How Do You Differentiate Kidney Pain from Back Pain?

Differentiate Kidney Pain from Back Pain?

One of the best insights into a health problem or condition is the symptoms that you are experiencing. Symptoms are the first indications of a disease or a health issue that needs further investigation and action. While there are some signs typically associated with a particular condition or illness, there are some that are common to many ailments, thereby making it difficult to pin down the cause of a health concern. Therefore, a clear understanding of the characteristics, causes, and triggers, about diseases is essential in cases where their symptoms are similar. Here are key factors that can help you tell the difference between back pain and kidney pain:

1. Causes:

The most common cause of kidney pain is kidney stones. Kidney stones are crystallized minerals that block urine flow and cause severe pain. Kidney pain can also be caused due to pyelonephritis or kidney infection. Back pain, on the other hand, occurs due to inflammation. It can also be a result of medical conditions like fractures, osteoporosis, spondylitis, multiple myeloma, cancer, lumbar disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, etc. Even stress can trigger back pain.

2. Characteristics:

Kidney pain is characterized by a constant, sharp (in the case of kidney stones) or dull (in the event of kidney infection) or throbbing pain. The severity of back pain, on the other hand, changes during the day.

3. Location:

The location of kidney pain is in the upper abdomen along with one or both flanks - the area between the lower ribs and the hips. Back pain occurs in and around the lower back or the upper buttocks.

4. Symptoms:

Commonly associated symptoms with kidney pain include chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, cloudy urine, excessive urine, bloody urine, stinging sensation during urination, and edema. The symptoms of back pain include numbness and muscle tightness in the foot or toes.

5. Sensations on Touch:

At times, pain is experienced when the area over the kidney is touched. In back pain caused due to spondylitis, pain is experienced when the area over or around the spine is touched. In the case of back injury or muscle strain, pain can be experienced anywhere when touched.

6. Triggers:

In the case of ureteropelvic junction obstruction, kidney pain is triggered by the excessive intake of fluids. Back pain, on the other hand, is triggered by moving, in the case of back injury and long hours of sitting, standing and lying down, in the case of sciatic pain.

7. Extent:

Another difference between back pain and kidney pain is the area of pain. In kidney stones and infections, the pain extends to the lower abdomen, inner thighs, and the groin. In the case of back pain, especially sciatica, the pain reaches the back of the thighs, buttocks, calves, feet, and toes on one or both the sides.

8. Visible Signs:

Though commonly, there are no visible signs associated with kidney pain, in some cases, such as that of large kidney tumor, visible mass in one flank might be seen, and visible mass in both flanks in the case of polycystic kidney disease or hydronephrosis might be seen. In the event of back pain, signs as bruises, in the event of back muscle injury, limping and crouching in the event of spondyloarthritis and curved spine and uneven hips in the event of scoliosis might be seen.

9. Relievers:

For kidney pain the best reliever is the right treatment for the condition. You can get some kidney stone pain relief by taking pain relievers. In the case of back pain, you can get some relief by walking, if your nerve is pinched or by resting, if you’re suffering from osteoarthritis. Certain therapies like massage therapy, heat, and cold therapy, electrotherapy, acupressure, etc. are also highly effective in providing relief from back pain.

While the typical signs to diagnose and mitigate kidney and back pain are listed above, it is always suggested that you consult your doctor, even if the pain is minimal. Doing so will help you stay protected from further worsening your health situation. At Sehat, we give you access to some of the best Pain Management Specialists, Physiotherapists and Orthopedic Surgeons for back pain relief and Nephrologists for kidney stone pain relief. Don’t let the pain go unattended, take necessary action, today!