As well we know that early treatment is important for any kidney problem before it becomes advanced and more difficult to treat. Kidney pain can be one of common symptoms when something goes awry with your kidneys. Unfortunately it’s not always easy to identify. Even sometime it may be mistakenly for back pain with minor underlying cause. Does it feel like a pulled muscle? How do we describe it?
Kidneys are essential part of the urinary system. Even they are the key of the urine production. Urine flows through two tubes called ureters from the kidneys to the bladder. Then it is emptied through urethra (a tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body).
Pain arising from the kidney occurs due to a problem in the kidney or in other parts of the urinary system such as ureters, bladder, and urethra. Some of these include:
- Kidney stones. As the kidneys filter and remove waste products from the blood, urine is produced. Sometime minerals (such as salt and uric acid) stick together in the urine, forming stones (hard mineral deposits) that vary in size. These stones usually go and flow away with urine. But they can also be large enough to cause a blockage in the urinary tract, and this can be painful.
- Kidney infection. In most cases, urinary tract infections only affect urethra or bladder. But sometime it can also affect upper parts of the urinary system, including kidneys. The infection is usually caused by bacteria, though not always. And it also can be quite painful.
- Kidney injury. Although kidneys are located in the safe place, but sometime they can also get injured. Since they have large blood vessels, the injury can cause severe bleeding.
- Renal vein thrombosis, blood clots that occur in the veins that carry blood from the kidneys to the heart.
- Atherosclerosis, a condition of hardening arteries. It can affect any arteries, including renal arteries (blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the kidneys). Over time it may lead to a clogged artery, and this can cause kidney damage.
- Kidney cancer, both primary cancer (cancer that grows from cells of the kidneys) and secondary cancer (another cancer that grows in other areas of the body can spread to the kidneys).
- Hydronephrosis, stretched or swollen kidneys due to a build-up of excess urine inside them. It increases the risk of urinary tract infection, too.
There may be other conditions not listed in here. But now you know that the problem can be attributed by numerous different causes.
The underlying cause of kidney pain plays a key role to determine the treatment plan. And if the pain does link to a problem in the kidney, early treatment is necessary before the problem becomes advanced. Advanced kidney problem is more difficult to treat. That’s why, it’s important to diagnose the cause clearly as well as take the appropriate treatment as early as possible.
Generally, it’s recommended to see doctor promptly if you have some of the following symptoms:
- Constant pain in the back. Mild back pain usually improves with some lifestyle measures. But if it persists, seek help!
- If you have unusual fatigue, fever, or/and body aches.
- And if you have recently had a UTI (urinary tract infection).
Several tests to help diagnose pain in the kidney area include; urine tests, blood test, or sometime imaging tests (such as with ultrasound).
There are a number of functions of the kidneys. One of the most important things, they are responsible to remove wastes and excess fluid. They are also required to keep or reabsorb necessary things from the blood (such as nutrients or even fluid if you’re being dehydrated). Overall, they play a key role to provide healthy-balanced blood – and this is very important to keep you alive!
You may be surprised to know exactly where your kidneys are located. They are located quite high in the body, below the ribs against the back muscles on the sides (left and right) of the body. Therefore, sometime problem arising from the kidney is also felt in the upper back, side (flank) area.
Sometime, people can mistakenly their kidney pain for back pain. If you have been diagnosed with a kidney problem, you may worry that any pain or discomfort in your back is linked to your kidney even though if actually it has nothing to do with your kidneys.
How about pain of pulled back muscle? This symptom is often associated with strain (a stretch or tear in the muscles or tendons). It is usually not linked to kidney problem. But does pain arising from the kidney feel like a pulled muscle?