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Back Pain Vs Kidney Pain: Differences Worth Knowing!

Every disease or ill health condition has certain characteristics which are specialized only to that particular condition or illness. Knowing the symptoms, characteristics, causes and triggers, etc about the diseases will help one take effective step in treating the same. In this current article we will be talking about the differences between the back pain and the kidney pain, taking into consideration some of the most important factors.

Back Pain Vs Kidney Pain

Differences Between Back Pain And Kidney Pain Based On The Location/Area Showing The Pain Symptoms:

Back pain can be experienced anywhere in the lower back or in the buttocks.

While, Kidney pain usually occurs in the portion between the ribs and hips (also known as flanks) and also may be experienced in the upper abdomen.(1)

Differences Between Back Pain And Kidney Pain Based On Characteristics Of The Pain:

In case of the back pain, the pain usually changes from time to time and is not constant.

However, in case of the kidney pain there is usually a constant pain until the last, it maybe a sharp pain (in kidney stones) or maybe dull pain (in kidney infection)(1)

Difference Between Back Pain And Kidney Pain Based On The Types:

Taking the back pain into account first, it can be divided into neck pain, upper back pain and lower back pain. They can also be categorized as acute back pain, where the pain exist for 4 weeks, sub acute back pain, pain for 4 weeks to 12 weeks, and any back pain beyond 12 weeks is termed to be chronic back pain.

However, in case of the kidney pain, the pain can be either due to kidney stone or that of the pain of kidney infection. Usually kidney pain due to kidney stones is very much severe, while the pain due to kidney infection might be mild. However, both the type of kidney pains are associated with symptoms like vomiting, nausea and fever.

Difference Between The Back Pain And Kidney Pain Based On Causes:

Now, coming to the causes we can also differentiated between the back pain and the kidney pain in the following ways.

Back pain can be caused due to many factors including sciatica, backbone fractures (Vertebral body fracture), fracture of pedicle, fracture of lamina, disc bulge, disc herniation, spinal stenosis, osteoporosis, metastatic vertebral cancer and paravertebral muscle spasm.

However kidney pain occurs with kidney stones, kidney infection (pyelonephritis), glomerulonephritis, kidney cancer and renal infarction.

Difference Between Back Pain And Kidney Pain Based On The Triggers:

There are triggers for back pain and also kidney pain which might initiate the pain signs and symptoms.

Most common triggers for back pain include prolonged sitting in one posture, long time standing, moving etc.

On the other hand, kidney pain is mainly triggered by excessive intake of fluids, i.e. in case of ureteropelvic junction obstruction. Though moving is not included in the list of triggers for kidney pain.

Difference Between Back Pain And Kidney Pain Based On The Area Of Its Spreading:

Now when we look for the differences between back pain and kidney pain based on the area of their spreading, we can say back pain spreads to back of the thigh, buttock, calf, foot and also the toes in one or both the feet. While kidney pain usually spreads to the lower abdomen, inner thigh etc.

Difference Between Back Pain And Kidney Pain Based On The Signs And Symptoms:

“Signs and Symptoms are the key to the absolute management of any condition” Before we come to the final section of differentiating the kidney pain and the back pain based upon the treatment and management, why not have a look on the specific signs and symptoms that makes these two types of pain look different from each other?

There are some notable difference between the back pain and the kidney pain. In case of back pain, bruise can be seen when there is a pain due to back muscle injury. There are also visible signs characterized to the back pain caused due to spondylitis etc. Visible signs of back pain caused due to Scoliosis include uneven hips and curved spine.

However in case of kidney pain, there are no major visible signs except the visible flanks in case of large kidney tumor and also in case of kidney diseases.

Differences between back pain and kidney pain can also be marked taking into account the signs of tenderness in touch. Usually in case of back pain, especially in the pain occurring due to muscle strain on the back, there are signs of tenderness. Tenderness in touch can also be a noticeable sign in case of spondylitis and the tenderness is seen in the places near to the spine.

However there are no major signs of tenderness to touch seen in kidney pain, except sometimes near the kidney.

Back pain and kidney pain can also be differentiated based upon the palpable changes. In case of back pain there is normally muscle tightness with the initiation of the pain. However only in case of kidney tumor there is a lump, else there are no other major signs seen.

Now let us point out the differences between back pain and kidney pain based on their symptoms.

Associated symptoms of back pain include numbness and muscle tightness in foot, toes etc. while the kidney pain is associated with symptoms like fever, vomiting, nausea, swelling of body, excessive urination, blood in urine etc.

Difference Between Back Pain And Kidney Pain Based On The Treatment And Management:

Here we come to the most important section on the differences between back pain and kidney pain based on their treatment and management procedures.

Back pain can be treated with the pain relieving medications along with some of the therapies. Some of the most common therapies used to treat back pain include the physical therapy, massage therapy, heat therapy, cold compression therapy, electrotherapy, acupressure etc. In rare cases surgical treatment is also advised by the doctor after diagnosing the cause and level of back pain.

Diving down towards the kidney pain, the pain can be treated by diagnosing the actual cause of the kidney pain and taking the necessary treatments accordingly. Usually kidney pain treatments involve medications; antibiotics etc to eradicate the pain due to kidney infection; while there may be a necessity of surgery in case of kidney stones in case the medicines do not work.


No matter what may be the cause or how minimal the seriousness of the pain may be or whatever may be the pain, i.e the kidney pain or the mild back pain, it is good to visit and consult a doctor with the approach of any kind of signs or symptoms so as to keep away from the danger of any complex issues.


Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 2, 2022

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