upper back area
  • Swelling in either hands, face or feet
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Frequent, difficult and painful urination
  • Foul and excessive urine
  • High blood pressure
  • Nail abnormalities
  • Dribbling after every after urination
  • Sediment in the urine
  • Decrease in urine flow
  • Burning pain during or relieved by urination

In contrast, when a person experiences back pain, they usually experience a continuous and dull pain that becomes worse with movement of the back.

Kidney Pain Diagnosis

To diagnose and confirm if a person is experiencing pain that is associated with the kidney organ, the physician will normally conduct the following diagnostic tests:

  • Intravenous Pylogram – This is a special x-ray examination that focuses only on the KUB or kidney, ureter and bladder. The physician does this test to determine if there are any kidney stones, blockages or abnormalities that could explain the pain the person is experiencing.
  • Renal Arteriography – This is also known as renal angiography and it is a special x-ray examination of the kidney’s blood vessels.
  • Urine Examination – This is a routine exam that will include the pH, WBC or white blood cells, and sugar levels. Normally the midstream urine is taken as a sample for the laboratory.
  • Ultrasonography – This is an ultrasound based examination done to visualize the body structures, in this case, specifically the kidneys.
  • Blood Examination – This is done through the CBC or Complete Blood Count so that the physician can see the blood cellular information of the patient.
  • CT or Computerized Tomography Scan – This is a medical imaging technique that uses tomography and gives 2D and 3D images of an object. This method is preferred by some physicians because of the accuracy it gives.

Kidney Pain Treatment

The main treatment depends on the etiology (cause or origin) and medical condition of the person suffering the pain. Some modes of treatment that are common are:

  • Allopathic Treatment – This treats the condition by suppressing the symptoms of the illness. An example of allopathic treatment is surgery.
  • Homeopathic Treatment – Homeopathy is a popular holistic system of medicine. It is the opposite of allopathic treatment (remedies that produce effects different from those caused by the disease itself); it encourages the body’s natural reaction to an illness. It is a method of treating this condition by the use of drugs that produce similar symptoms to kidney pain. Its aim is to address the cause and susceptibility of the individual.
  • Other Alternative modes – Alternative methods for treating kidney pain include acupressure, acupuncture, yoga, ayurveda (ancient Hindu science of health and medicine), naturopathy and the like.

If you suffer or have suffered from kidney pain, would like to share your experience, or ask a question, please leave a comment and the author will be happy to respond.

7 Responses to “Kidney Pain – Location, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Relief”

  • Charmaine says:

    I had pain on my flank area about two months ago. It just so happened that i work at home and rarely have an exercise or to walk around the house because i literally stay on the computer. I’ve read that immobility may cause the urine to remain static and may cause kidney stones. When I press my flank area, it becomes so tender. I got so worried so i started drinking more water. After that, the pain was gone in about a week. Is it possible that it could have been a kidney stone? Thanks

  • alfred says:

    i have dull aching pain in the flank area. sometimes i feel it in the back and sometimes in the front. on both sides although sometimes the pain is on one side. this happened the day after a MRI scan of the brain. i felt a strange spazm or repeated pulling inside my abdominal area on both sides during the last 10 minutes of the MRI. the very next day after lunch i felt the pain. can this be kidney pain? if so, do you believe it could be serious? I had the MRI last night

  • staging chronic kidney disease says:

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something which
    I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad
    for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  • Sherill Devries says:

    Kidney stones typically leave the body by passage in the urine stream, and many stones are formed and passed without causing symptoms. If stones grow to sufficient size (usually at least 3 millimeters (0.12 in)) they can cause obstruction of the ureter. ..:,

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  • Tara says:

    what is the risk factor for applyimg contrast ct scan ?

  • Qurasha says:

    I just discovered I have two kidney stones on my right kidney whn I went for a scan mh G.P says its nothing to worry but I am still urinating blood an still have back pains how do I treat it this is the secound time I get it the first ones I urinated them out on the scan they look huge im in so much pain pls help. .

  • stop cold sores says:

    Hi! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay.
    I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

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