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Back Pain and Kidney Pain: How to Tell the Difference

It can sometimes be challenging to distinguish whether lower back pain is caused by a problem in the kidneys or simply a regular backache. Understanding the differences between kidney pain and lower back pain can help you accurately determine the source of your back discomfort. 

In this article, we will provide you with tips on how to distinguish between these two types of back pain. 

Here are a few things to consider: 

1. Location of the Pain:

Examine the exact location of your bad back pain to help you distinguish between kidney pain and back pain. The area just below the ribcage on each side of the spine known as the flank is where kidney pain is commonly felt. On the other hand, back pain usually originates in the lower back, however, it can sometimes spread to other parts of the body.

2. The Character of the Pain:

The type or nature of the pain can offer hints as to where it came from. A dull, painful sensation that might be occasional or persistent is how kidney pain can be characterized. Other symptoms, such as urinary abnormalities like frequent urination or blood in the urine, could also be present. Back pain, however, can vary in intensity and may feel sharp, stabbing, or throbbing. It is usually aggravated by movement and may improve with rest.

3. The Associated Symptoms:

Back pain and kidney discomfort can be distinguished from one another by paying attention to additional symptoms. Other symptoms, like:

  • Urinary changes: Increased urgency, frequency, or pain during urination.
  • Blood in the urine: Hematuria, which can make the urine appear pink, red, or brown.
  • Fever and chills: In cases of kidney infection or kidney stones, fever, and chills may be present.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Kidney issues can cause gastrointestinal disturbances.

On the other hand, back discomfort often does not show these accompanying symptoms. However, it may also be accompanied by leg pain that radiates down the legs, muscle spasms, or restricted mobility.

4. Medical History and Risk Factors:

Consider any potential risks along with your medical history. The likelihood of suffering kidney pain may be higher if you have a history of kidney issues, such as kidney infections or stones. Pre-existing diseases like urinary tract infections or a family history of renal disease can raise the likelihood of kidney-related discomfort.

On the other hand, the likelihood that back pain is the source of your discomfort increases if you have a history of back issues, such as muscular strains or herniated discs.

It might be difficult to distinguish between back pain and kidney discomfort because the symptoms may be similar. However, observing the situation’s nature, related symptoms, medical background, and risk factors can reveal important information to get the appropriate back relief treatment. It is always advised to speak with a healthcare professional to get a precise diagnosis and the best course of action for what you’re experiencing.

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