Kidney Pain location

The kidneys are bean-shaped organs located in the abdomen, adjacent to the middle section of the back. It may be noted that the right kidney is located somewhat lower as compared to the left kidney, due to the occurrence and shape of the liver. The precise positioning of the kidneys is in the “retroperitoneal cavity” which lies just below the diaphragm on both sides.

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The kidneys are vital organs and perform the important function of maintaining the homeostatic balance of the fluids in the body. They help in filtering the blood and remove harmful toxins and unwanted matter from the body via urine. The kidneys aid in managing the electrolyte concentrations and regulating acid-base balance.

Kidney pain is considered as one of the primary symptoms of kidney abnormalities and can be caused due to various conditions like kidney infections, kidney stones, polycystic kidney disease, and kidney cancer.

Kidney pain location is mostly associated with pain affecting the flanks, in the lower back region, below the rib cages. Sometimes, kidney pain location may be associated with pain in ‘the small of the upper back.’ Such pain generally passes from the spine or from the muscles of the back. It can be sharp similar to stabbing and often continuous. The pain may get aggravated with lifting or bending over and may spread to the middle of the back, as opposed to remaining on either side above the kidneys. In rare cases, the kidney pain location may travel to the groin and even affect the testicles of men.

Kidney Pain location:  Different causes, symptoms and treatment

As discussed above, kidney pain location is usually related to occurring in the flank part of the back. Such pain is normally sharp, intense and felt in waves. Some of the medical conditions that result in such kidney pain are as follows:

  • Kidney stones: One of the major causes of kidney pain is the presence of kidney stones. The condition is caused due to crystallization of urine components into tiny, hard substances, which in turn results from imbalance of the minerals and fluids. Kidney stones can obstruct the ureters and stop the flow of urine. This can then lead to non-removal of urine from the kidneys, resulting in swollen kidneys.

    Kidney stone pain location

    The kidney pain resulting from presence of kidney stones is regarded as ‘colic’, i.e. it is experienced in waves. The kidney stone pain commences in the left or the right flank and travel down. Patients have reported kidney stone pain to be one of the worst kinds of pain that can be felt. Other accompanying symptoms include vomiting and nausea. The condition can be treated with medicines or can be surgically eliminated. Patients are advised to drink lots of water and fluids to aid the removal of kidney stones. Kidney stone pain can be alleviated with the intake of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

    Kidney infection: Infection of the kidneys is also known as pyelonephritis. The condition results in inflammation of the kidney tissues, which is what causes the kidney pain. There is stretching of the pain-sensitive capsule that envelops the kidneys, as well as swelling of the kidneys, which lead to kidney pain. Such pain is severe and sharp. Other accompanying symptoms include vomiting, nausea, high fever and tenderness in the affected region. Kidney infections are cured with antibiotics. Pain is reduced with painkiller medications.

    Urinary tract infection: This is another major cause of kidney pain, particularly in women. Urinary tract infections are mostly caused by the gram-negative bacteria. It primarily occurs in the bladder, but can travel to the kidneys. When this happens, then it can result in kidney pain, along with fever, vomiting, abdominal pain and chills. UTIs are treated with antibiotics

Dull and achy kidney pain: Kidney pain is generally intense and sharp. Dull and achy kidney pain is uncommon, but can result due to presence of below listed health conditions:

  • Polycystic kidney disease: It is a genetic kidney disease, leading to development of many cysts and eventual enlargement of the kidneys. The disorder can cause dull and achy kidney pain. It can be experienced in the front portion of the abdomen, as opposed to the back area. Polycystic kidney disease may be treated via kidney transplantation or kidney dialysis
  • Obstructed flow of urine: Besides kidney stones, there are a number of other disorders like an enlarged prostate or chronic bilateral obstructive uropathy, which can cause obstructions in the passage of urine. This leads to dull, aching kidney pain. The treatment is carried out as per the cause of blockage
  • Kidney cancer: In certain rare instances of kidney cancer, the malignant tumors can grow and damage the kidney capsules, leading to dull, aching, and persistent kidney pain. Treatment of kidney cancer involves surgical removal of the tumor.

In rare cases, trauma or injury to the kidneys that cause bleeding of the kidneys can also result in kidney pain. It may be noted that one can prevent the onset of kidney diseases and thereby kidney pain by intake of a healthy, balanced diet, regularly exercising and drinking plenty of liquids.


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