two bean-shaped organs, are important to keep your body functioning
healthfully. If something goes awry with them, this would result in pain. So
where kidney pain is felt — also, does it really arise from the kidneys or somewhere
else? For accurate answer, a number of things need to be taken into account.
play a key role in your urinary system. Each of these tough organs is about the
size of your fist, and they sit on either sides of the spine just below your
kidney has millions of super tiny structures, also called as ‘nephrons’, to filter waste products and
remove excess liquid from the bloodstream. They are also necessary to get rid
of excess acid and regulate a healthy-balanced level of water (liquid), salts,
and minerals (including potassium, phosphorus, and calcium).
essence, the main job is to provide a healthy-balanced blood to support a lot of
things so the body keeps working healthfully and continuously. Without
healthy-balanced blood, various organ systems in the body are affected.
kidneys also play a role in producing hormones to; create red blood cells,
control blood pressure, and keep the bones healthy (strong).
blood circulation that flows in and flows out of the kidneys occur many times
in 24 hours. About 150 quarts of blood is filtered per day .
goes into the kidneys via renal artery, a large blood vessel. This renal artery
splits into smaller and very smaller blood vessels to carry blood to the
nephrons. Then filtered, healthy blood flows out of the kidneys and go back to
the heart through renal vein.
How do they work? Each nephron has special
structures called glomerulus and tubule. Glomerulus is where the blood is
filtered for the first time. Then the tubule drives necessary substances
required by the body return to the blood and get rid of ‘real’ wastes.
has a cluster of tiny blood vessels. When blood goes there, larger things
(including blood cells and proteins) are filtered so they remain in the blood
vessel. And smaller things (mostly water, including smaller molecules) can pass
and go into the tubule.
A blood vessel runs throughout the tubule. As the fluid from glomerulus moves along the tubule, necessary smaller things such as nutrients and minerals your body needs are reabsorbed back by the blood vessel. And the real wastes, including excess acid, are removed through urine.
of fluids and substances in the tubule return to the blood. Only about 1-2
quarts are finally converted to become urine.
the kidneys sit against your back muscles, sometimes we mistakenly kidney pain
for back pain. On the other hand, early diagnosis is crucial to treat the
problem more effectively.
treatment would induce better prognosis! That’s why it’s important to keep
alert whether it is just back pain that responds to lifestyle measures or vice
pain if left untreated could be fatal since it may signal serious health conditions.
There are several causes of this pain, these include :
UTI, urinary tract
the name suggests, it is a condition in which infection affects urinary tract (urethra,
bladder, ureters, and kidneys).
it on microbes, especially bacteria (mostly). In less common cases, UTI is
caused by fungi or viruses.
bad news, UTI affecting upper urinary tract (kidneys) are relatively more
dangerous than lower tract UTI (urethra or/and bladder). Because there is a
chance for bacteria to penetrate into the bloodstream from the infected kidney,
causing serious complications such as a sudden drop in blood pressure and
upper tract UTI is not as common as lower tract UTI. Nevertheless, lower tract
UTI could also cause kidney infection.
Kidney stones! Here the stones mean solid mass
that looks like crystals, and they can be large enough to cause obstruction and
pain. The stones vary according to the materials what they contain (uric acid,
calcium, struvite, or cysteine).
stones usually form originally in the kidneys. But sometimes they also develop
elsewhere in other parts of the urinary tract.
you prevent kidney stones? Yes, they’re preventable. Keeping hydrated by
drinking enough water throughout the day is a powerful preventive measure. This
is vital to get proper amount of urine to pass so you can flush your kidneys
genetic condition in which there are clusters of cysts form in the kidneys.
Although the cysts are not malignant (noncancerous), they can grow and become
large enough to interfere with kidneys function.
runs in families, the main risk factor is a family history of the same
condition. It could be painful, plus would also increase your risk of
developing kidney stones and UTIs. In severe cases, it may lead to kidney
failure since it can cause serious damage to the kidneys.
monitoring is usually necessary. The disease currently has no cure.
there is no exact way to prevent it, but it’s manageable. With comprehensive
and appropriate treatment, it’s possible to keep the kidneys work longer and
What else? Again, a number of factors and
conditions can lead to kidney pain. Other possible causes are as follows:
- Blood clots that form in the
kidneys. The clots can prevent the affected kidney from removing waste from the
body, leading to pain and renal hypertension.
- Injury /trauma affecting the
kidneys. This can occur from a strong contact to the kidneys – car accident and
sport’s injury for examples.
- Bleeding in the kidneys, which
may also cause blood in the urine. The bleeding could be a consequence of
problems affecting kidneys such as kidney stones, UTI, kidney infection, kidney
injury, kidney inflammation, etc.
- Renal cancer, more common in
elderly people (over the age of 60).
location of the pain is one of indicators we can use to help rule out the
underlying cause, though it’s not everything for accurate diagnosis.
when the pain is actually arising from the kidneys, where do you feel it? First
off, let’s explore more about back pain since many times it’s hard to tell
whether the pain is coming from the kidneys or the back.
pain is a common symptom that can affect anyone. It can be attributed by lots
of things. But mostly it has to do with problems affecting muscles, nerves, or
bones in the back.
it’s much more common than kidney pain. About 80 % of adults, according to the
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, will experience this
symptom at some point of their lives .
features of back pain, including where it is felt, can vary depending on the
underlying cause of the pain. It can flare up anywhere in the back, but mostly it
occurs in the lower back or buttocks.
Type of back pain! Muscles pain in the back usually
feels like a dull ache or stiffness, affecting one or both sides of the back.
This type is likely to occur in the back locally, not spread elsewhere in the
body. Certain movements would make the pain get worse.
pain in the back is likely to feel like sharp and burning sensation. It can
spread elsewhere, traveling down the buttock or even lower leg for example.
pain affecting the back usually has to do with vertebral fractures or problems
affecting the spine. The pain in such case may strike suddenly. The severity
ranges from severe to moderate, and the pain often gets worse in response to
pain, depending on what causes the pain, may also come with other symptoms.
These include :
- Muscle spasm, making it hard to stand up straight.
- Walking difficulties, numbness, or weakness on the legs (especially for nerve pain).
- The spot of the pain becomes tender or more sensitive to touch.
also possible for the pain to come with problems of bowel movements
(constipation or diarrhea) or problems of urination (over urination for example).
In such case, probably something is pressing the nerves of your spine – this
could be serious, immediate medical intervention is necessary!
diagnosis is necessary so you will get appropriate treatment to carry a
complete relief. Since many factors can contribute to kidney pain, comprehensive
evaluation is important. This article is for general information only — see
your doctor or healthcare professionals for more guidance!
back pain, kidney pain (also called as renal pain) is likely to feel deeper. It
could be intense enough to interfere with your daily routines, depending on how
severe it is and what causes the pain.
location of kidney pain is usually in your sides (middle, flank area) to higher
up the back. Flank area is either side of the spine between your hips and the
bottom of your ribcage. This is reasonable since the location of the kidneys is
underneath your ribcage, as mentioned earlier.
pain may also feel like dull ache in the upper abdomen. But the pain in such
case is often not related to the kidneys.
The pain could be in one side (right or left of the spine flank area) if only one kidney is affected, or in both sides when the two kidneys are affected. In most cases it has to do with only one kidney .
the pain may radiate elsewhere of the body. Besides upper /lower abdomen, it could
also be severe enough to radiate elsewhere such as the groin and thigh.
to remember, having pain in the flank area or in the upper back doesn’t always
necessarily mean that you have a problem with your kidneys. A number health
conditions can contribute to cause the pain, these include:
- Poor posture. Posture is a
necessary thing to hold the body while performing tasks (e.g. bending, pulling,
and lifting). If your posture is poor, your spine is incorrectly aligned. As a
result, this makes upper or lower back pain more likely.
- Dehydration. You’re probably
surprised at how lack of liquid can hurt your upper and lower back. There are
several reasons – one of them is because dehydration provokes a build-up of
wastes in the body, as a result your kidneys will work harder. Over time, this
may also cause UTIs and kidney stones.
- Osteoporosis. People with
osteoporosis are at high risk of developing a fractured vertebra (small bones
of the spine), leading to pain in the back area (including in the upper back,
depending on where the fracture occurs) .
- Arthritis, especially spinal
arthritis. It can cause painful inflammation in the spine. This chronic
inflammatory condition may have to do with autoimmune abnormality,
wear-&-tear with age, infection, or other conditions .
common culprits to blame for flank pain include; muscle spasm, pinched nerve in
the back, bladder infection, and Tietze’s syndrome. The pain is also less
commonly related to appendicitis, pancreatitis, pneumonia, shingles,
inflammatory bowel disease, and abdominal aortic aneurysm (swollen of aorta
to find out whether your pain is kidney pain or something else, the location of
the symptom is usually not enough for accurate answer. As mentioned earlier, other
factors must be taken into account – other main ones are as follows: