Lower Backache and Kidney Problems

One thing is for sure, and it’s that kidney pain and back pain are very difficult to distinguish without professional help. Kidney problems usually manifest as a dull deep tissue pain in the flanks, just under the ribs. These kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located along the back muscles of the upper abdominal region and sit opposite each other, on either sides of the flank. One or both sides of the flank area may pain, depending on whether a single or both kidneys have issues. In some cases, the pain can radiate towards the lower abdomen and groin areas too.

Lower back pains on the other hand tend to be in muscles and are due to some common back injuries. Some other causes of lower back pain include spinal problems like abscesses or fractures, aortic abdominal aneurysms, retroperitoneal fibrosis, radiculitis, rib pain, gynecological issues, shingles or muscle strains of the lower back, etc.

Pain in the flanks can be accompanied by symptoms including fevers, chills, nausea and vomiting, seizures, pain or pressure in the chest, shortness of breath or unexplained fatigue. Other symptoms include painful urination, reduced urine output or even swellings in the legs, ankles and feet. While urinary tract infections and kidney stones are the commonest causes of kidney or flank pain, other more morbid possibilities exist too. Some of these other types of kidney problems include glomerulonephritis, kidney cancer, blood clots or thrombosis in the kidneys, congenital polycystic kidney disease, hemorrhaging or bleeding within the kidney due to some blunt trauma or even toxicity of the kidney tissues by continuous use of NSAID medications. Compression of the kidneys due to a large tumor or sometimes even pregnancy, can lead to kidney pain too.

With so many possibilities at stake, diagnosing lower back pain and kidney issues can sometimes pose a dilemma. However, your doctor can prescribe certain blood tests and urinalysis which can throw up the possible culprit. Diagnosis is then made in conjunction with the patient’s history, physical examination and the laboratory results; in some case, an additional CT scan or an MRI of the abdomen and pelvis may also be requested. When the back pain is of sudden onset, and comes in sharp increasing and decreasing waves, it’s known as renal colic and is usually due to kidney stones or some blockage in the ureters of the kidneys.

When there is low back pain with fevers and chills, the urine should be checked for cloudiness, blood, culture as well as for frequency of urination to rule out urinary infections. If there is ever any acute-onset of lower back pain or a persistent lower back pain that is either dull or deep-seated or lasts more than a couple of days, do consult your doctor at the earliest to rule out the cause of the pain, as many other organs reside within the same area too. In some cases, when traumatic kidney injuries are allowed to persist, they can result in abnormal blood pressures, pulse and eventually, shock.

A timely visit to the doctor can prevent all these potentially dangerous eventualities.

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