It’s natural to assume aches and pains originating from somewhere near your spine are related to your backbone or its parts. But before making this assumption, know that your kidneys are located on either side of your spine in the back of your abdominal area by your rib cage. This is why it’s possible for kidney-related issues to produce symptoms misinterpreted as spine-based problems. Here’s what you need to know about telling the difference between back and kidney pain.
Self-diagnosing isn’t an exact science, nor should it be a substitute for a proper diagnosis from a doctor. However, you may be able to get a good idea of whether you’re dealing with back or kidney pain that warrants medical attention by paying attention to symptoms and sensations you may be experiencing.
Spine-related discomfort tends to come and go or get worse at certain times. For instance, you might have a spike in back pain when you bend, twist, reach, or sit a certain way. Some spine-related symptoms will get better when lying down or become worse when you get up from a seated position or start to move around.
Kidney-related discomfort, on the other hand, has a tendency to be more steady and consistent. For example, you might have dull pain that never completely goes away or symptoms that steadily become more severe. However, your symptoms and sensations aren’t likely to change with your position, how you move, or what activities you do.
Location is another thing to consider when differentiating between back and kidney pain. Spine-related discomfort can affect any segment or region of your spine, although the lower and upper back areas are affected most often. Location-based pain associated with your spine may include:
• Neck, shoulder, or arm pain
• Lower back pain that extends to your hips or legs
• Shooting pain extending to your extremities
Kidney pain is more likely to be localized, which means it’s generally felt where the kidneys are located on either side of your spine. If kidney pain extends further, it’s likely to be centered in the middle area of your spine.
Kidney problems can produce symptoms that aren’t likely to be related to anything associated with the spine. Some of these include:
• Discolored and/or odorous urine
• Discomfort while urinating
• Frequent urination
• Passage of gravel-like stones in urine
• Chills that may be combined with fever and/or nausea
Note: Spinal infections may also cause fever, chills, and nausea, but they’re a rare source of spine-related issues.
If you’re still not sure if your discomfort is back pain or a kidney-related issue, see your primary care physician for an initial examination and diagnosis. If a spine-related problem is suspected, you may be referred to a Beverly Hills spine surgeon to be evaluated further and receive a more specific treatment plan.
If you have chronic or severe back pain, no matter what the cause, relief is available. Whether back pain needs to be alleviated by nonsurgical methods such as physical therapy or a surgical procedure such as a state-of-the-art spinal fusion alternative, Beverly Hills residents trust the spinal health experts at The Spine Institute to diagnose and treat their back pain and get them back to their normal activities as soon as possible. Call one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.