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Ask Dr. Arun Phophalia Your Own Question
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 31326
Experience:  MBBS, MS (General Surgery), Fellowship in Sports Medicine
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I have pain in the kidney area of my back on the right side

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I have pain in the kidney area of my back on the right side only.
However, the pain isn't constant, it changes depending on how I move. The pain ranges from 1 - 5 on a scal where 10 is excruciating pain. No pain when I lie down flat facing up or when standing upright. Any other positions bring some pain. I have no fever, no vomiting, or any other symptom except for one.
The right side of my stomach is numb as well. Its a patch of numbness the size of an open hand just to the right of my belly button. I can't feel if my fingers touch it, but I am capable of feeling hot, cold, and pressure but I can't feel a touch. Every now and then I feel a slight itch but no relief since I can't feel the scratch. If I dig my fingernail into the numb area, I feel it when it becomes painful but not before then. Can the two be related? What could be causing these two symptoms?

Your back pain and numbness in the stomach can be related. This is likely to be spine and soft tissue (muscle and spine ligaments) related for the following reasons;

1) The movements increase the pain.
2) Rest and standing posture relieves the pain.
3) Mid back spine supplies the nerves to the mid abdomen; thus the numbness.
4) Advil helps (musculoskeletal pain are helped by it).

You may continue with the Ibuprofen (Advil). Following other helpful measures would be;

1) Local analgesic cream.
2) Rest
3) Avoid any lifting or pushing / pulling weights or heavy objects.
4) Back brace.

Ideally you should consult an orthopedic or MD in physical medicine and rehabilitation (Rehab specialist). An MRI and nerve conduction velocity study should be done to establish and confirm the diagnosis. Physical therapy, deep electrotherapy would also help.

Please feel free for your follow up questions.


I would be happy to assist you further, if you need any more information.


Dr. Arun
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for the info.
Just making sure I was clear, the pain area is fist sized right above my right hip, almost at the edge of my back but not quite at the edge.
The numb stomach worries me as well. Is there any chance that its a kidney infection at all? Or are the symptoms totally different for that? And the pain in my back feels somewhat deep... not like the kind you feel near the skin. Its not bone deep but I can't tell if its muscular or not, how can I tell? And the Ibuprofen works somewhat.
I've been going about my day as normal but with a few precautions. I don't particularly feel pain when I lift things as long as I remain upright. Should I avoid that as well? It even hurts as I'm sitting down at about a 3 on the pain scale so its tolerable. So I'm standing while writing this. It limits my sleeping positions too unfortunately.

Since this is my 4th or 5th day with little improvement after resting, could it be something else at all? Would hot packs work at all? Or is the muscle too deep for it to be effective? It feels somewhat deep... but again I don't know what kidney pain feels like. I've had lower back pain before, but it was usually on the base of my back and felt muscular... this feels deeper and more ambiguous unfortunately.

I guess I want reassurance that this isn't something serious or life-theatening more than anything. I know there is a series of layered muscles on our backs but I've never felt them since they've never hurt so I can't tell what's going on.

Thanks again for your earlier response.
You are very welcome.

Thanks for the further information.

This is unlikely to be serious or life threatening. So please do not worry at all.

This does not seem to be kidney infection (fever, burning urination are the symptoms). There is a small possibility of it being a kidney or a ureter stone (ureter is tube joining kidney and bladder). But usually pain is constant, severe and is unrelated to the posture and does not subside on lying flat.

Numbness in stomach point to a pinched nerve in the back or ACNES (abdominal cutaneous nerve entrapment syndrome). The diagnosis can be confirmed by the subcutaneous infiltration of the local anesthetic like xylocaine. If the pain disappears completely, this substantiates the diagnosis. Abdominal wall pain can occur from nerve entrapment syndrome, irritation of intercostal nerve roots, anterior cutaneous nerve entrapment, rib-tip syndrome, myofascial pain and trigger points. Your doctor should consider these abdominal wall problems also,for your pain (especially in the absence of the visceral symptoms like nausea, vomiting, constipation, bloating etc).

You should avoid any kind of lifting till the symptoms subside (despite some are painless). With your further description, I would still keep it as a spine and muscle issue. Warm compresses or heating pad would be helpful, so you may consider it.

It is privilege assisting you.


I hope this was helpful to you. If it was, please remember to ACCEPT the answer so I can get compensated for my work. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask. I am truly privileged to help you, and I want to make sure that you are satisfied with the answer. Good luck!


Dr. Arun

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks. That follow-up helped quite a bit to ease my worries.
One lrst clarification though, my abdomen doesn't hurt at all.
I guess I said it in a confusing way before. What I meant was that I'm able to feel pain on the numb spot on my right abdomen when I'm actually subjected to external stimuli such as flicking or putting pressure. I did that to see if i'd feel it. If I flick the numb area, I feel the pain of the flick but not the actual touch. If I push on it with my finger, I feel the pressure but no feeling of touch. I found that to be very strange, especially if I can still feel cold and hot when subjected to cold and hot external stimuli like hot or cold water but no touching is felt whatsoever.
Does that change anything, from a diagnostic point of view?

Thanks again doctor.
You are most welcome.

The diagnosis does not change and remains same. The paresthesia (abnormal sensation), numbness and other description, which you mentioned are consistent with a spine and soft tissue issues we discussed.

Dr. Arun
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