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Dr. Redd
Dr. Redd, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 153
Experience:  Board Certified in Internal Medicine. I have been in full-time private practice for over 15 years.
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My kidneys are hurting. Why and what can I do to stop it?

Customer Question

My kidneys are hurting. Why and what can I do to stop it?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Redd replied 7 years ago.
<p>I am not sure that you can assume the pain is from your kidneys. Many times I have patients who tell me their "kidneys are hurting" and the pain is instead due to muscle pain/strain in their back, involving the muscles that run along each side of the spine. It is important to determine where the pain is actually coming from. </p><p> </p><p>Kidneys are an internal organ, and cause pain when they are "swollen," as from an infection (called pyelonephritis), or irritated, as from a kidney stone. Growths/tumors on the kidneys can sometimes cause pain as well. A blockage in the ureters that drain urine from the kidneys can also lead to a swollen kidney and discomfort. However, in all these instances of kidney-associated pain, it is far more likely that the pain is on one flank or the other ... it would be unusual for both kidneys to develop a painful problem at the same time. Kidney problems that cause pain require a doctor to help with the diagnosis. If you have a fever, or see blood in your urine, then it is is urgent that you be evaluated soon.</p><p> </p><p>So ... since you say the problem is your kidney<strong><u>s</u></strong> (plural), I can't help but wonder if the pain is actually coming from the muscles that support your back. It would be more common for you to have both left- and right-sided pain from these muscles, rather than from the kidneys. You may think the pain is from the kidneys, but it is really from the muscles that are over them. In that case, over-the-counter treatments would include acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), naprosyn (Alleve), or ketoprofen (Orudis KT). The sports creams with salicylates (such as Aspercreme) can also help. Again, if you do not have a fever or blood in the urine, it might be worth a try to treat it as muscle pain. If you are not improving, a visit to your physician is advised to help clarify the origin of the pain.</p>