kidney pain causes, symptoms, location, relief & treatment

Kidney pain normally arise injury or infection of the kidneys. Kidney pain usually felt on the upper back that may be one-sided ache, dull and if it is accompanied by urinary symptoms or fever, then it is real kidney pain. Sometime kidney stone do also cause pain when kidney stone begins to move through the ureter on the way of bladder. Very little urine formation, change in urine color, swelling in leg and vomiting are the major symptoms of kidney pain. Some medical treatments are available to remove kidney pain.

What is kidney pain?

Kidney pain is usually referred to the plane injury or some sort of infection into the kidney. If the kidneys are found full of infection or fully defective form, then a severe kidney pain is felt. On the other hand kidney pain has a close relation with the back pain; even they may have other different cases. The back pain symptoms can be caused due to kidney infection and vice versa. The major functions of kidneys are excreting waste product as a form of urine and also filter the blood. Kidney cannot able to perform its function due to kidney infection and that causes kidney pain in most of the time.

Where Do You Feel Kidney Pain?

Kidney pain normally felt between the ribs and the lower back side on either the left side or right side of the body. Most of the time kidney pain may dull, piercing pain, sharp and will sometimes happen on and off. Sometime kidney pain is felt like lower back pain. But there have a ways to distinguish kidney pain from the lower back pain. The lower back pain will get better when you apply heat therapy, and will get worsen during movement and with exercise. But kidney pain will not get better with the heat therapy. You can identify the kidney pain by applying this technique.

Where does the kidney pain hurt?

  1. In one of the both flanks, in the area between lower ribs and the hips.
  2. Deeply into the upper abdomen on the right, left or both of the side.
  3. The pain from the kidney stone which lodge into the ureter can exude from the flank region toward the groin, genitalia and inner thighs.

What does the kidney pain feel?

Description about the kidney pain:

  1. Acute or sudden pain.
  2. Persistent or chronic pain.
  3. Mild or severe pain.
  4. Sharp, dull pain.
  5. Cramping or colicky.
  6. The kidney pain is often, not always.

Kidney pain location

The kidneys are usually bean shaped inner organ in our body. It is one of the vital organs of the body’s urinary system. The major functions of the kidneys are to remove toxic substance from body, filter the blood, and eliminate body waste product as a form of urine. Both kidneys are also maintained our body’s water and electrolytes balance. Kidneys also perform some excretory functions, such as kidneys release several hormone that needed by the body, helps to generate red blood cells, help to control our body’s blood pressure and regulate also.

When our kidney obtain any injury or our body got a certain types of infection that affecting our kidneys, results kidney pain may be present. The kidney pain location is vague because usually the pain is coming from our internal organ so it is very hard to detect exact kidney pain location. But in order to make define that the pain is appeared from the kidneys and it is always better to know about the anatomical location of the organ in our body.

There is a couple of kidney in our body and both of the kidneys are located on the part of our body just under the diaphragm at the back side of the inside layer of abdominal cavity. Normally the right kidney is situated at the lower position than left kidney and it’s all happen because of liver. Just like other inner or internal organ of our body, these kidneys are also supported by an adipose tissue.

Normally the location of kidney pain is at the back and lower back side. But other than kidney pain, the painful sign coming from other area or organ are also felt at the back. Usually the painful symptoms can be coming from pancreas, liver, colon, spleen and back muscle. Women with the back pain sometime may also consider as menstrual pain and also ovulation.

There are several ways to manually detect, if the pain is come from the kidney. To detect the kidney pain location, at first you have to know about the exact location of the kidney and back pain. When the pain felt into the flank area on lower part at the rib cage, then it is specially related to the kidneys. But the lower region of the middle back area is not usually the kidney pain location. On the other hand the pain on the middle area or the lower back is normally caused by the muscle straining.

Another way to identify the kidney pain, at first you have to know about the characteristics of kidney pain. Normally the kidney pain is very sharp and it is really severe pain. Kidney pain is felt in a wave like manner. On the other hand aching and dull pain at the beck area is not likely to be associated to the kidney. When the pain become severe at every movement, the pain is more likely to musculoskeletal in the nature. A constant and steady pain is not also caused by the kidney. But if the pain is provoked by a simple touch on the kidney area on the flank region, then it may be due to kidney infection.

Risk factors of kidney pain

Kidney pain may happen or occur due to injury to a kidney, inflammation or swelling of the kidney and infection or inflammation of kidney. The pains from the kidney dispose in the flank region or the lower back, just under the ribs and also it can extend up to testicles. The pain due to muscle strain, arthritis and spinal problems can mistake for few problems into the kidneys. The kidney stone and the infection into the kidney are one of the major causes of kidney pain.

Kidney infection is normally accompanied by different symptoms including burning during urination, urinary infection, bloody urine, frequent urination, nausea, fever. On the other hand the pain due to the kidney stone are tends to come and go. But the condition likes polycystic kidney disease; kidney cancer and enlargement of the uterus develop typically without any pain.

Is kidney pain painful?

Either chronic or acute kidney failure by itself is normally painful. The kidney failure means severe destruction of the kidney function, but the kidney is an organ that is usually not damaged in early phase of the kidney failure. Kidney pain is causes due to kidney failure like severe kidney infection or the kidney inflammation. Fatigue, decreased or increased urination, unintentional weight loss, nausea, shortness of breath, swollen ankles and hands and pale and itchy skin are the major symptoms of kidney failure. Severe kidney failure may also cause pain in the flanks.

Types of kidney pain

Kidney pains are different types such as:

  1. Sudden Kidney Pain.
  2. Throbbing Kidney Pain.
  3. Dull Kidney Pain.
  4. Bilateral Kidney Pain or Pain in Both Flanks.

Sudden kidney pain

Major causes of sudden kidney pain including:

  1. pelvi-ureteric junction or the Obstruction of the ureteropelvic junction, that most commonly happen in children. It is the obstruction of upper part of the ureter because of surgery, infection or congenital disorders.
  2. Acute hydronephrosis: means swelling of kidney due to filling with the urine, mostly causes due to stone into ureter.
  3. Blood clots into ureter: that occurs due to kidney tumor, kidney injury, sickle cell anemia or hemophilia.
  4. Acute renal infraction.
  5. Renal vein thrombosis.
  6. Renal papillary necroses: that is occurred due to liver cirrhosis, diabetes and mainly occurs in women.
  7. Loin pain hematuria syndrome: occurred in women who take oral contraceptives.

Throbbing kidney pain

Throbbing, pulsation kidney pains that can radiate down or up in the back and this pain may last for several seconds to few minutes, and that can be caused by:

  1. Blockage of urine flow: that may happen due to the ureteropelvic junction obstruction, ureteral stone or stricture after surgery.
  2. Kidney inflammation.
  3. Renal vein thrombosis.
  4. Cystinuria.
  5. Berger’s disease: that causes kidney inflammation.

Dull Kidney Pain

The common causes of dull kidney pain including:

  1. Renal abscesses: are normally a localized collection of pus within a kidney, which is usually, occurs as a complication of infection. Normally a doctor can detect a palpable mass in the loin.
  2. Fungal bezoars: that may occur after the kidney transplantation process or due to diabetes or long-term antibiotic treatment.
  3. IgA nephropathy or Berger’s disease: it is one kind of kidney inflammation.
  4. Polycystic kidney disease.
  5. Chronic hydronephrosis: that happens due to gradual blockage of urinary tract such as due to kidney stone and kidney surgery.
  6. Kidney tumor, cyst or cancer: that gradual development of flank pain and also blood in the urine.
  7. Narrowing kidney artery: that is happen due to atherosclerosis steady ache in the flank, ischemia, blood in urine and high blood pressure.
  8. Nutcracker syndrome: that causes blood in urine and left flank pain.
  9. Idiopathic loin pain haematuria syndrome.
  10. Retroperitoneal fibrosis: is the development of scar tissue into the area around the kidneys.

Symptoms of dull kidney pain

The major symptoms of dull kidney pain including:

  1. Mild, dull ache.
  2. Nausea, vomiting.
  3. Discomfort and tenderness in the right left or both flanks.
  4. High fever and chills.
  5. Occasional symptoms: Stiff neck, loss of appetite, diarrhea.
  6. Blood in the urine.
  7. Frequent urination.
  8. Urge to urinate.
  9. Burning pain during urination.
  10. Cloudy and foul smelling urine.

Bilateral Kidney Pain or Pain in Both Flanks

The major causes of Bilateral Kidney Pain or Pain in Both Flanks are including:

  1. Kidney infection.
  2. Kidney inflammation.
  3. Glomerulonephritis : such as post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, and IgA nephropathy.
  4. Polycystic kidney disease: blood in the urine, flank pain, recurring urinary tract infections.
  5. Nephrocalcinosis: symptoms are usually caused by kidney stones.
  6. Bilateral hydronephrosis.
  7. Renal vacuities: the Henoch-Schönlein purpura or polyarteritis nodosa, and Wegener’s granulomatosis.
  8. Retroperitoneal fibrosis.
  9. Serum sickness.
  10. Sickle cell anemia.

Causes of kidney pain

Kidney pain basically arises from injury or infection of kidney and the most common result of kidney pain are including fever, blood urine and pus and urinary tract infection. However any such types of infection always does not lead to pain and making it hard to identify in initial stage. Bleeding into kidney due to injury, trauma or any other reason may also cause kidney pain. Many other reasons can also lead to pain in kidney like kidney cancer, polycystic kidney disease, lack of blood flow and horseshoe kidney.

Kidney stone

Kidney stone is one of the major causes of kidney pain. But the thing about kidney stone in that they do not actually causes kidney pain. Normally it does not hurt you when a kidney stone is form. Usually the kidney stone pain mainly comes when the kidney stone is passed. Often kidney stone will get you stuck into the ureter on the way from kidney to the bladder. Then the blockage of the ureter can cause the severe pain. Then the flow of urine from kidney into the bladder gets blocked that causes the kidney become swell with waste. This condition is mainly responsible for kidney pain.

Kidney infection

Kidney pain may also be causes due to infection in the kidney. Kidney infection is also known by pyelonephritis, which can causes inflammation into the organ tissue, which makes kidney swell to an abnormal size and shape. When the kidney gets extended like that and it causes a person severe or sharp pain in their back area. When a person’s kidney become infected, then they will most likely to suffer from some clinical problems like nausea, fever, vomiting, blood in urine, frequent urination, reduced urination and burning urination. Some medical treatments are available to treat kidney infection. Some antibiotics should apply immediately to prevent kidney infection from permanently damaging the kidneys.

Blocked urine flow

Sometime a patient or person may suffer from a blocked urine flow which is usually not related to kidney stone. But this may be a gradual obstruction which builds up over time. On the other hand it is the rare case where a person can feel a dull pain at first. It is one of the common causes of kidney pain.

Polycystic kidney

Polycystic kidney diseases in usually a hereditary condition or situation in which the multiple cysts are appear into the kidney. This condition leads to kidney enlargement or kidney swelling. This enlargement of kidney then may leads to renal pain or the flank pain. Here the pain is normally experienced into the abdomen rater then the back pain or flank pain. Kidney enlarger occurred with the passage of the time in the case of polycystic kidney disease.

Pain due to kidney vessel trouble

Arteriosclerosis of renal artery can also bring about the renal pain. It is one of the major causes of kidney pain. This condition can also be accompanied by the number of many other problems due to the failure of proper blood flow into the kidney. This condition is mainly responsible for kidney pain.

Urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infection is another common cause of kidney pain. Normally the urinary systems are involves ureter, urethra, kidney, and urinary bladder. And the infection in any of those organs can cause urinary tract infection. The major symptoms of urinary tract infection are fever with rigors and chills, blood in urine, vomiting, urgent urination, nausea and frequent urination. Urinary tract infection occurs more commonly in women.

Kidney cancer

Kidney cancer is a cancer that is originates into the kidneys. These kidney cancers are also major causes that occurs kidney pain. The kidneys are bean shaped organ and they are located behind of abdominal organs, with the one kidney on each side of spine. Renal cell carcinoma is one of the most common types of kidney cancer in adults. Other less common type’s kidney cancer also can occur. On the other hand young children are much more likely to develop types of kidney cancer that called Wilms’ tumor. CT scan is major treatment option to detect kidney cancer. Kidney cancer is another major fact for kidney pain.

Alcohol abuse

The problems associated with kidney are commonly related to the alcohol abuse. On the other hand alcohol can affect some renal hormone such as anti diuretic hormone. It may also produce dehydration by accelerate the urinary output. Excessive consumption of alcohol also raises the risk to develop atherosclerosis and also clot formation.


Arteriosclerosis only happen when the arterial walls are occupied by the fatty material. Normally the fats block the flow of blood thereby arteries to get hardened. This condition is one of the major causes of kidney pain. Drug therapy can help to decrease the causes of arteriosclerosis.

Other less common causes of kidney pain

Other less common causes of kidney pain are including:

  1. Bleeding in kidney.
  2. Horseshoe kidney.
  3. Hydronephrosis.
  4. Renal vein thrombosis.
  5. Urinary tract infection.

Symptoms of kidney pain

One of the common symptoms of ache and problems in kidney is intolerable pain into the back region. Normally the kidney pain is accompanied by much many other symptoms which become nearly impossible for patient to make differentiate the pain due to kidney and other flank pain. The major symptoms of kidney pain are including:

  1. Decreasing count of red blood cells.
  2. High Blood Pressure.
  3. Diabetes.
  4. Very little urine formation.
  5. Swelling in legs and feet.
  6. Less appetite.
  7. Decreased Mental Sharpness.
  8. Hiccups.
  9. Itching.
  10. Chest pain.
  11. Fatigue.
  12. Vomiting, Feverish and Nausea.
  13. Restlessness and queasy.
  14. Pain in the lower back.
  15. Blood in urine.
  16. Frequent urination.
  17. Burning urination.
  18. Painful urination.
  19. While urinating and abnormal color is detected.
  20. Urine with excessive unpleasant smell.
  21. Extreme pain in lower abdomen.
  22. Noticeable colored swelling into hands and face.
  23. Joint pain.
  24. Nail abnormalities.
  25. Painful menstruation.
  26. Stabbing pain into the upper back area.
  27. Weakness.
  28. A lump in the flanks or the upper abdomen.
  29. Body swelling.
  30. Anorexia.

Kidney pain diagnosis

Self-diagnosis of urinary organ connected pain isn’t counseled because it is incredibly risky. Whenever the preceding symptoms area unit found in a very patient, rather than self-doctoring or self-medication, correct doctor ought to be consulted. A doctor can checks the condition of the patient like vital sign, heart rate, rate and temperature so as to look at the state of health.

Physicians also will check the signs and symptoms of any urinary organ connected disorder. Physical examination and excretory product check are conducted. A medical practitioner can check the center or lower a part of the patient’s back to search out any sensitive space associated with tender pain. The excretory product check can confirm if the patient has any history of tract infection. Overall, the medical practitioner can recommend you various procedures for your next examination.

Some technique to diagnose kidney pain

It is possible to diagnose kidney pain by using several medical techniques including:

Full blood count

It is one of the major diagnostic tools to detect kidney pain. It will determine the number of blood cells specially the white blood cells. If white blood cells count is high, then it means that there have presences of infection. It is possible to determine the amount of hemoglobin by using this technique.

Urine culture test

It is another major technique to diagnose kidney pain. It is possible to determine the causative agent behind the infection.


By using this technique it is possible to determine the presence of virus that causes kidney infection. This technique is also important for detecting the main etiological agent of kidney infection.

Blood culture

Blood culture is very important to detect urinary tract infection or renal infection that causes kidney pain. It is also very important clinical technique to determine kidney infection and kidney pain.

Intravenous pyelogram

It is one kind of X-ray technique that specially designed for the urinary tract and kidney. This technique is mainly applied to detect the size, shape and location of kidney and ureter or urinary tract. This technique is also help to detect kidney stone.

Abdominal X-ray

This abdominal X-ray technique gives a portrait of kidneys, ureter and urinary bladder or urinary tract. It is possible to detect kidney stone by applying this medical technique.

CT scan

It is an imaging test to detect the position of kidney infection. A computer is use to view the internal image of abdomen and detect kidney infection. It is very important medical technique to detect kidney pain.


In this technique a sound wave is use to determine kidney infection. A magnetic wave and special computer is normally used to determine kidney infection or urinary tract infection. it is another major technique to determine kidney pain.

Treatment of kidney pain

Kidney pain treatment is mainly depended on the severity of pain and the types of pain. Major treatment options of kidney pain are including:

Medical treatment

You can take antibiotics medication with your regular pain killer to reduce kidney pain. But you must take prescribe medication and follow your doctors rules. Infection required antibiotics when other treatment is symptomatic. But over the counter pain killers may helps but you should be avoided.

Surgical treatment

It is the last stage of kidney pain treatment. Due to acute kidney failure, or when kidney becomes fully defected, then surgery must need as a treatment of kidney pain. On the other hand when medications are failed to dissolve kidney stone, then surgery must needed to eliminate kidney stone.

Diet mediation

Some diets are mainly responsible for formation of kidney stone such as those foods containing calcium oxalate including chickpea carrot, cauliflower and turnips. You have to avoid these foods to risk free from kidney stone. You have to eat much more foods that containing more amino acids.

  1. You should consume over ten glasses of water per day that will keep far from kidney stone formation. By drinking much more water, the fluid will pass into the urinary tract and thus flushes out all harmful bacteria from body. Excessive consumption of water is also very important to remove kidney stone.
  2. You have to intake much more vegetable that make you kidney much better. Some liquid containing fruits like grapes, oranges, watermelons, cranberries and other juicy fruits is very important to remove kidney stone. Those foods also decrease the chance of formation kidney stone. Cranberry has antibiotic properties that prevents harmful micro-organisms from assaultive our body. Cranberries may get replaced as supplements within the kind of tablets or capsules and recent or dried powder.
  3. Patients have t intake more vitamin C containing food to avoid kidney complication. You can also take some vitamin C containing capsule to avoid the kidney stone formation.
  4. You have to avoid coffee, soda containing drink or acidic containing drink.

Prevention of kidney pain

Prevention is much better than treatment. You can prevent kidney pain by following some healthy lifestyle such as:

Drink sufficient water

You can prevent tour kidney pain if you regularly drink sufficient amount of water. Elevated level of fluid will help you to reduce kidney pain.

Avoid alcohol

You must avoid excessive amount of alcohol consumption to keep your kidney batter. When you consume much more alcohol then your kidney have to do excess work to eliminate toxic product from body. Alcohol is major factor of all types if kidney disease.

Avoid smoking

If you are a smoker then also have a great chance of kidney disease with heart disease. You have to build up healthy lifestyle to keep far from all types of disease.

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