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What is the Connection Between Lower Back Pain and the Kidneys?

By Alicia Sparks
Updated Feb 23, 2024
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Various health conditions can cause pain in the lower back, and a number of those conditions are related to the kidneys. Lower back pain that is sharp and comes in waves is a common symptom of a trapped kidney stone or a kidney infection. Although dull and constant back pain is rarely a symptom of a kidney problem, when it is, the problem can be as serious as cancer. Since most kidney problems require medical attention, a person suffering from lower back and kidney pain should see his or her health care provider. In the meantime, over-the-counter pain medication and heat can help the sufferer alleviate the pain.

In order to determine whether there is a connection between lower back pain and the kidneys, the sufferer needs to understand how kidney-related back pain usually feels. Many people mistake dull and constant back pain with kidney problems, but back pain associated with these organs is usually sharper and more sporadic. In other words, most kidney problems that cause back pain will cause sudden, sharp waves of pain rather than constant, dull aching pain. Still, a dull lower back pain may be connected to the kidneys. A dull, aching and constant pain could mean anything from kidney cancer or polycystic kidney disease to a blocked urine flow or a bladder spasm mimicking kidney pain.

Several other common health conditions can cause a connection between lower back pain and the kidneys. For example, a kidney stone lodged in the ureter can cause sharp pains that come in waves. A kidney infection can also cause a sharp and aching lower back pain once the kidney becomes swollen and stretched. Both of these conditions can be accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and a fever. Other kinds of lower back pain associated with kidney problems include an injury that has caused bleeding in the kidney and an artery blockage that causes the organ’s blood supply to be cut off.

It’s impossible to properly treat a kidney condition until the person knows exactly what the problem is. Most health conditions associated with lower back pain and the kidneys require the attention of a medical professional. Even kidney infections usually require prescription antibiotics. Until he can see a health care professional, a person experiencing lower back pain can use over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Heat can also help alleviate a backache, so the sufferer might try a hot shower or bath or use a heating pad.

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Discussion Comments
By fify — On Apr 25, 2013

@MikeMason-- I had a kidney infection last year, it causes severe lower back pain. I had never experienced something so painful before this.

Since it's an infection, it also causes fever and fatigue.

If you have these symptoms, you need to see a doctor right away, it can be very serious. If you have an infection, they will give you antibiotics. After you finish the antibiotics, you will have to get a kidney function test to make sure everything is okay.

By stoneMason — On Apr 25, 2013

Aside from lower back pain, what are some other symptoms of a kidney infection? I think I might have this.

By candyquilt — On Apr 24, 2013

I get kidney sand from time to time. The last time I had them was about six months ago. When I develop kidney sand, I experience chronic lower back pain. The pain will last for weeks until the sand is out of my system.

My body expels the sand on its own although I do help with some natural remedies. I know that in some people the sand turns into kidney stones which is much more painful to pass and sometimes requires surgery.

Anyway, one thing I do to help my body pass the sand is I boil parsley and celery and drink the water after it has cooled down. I drink it first thing in the morning and as many days as my back pain continues. Green tea and root beer also help get rid of kidney sand.

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