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Kidney Pain in Lower Back

  • Published: 2009-06-25 (Revised/Updated 2010-10-01) : Author: Ryan C. Nagy, M.A.
  • Synopsis: Kidney pain and lower back pain can have similar symptoms that have entirely different causes.

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Kidney pain and back pain can have similar symptoms that have entirely different causes.

You can have back pain symptoms that are caused by a kidney infection, while another person could have the exact same symptoms caused by a back problem.

When lower back pain is caused by a kidney problem.

Your kidneys are located to the left and right side of your spine directly above your hips. Pain from a kidney infection will usually occur near this same general area, although it can radiate out-wards thus complicating diagnosis. Many people describe the symptoms as a general tenderness or ache and not "pain." A strong, stabbing pain may be related to back problems and not the kidneys. The pain or tenderness can be due to a kidney infection or it could be related to some type of injury to the kidneys themselves. For instance, an injury caused by a fall could compress one kidney impacting and damaging it.

In addition to kidney pain caused by accident or injury there are also symptoms that are associated with a kidney infection. Pain caused by kidney infection is much more common than that caused by physical trauma. In addition, with kidney infection there will often be other symptoms such as a fever, pain while urinating or blood in the urine.

How to tell if you have a kidney infection and what to do about it.

If you have a kidney infection, you will likely have some of the following symptoms: fever, chills, backache and pain. Nausea and tenderness near the infected kidney can also occur. Your doctor will diagnose the condition through tests of kidney functioning or by a bacterial test. Why two types of tests? Because there are two common types of kidney disorders, each with a different cause. Treatment and pain relief will likely include rest and antibiotics for any bacterial infections. Usually the treatment will last for several weeks, but certain people may have structural issues and require longer-term treatment.

The bottom line is that you want to get the right information about what might be creating your pain symptoms - do not self-diagnose. A kidney infection left untreated for many years can have catastrophic implications for your health. If there is a history of kidney infection in your family, or you have recently been in a fall or car wreck or had some other trauma that could have damaged your kidneys, you should consider seeing a doctor. The treatment for low back pain caused by poor posture or over exertion is different than the treatment for low back pain caused by a kidney infection. You want to treat the right condition.

Reference: Ryan C. Nagy, M.A., creator of the Back Pain Foundation and a university instructor, and former autism researcher, is dedicated to using the internet to inform about best health practices. Come see him at: The Back Pain Foundation:

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