Is it Back Pain Or Kidney Pain? How to Tell the Difference

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

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Your kidneys are located in the back of your abdomen, just under the rib cage, on each side of your spine. They are responsible for filtering out waste and extra fluid from your body, but their location in relation to your spine can leave people wondering whether it’s their kidney or back that’s in pain. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the differences between kidney pain and back pain, and what you should do if you’re not sure about what’s causing your pain.

Kidney Or Back Pain

Determining whether or not you’re dealing with kidney or back pain really comes down to looking closely at two factors – the symptoms and sensations you’re experiencing, and the precise location of the pain. Here’s a closer look at what you need to know about each:

  • Sensations and Symptoms – While it’s not a perfect diagnostic system, one of the ways to try and self-diagnose kidney or back pain is by monitoring pain and seeing how it changes. Back pain tends to ebb and flow, or in other words, get worse or better depending on your actions. Bending, twisting, turning or moving can all make back pain worse, whereas lying down can make it feel better. On the other hand, kidney pain tends to be a little more consistent. It may be a dull pain or it may be more severe, but it tends to be consistent and not change much as you try different activities.
  • Location – Back pain can develop in a number of different regions of the spine, and it can even cause pain to radiate to our neck, arms or legs. If pain is housed at the upper or lower areas of your spine, or you’re dealing with shooting pain in your extremities, odds are you’re dealing with a spine issue. Kidney pain tends to be more centrally located in the middle of your spine, on either side of the spinal canal.

Kidney problems may also be associated with:

  • Discolored or dark urine
  • Foul smelling urine
  • Pain when urinating
  • Increased need to urinate
  • The passage of gravel-like stones in your urine
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea

If you’re dealing with any of the above symptoms, consider setting up an appointment with your primary care physician. There’s a chance you’re dealing with a common kidney issue like a kidney stone or a urinary tract infection, or there could be another issue like a tumor that requires medical attention.

If your symptoms are more in line with a spinal issue, it’s still not something that should be ignored. Reach out to a spine specialist like Dr. Sinicropi, get to the bottom of your issue, and get started on a treatment plan today. For more information, or to set up an appointment today, give his office a call at (651) 430-3800.

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