In order to distinguish between back pain and kidney pain you need to identify exactly where the pain is located, how constant is the pain and whether there are any other symptoms you are experiencing.
Below are some of the factors that help to distinguish if the pain is kidney pain or back pain.
- Widespread pain across the lower back and buttocks is more likely back pain caused by injury to back muscles.
- Pain specifically between the ribs and hips is more likely kidney pain. Kidney pain is most often located on the side of the back in the area between the ribs and hips. This area is called the flank.
- Pain between the ribs and hips accompanied by pain in abdomen is more likely kidney pain. Enlarged or infected kidneys can cause inflammation towards the front of the body in addition to the back. If you only have abdominal pain with no flank pain, that pain is not likely kidney pain.
- Pain that is constant is most likely kidney pain. It may decrease or increase throughout the day but it never goes away completely. Most causes of kidney pain including urinary tract infections and kidney stones will not stop hurting on their own without treatment. Back muscle pain on the other hand can heal themselves and the pain can go away.
- If you have done a lot of heavy lifting or have bent over for a long period of time and then you develop pain, your pain is more likely back pain.
- Pain only on one side of the flank may be an indication of kidney pain.
- In some cases of back pain you may experience numbness which can be felt on buttocks & legs. Numbness can even go all the way down to the toes in extreme cases.