You're going about your day as usual when you start to feel pain in your back. You want to treat it so you can get back to your day. However, before you can treat it you have to determine if it's back pain or kidney pain. 

It can be difficult to differentiate back pain vs. kidney pain because of their proximity to each other. So in this brief guide, we'll discuss the ways you can differentiate between the two and how to treat the pain. 

Back Pain 

When you experience back pain it's mainly felt in the lower back area under the rib cage, also known as the lumbar spine. It can be felt through most of the back in some cases though. The pain is mostly coming and going, usually peaking after high-intensity work and easing with rest.

Musculoskeletal pain isn't usually severe and often feels like a dull ache. However, if the pain is related to nerve, disk, or bone weakness issues it may feel like a sharp stabbing pain. Other symptoms you may notice include: 

  • Aching or stiffness of the whole body
  • Fatigue 
  • Sleep problems or restlessness
  • Twitching or burning muscles

Most back pain can be alleviated with rest, heat application, and over-the-counter medicines. However, in some severe cases, you should speak to a back pain doctor here. For example, if you're unable to move at all this is extremely severe and you should seek attention immediately. 

If you notice any of these combined pains you should speak to a doctor to make sure there are no serious problems:

  • Numbness or tingling pain that radiates to the limbs
  • Difficulty standing or walking
  • Swelling of legs, ankles, or feet
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden bladder or bowel issues

Kidney Pain

Kidney pain is typically felt in the flanks, that is the bottom of your ribs to your hips. Usually, kidney pain is only painful on one side but in rare cases, it can affect both sides. The type of pain you will feel depends on what is causing the pain. 

A kidney stone will feel like constant steep pain that can radiate into the inner thigh or lower abs. The severity of the pain will fluctuate depending on how the kidney stone is moving and where it is. If the kidney stone is small enough it may pass on its own, but larger ones may require a doctor visit. 

An infection will feel like a dull aching pain. To stop the pain, you will need to visit your doctor to get antibiotics.

Some common symptoms of kidney pain include: 

Unlike back pain, kidney pain will not subside until you address the cause of the pain. To prevent most kidney pain, be sure to drink lots of water and schedule regular preventative checkups. 

Learn More About Back Pain Vs. Kidney Pain

We hope you can now tell the difference between back pain vs. kidney pain. We hope your pain eases up soon. While you rest your back be sure to check out the rest of our blog for all your health and wellness needs.