Kidney back pain or simply called as kidney pain is difficult to diagnose since a pain on your back can be due to several reasons. All the time kidneys are not involved in causing pain. Kidneys are located high on your back placed just below the lower ribs. Only through other signs you can confirm that pain is due to kidney problem. A pair of kidneys lies just below the diaphragm at the far end of the abdomen and any abnormality in the kidney will cause dull kidney pain.
Kidney pain is marked by dull (often one sided) pain on your lower back along with or without fever and urinary symptoms. Any infection on your kidneys (pyelonephritis) can cause kidney back pain. When there are stones in the kidney and it moves it can hurt you badly giving sharp pain. You can feel sharp staggering pain when the kidney stone travels to bladder. Such pain due to the movement of kidney stones is called colic.
Kidney Back Pain Causes:
There are many reasons for getting kidney back pain.
- Kidney stone is formed due to building of excess of uric acid and calcium on the bladder. The size of the stones can be smaller or larger and it causes intense pain in the back during mornings.
- Pyelonephritis also called as kidney infection can cause severe back pain. This is caused by bacteria and some amount of urine is sent into the ureter through back pressure. Very often individuals with kidney stone will get kidney infection. The pain will be sharp and severe on your back to identify this problem.
- Urinary tract infection commonly called UTI can cause kidney back pain. It is caused due to gram negative bacteria and can be identified by the presence of blood in the urine. Irritation while passing urine and passing only few drops of urine are important symptoms of UTI. When there is hemorrhage or bleeding in your kidney it can hurt you very well. A blood clot formed on the arteries of the kidney is called Ischemia or arteriosclerosis and it can cause intense pain.
- Swelling of kidney or any inflammation or presence of fluid (hydronephrosis) can cause intense pain.
- Presence of tumor, kidney cancer, infection, kidney disease, horseshoe kidney, cyst in the kidney, blood clots in the veins of kidney and urinary tract infection are some of the causes of kidney pain.
Actually back pain is caused by many factors apart from kidney. Mild to severe form of back pain can occur due to spinal fracture, osteoporosis, lumbar disc herniation and bone fracture. Even stress and emotion can cause back pain. Pregnancy is one of the main reasons for low back pain. Gradual block in the normal urine flow can also cause kidney pain.
Kidney Back Pain Symptoms:
You need to check for other symptoms before concluding that your back pain is due to kidney pain. People may have urinary disorder, nausea, vomiting, low grade fever, loss of appetite, swelling in extremities (hands and legs), and pain in the groin area if the reason is kidney back pain.
Often, the movement of kidney stones causes intense back pain. Stones are not formed all on a sudden. Certain chemicals like calcium, uric acid builds up in excess in the kidneys unable to be washed out. Further they travel into the bladder forming small sized stones. These stones will get blocked in the tiny tube of ureter (through which urine is flushed out) thus preventing the normal flow of urine. This causes inflammation of the kidney and pain.
Your doctor will look for other symptoms apart from back pain. He would request for abdomen X-ray, CT scan or MRI scan of the abdomen for detecting kidney stone.
Kidney Back Pain Treatment:
Treatment of kidney pain varies with respect to the causative factor. Antibiotics are given for treating infection on the kidney. Medications are prescribed to dissolve kidney stones. Hence your doctor will find the root cause of back pain before starting any mode of treatment. Mild form of back pain can be managed by giving warm compression massage at home.
Kidney stones are predominantly formed due to dehydration. You need to drink plenty of water for preventing kidney stones. Your doctor may give diuretics to flush out excess of uric acid from the stones. Most of the small sized stones can be removed by medications. Only large sized stone needs to be operated and removed. Lithotripsy is done for sending shock waves for crushing the stone inside which is eventually flushed out through urine.
Antibiotics like sulfamethoxazole, quinolones, levoflaxacin and penicillin are prescribed for treating kidney infection. You can drink cranberry juice available in supermarkets to prevent getting stones in your kidney. Kidney back pain due to cancer is treated through surgery, immunotherapy, and cryoablation or radiofrequency ablation methods. For polycystic kidney disease, drinking plenty of fluids can help to get relief from symptoms. Further your doctor would recommend low sodium diet along with drugs for controlling blood pressure. In rare cases, surgery is done for removing the cysts from the kidney.
Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water each day.
- You can also have fresh fruit juices of watermelons, grapes and cucumber for flushing kidney stones.
- Do not take excess of calcium without consulting your doctor since it can lead to kidney stone formation.
- Restrict the amount of fish and meat to prevent getting uric acid stones.
- Whenever you feel like urinating you should not wait or suppress the urge, since it can lead to uric acid formation in the kidneys.
- You can prevent most of the urinary tract infection by drinking plenty of water.