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Back pain and kidney pain: Causes, symptoms, and more

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The kidneys filter the blood, removing waste and excess fluid. These organs are located below the rib cage on either side of the body. Because the kidneys are pressed up against the back muscles, distinguishing between kidney and back pain can be difficult.

People must consider the following factors when determining if their pain is caused by the back or the kidneys:

  • the source of the pain
  • the nature and degree of the pain
  • any symptoms that come with it

The basic characteristics and causes of kidney pain and back pain are discussed in this article. We also discuss when you should see a doctor.

When to consult your doctor

pain in the back

Rest, heat therapy, and over-the-counter pain medicines are frequently used to manage mild back pain at home. People should consult a doctor if they are experiencing pain as a result of a catastrophic injury.

It’s critical to consult a doctor if you have symptoms of kidney stones or a kidney infection.

Any of the following symptoms should also be addressed by a physician:

  • pain that is prolonged or intense and does not improve with rest
  • back pain that worsens with time
  • radiating pain, numbness, or tingling down the legs or into the arms
  • walking or standing is difficult
  • legs, ankles, and/or feet swelling
  • unexplained weight loss
  • sudden bladder or bowel problems
  • fever
  • a heartbeat that is erratic
  • shortness of breath

Kidney pain

The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste and poisons from the bloodstream, making them vulnerable to infection and injury. Excess calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus can build up in the kidneys and cause kidney stones, which can be unpleasant if they restrict the flow of urine.

Location

On either side of a person’s spine, kidney pain develops below the rib cage. It may also appear as if the pain originates from deep within the body.

Depending on whether a condition affects simply one kidney or both, people may suffer pain on one or both sides of the body.

Pain in the kidneys can spread to other parts of the body, including:

  • groin
  • thigh
  • the sides
  • abdomen

Type and severity of pain

Small kidney stones frequently move through the urine system without causing significant pain. Larger stones, on the other hand, can cause excruciating pain that develops as the stone progresses from the kidney to the ureters. The ureters connect the kidneys to the bladder and are a part of the urinary system.

A kidney infection might cause a persistent dull discomfort or soreness.

Symptoms that come with it

Symptoms of kidney disease include:

The following are signs of serious kidney damage or problems:

  • swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet
  • irregular heartbeat
  • muscle cramps
  • bad breath
  • confusion
  • metallic taste
  • shortness of breath

Causes of kidney pain

Kidney pain can result from a number of factors, including:

Back pain

Back pain is a pretty typical occurrence. Around 80% of adults will have lower back pain at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Back pain can be caused by issues with the muscles, bones, or nerves in the back.

Back pain can vary in location, severity, and accompanying symptoms depending on the cause.

Location

Back pain can arise in any part of the spine. The majority of people, however, suffer from lower back pain.

Type and severity of pain

Muscle pain is characterised by a dull ache or soreness. Muscle pain, which can range from mild to severe and fluctuate in response to stretching, might be triggered or worsened by certain bodily motions.

Nerve pain can cause a burning or stabbing feeling that can spread to other people of the body.

Sciatica is a type of back pain caused by nerve irritation. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched or compressed, resulting in a searing pain in the lower back that spreads to the buttocks.

Vertebral fractures or an abnormally formed spine can cause bone pain. This form of pain appears out of nowhere. Bone pain can range from mild to severe, and it normally gets worse as you move.

Symptoms that come with it

Back pain might also cause the following symptoms:

  • weakness in one or both legs
  • inability to empty the bladder
  • loss of control over urination
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • aches or stiffness along the spine
  • sharp, stabbing pain in the neck
  • finding it hard to stand up straight due to pain or muscle spasms
  • walking difficulties
  • numbness or tingling in the back that spreads to the limbs
  • Causes of back pain

Causes of back pain

Back pain is frequently caused by spraining a muscle or ligament in the back. Overstretching, lifting too much weight, or employing inappropriate lifting techniques can all cause back discomfort.

Back pain can also be caused by the following causes:

  • injuries to the back, such as fractures or falls
  • damaged, dislocated, or ruptured discs
  • abnormal curvature of the spine
  • tumors
  • poor posture
  • standing or sitting for an extended period
  • muscle spasms
  • muscle tension

Back pain can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, including:

Conclusion

Because the kidneys are located below the rib cage on either side of the spine and rest against the back muscles, it might be difficult to distinguish between back pain and kidney pain.

Kidney pain can be felt immediately below the rib cage on one or both sides of the back. UTIs, kidney stones, and blunt force damage to the kidneys are all causes of kidney pain.

Back pain can affect any part of the back, however the majority of people suffer from pain in the lower back. Heavy lifting, poor posture, and sitting or standing for lengthy people of time can all cause back pain. Back pain can also be caused by medical disorders such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and infections.

Knowing the difference between kidney pain and back pain can help you get a better diagnosis and treatment.

Sources:

  • https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/back-pain/advanced
  • https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/causes
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324969
  • https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/fractures-of-the-thoracic-and-lumbar-spine/
  • https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-stones/symptoms-causes