Back Pain or Kidney Stones?

May 7th 2016

Kidney stones can cause severe discomfort and lead to possible complications if left untreated. Understanding the type of back pain associated with kidney stones and the additional symptoms that accompany the condition allows sufferers to take the appropriate measures in seeking prompt medical attention and treatment.

Lower Back Pain

While lower back pain can occur for a variety of reasons, back pain associated with kidney stones is unique in the fact it typically occurs on either the right or left side and may travel into the groin area. The pain tends to be severe and radiates from the kidneys, which are located directly above the right and left pelvic arches in the lower back. General lower back pain not caused by kidney stones tends to remain localized and may be relieved by changing positions.

Nausea and Vomiting

In addition to radiating lower back pain, individuals suffering from kidney stones often feel nauseated and experience episodes of vomiting. Continual stomach pain may also accompany the symptoms.

Urinary Difficulties

Individuals with kidney stones often experience a host of urinary symptoms that include painful urination, bloody urine and urinary frequency. The urine may also emit a foul odor and appear cloudy.

Treatment for Kidney Stones

While smaller kidney stones often pass on their own with no problems, larger stones can put individuals at risk for urinary tract infections and kidney damage if the condition goes untreated. Treatments for kidney stones include increased fluid intake to allow the stones to pass naturally, medications to decrease acid in the urine and shock wave treatments to break up the stones. In certain cases, surgery may be recommended.


Kidney stones are crystallized deposits that develop when there is excess waste and not enough fluid in the kidneys. The stones consist of minerals and salt acids that bind together in response to the fluid imbalance. In certain cases, kidney stones are small enough to pass through the urinary system without symptoms. However, large stones that are difficult to pass can cause blockages in the urinary tract, leading to severe pain and infection in certain cases.

Back pain is a common symptom of kidney stones; however, it can be easy for sufferers to mistake their symptoms for simple lower back pain. Understanding the type of back pain that typically accompanies kidney stones as well as the additional symptoms associated with the condition can help to ensure sufferers seek immediate medical attention when symptoms arise.

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