Kidney Pain

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Kidney pain facts

  • The function and purpose of the kidneys are to remove excess fluid and waste products from the body.
  • The kidneys are organs that are located in the upper abdominal area against the back muscles on both the left and right side of the body.
  • Kidney pain and back pain can be difficult to distinguish, but kidney pain is usually deeper and higher in the back located under the ribs while the muscle pain with common back injury tends to be lower in the back.
  • Causes of kidney pain are mainly urinary tract infections and kidney stones. However, there are many other causes of kidney pain, including penetrating and blunt trauma that can result in a "lacerated kidney."
  • If a woman is pregnant and has kidney pain, she should contact her doctor.
  • Symptoms of kidney pain may include
  • Kidney pain can be on the left, right, or both sides.
  • Causes of kidney pain are diagnosed with the patient's history, physical examination, and lab tests, including blood, pregnancy, and urine tests. A CT scan or MRI of the abdomen and pelvis may be ordered.
  • Treatment for the cause of kidney pain depends upon the underlying cause, but in general, ibuprofen (Motrin), ketorolac (Toradol), and/or acetaminophen (Tylenol) are used for pain. Antibiotics are usually required if the underlying cause is bacterial infection.
  • Kidney pain can be prevented by avoiding those situations that are the underlying causes of kidney infection and/or damage.
  • The prognosis for someone with kidney pain depends upon the cause, and the majority of patients can have a good outcome when treated quickly and appropriately. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 4/21/2016
References
REFERENCES:

Wolf, J. "Causes of flank pain." Medscape. Updated Dec 01, 2015.
<http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1958746-overview>

National Kidney Foundation. "How Your Kidneys Work."
<https://www.kidney.org/kidneydisease/howkidneyswrk>

Urology Care Foundation. "Kidney (Renal) Trauma." <http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/kidney-(renal)-trauma>.

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