Urology of Greater Atlanta

Causes of Kidney Pain

Urology Of Greater Atlanta

There are certain types of pain that are instantly recognizable. Then there are others that are unclear, such as pain in your kidneys.

If your kidneys hurt, schedule an appointment at Urology of Greater Atlanta today! All our doctors are board-certified, so you can trust that the highest quality of care will be rendered. Schedule an appointment at one of our many locations throughout Georgia today!

What Is Kidney Pain?

Kidney pain refers to discomfort, a dull ache, or sharp pain originating in one or both of your kidneys. If you are experiencing kidney pain, it may indicate something is wrong.

Where Is Kidney Pain Usually Felt?

You may feel kidney pain in the following places:

  • Under the lower part of your rib cage (one or both sides of your kidneys)
  • Your middle or upper back
  • Groin
  • Anywhere in your urinary system

What Does Kidney Pain Feel Like?

Kidney pain may vary in intensity from a mild twinge or dull ache to a sharp, stabbing pain. It can be a sign of a variety of conditions, such as kidney stones, a urinary tract infection (UTI), or a kidney infection.

Other symptoms of kidney issues can include:

 These additional symptoms can be a sign of a more serious kidney problem.

Kidney Pain vs Back Pain

For the untrained eye, it can be easy to confuse kidney pain with back pain since they can seem very similar. However, they have different causes and symptoms. Kidney discomfort is often located in your middle or upper back and can be sharp or dull and felt deep within, while back pain is usually felt in your lower back.

If you experience kidney pain, it may also be accompanied by additional symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or a fever.

Kidney infections, kidney stones, or inflammation can cause kidney pain. It can also be caused by kidney injury, kidney trauma, or kidney damage. In contrast, pain in your back can be caused by a range of issues, including muscle strain, disk problems, or arthritis.

Discomfort in your kidneys usually will not subside when you shift your body or rest. In contrast, back pain may ease when you shift positions or rest.

Common Causes of Kidney Pain

There are several common causes of kidney pain, including:

  1. Kidney infection: Kidney infections can cause pain in one or both kidneys, as well as fever, chills, and nausea.
  2. Kidney stones: These hard mineral deposits can cause extreme pain as they move through the urinary tract.
  3. Polycystic kidney disease: This inherited condition leads to the growth of cysts in the kidneys, which can cause pain and other symptoms.
  4. Urinary tract infections: In addition to causing pain while urinating, a urinary tract infection can also cause pain in the kidneys.
  5. Hydronephrosis: Occurs when the kidney becomes swollen due to a blockage.
  6. Kidney cancer: This can be a cause of kidney pain. As the kidney cancer progresses, the pain intensifies.

How Can a Medical Specialist Identify Kidney Pain?

Kidney pain can be diagnosed by a medical specialist in various ways. Your doctor will perform a physical exam and review your medical history. One of the most common methods of diagnosis is through imaging tests, such as:

  • Ultrasounds
  • CT scans
  • MRI scans
  • Blood and urine tests 

How Is Kidney Pain Treated?

Depending on the underlying cause, the treatment for kidney pain can vary. Some common approaches to treating kidney pain include:

  1. Pain medications
  2. Antibiotics
  3. Lifestyle changes
  4. Surgery – In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to treat underlying conditions such as kidney stones (small kidney stones may pass on their own without the need for surgical intervention) or tumors that are causing kidney pain.

If you are experiencing kidney pain, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for medical advice and treatment options that are specific to your situation. Failure to receive adequate treatment can result in kidney failure or renal vein thrombosis (where a blood clot forms in one of the veins in your kidney.)

Our board-certified specialists at Urology of Greater Atlanta are here to help! For your convenience, we have multiple offices located throughout Georgia. Contact us today!

Stockbridge, Country Club Drive

290 Country Club Drive Suite 100, Stockbridge, GA 30281

Blue Ridge, Blue Ridge Drive

4799 Blue Ridge Drive Suite 107, Blue Ridge, GA 30513

Sandy Springs

1100 Lake Hearn Drive NE STE 320
Atlanta, GA 30342

Griffin, West College Street

230 West College Street Bldg. C, Griffin, GA 30224

Spivey Station

7823 Spivey Station Blvd Suite 210, Jonesboro, GA 30236


4143 Hospital Drive NE Covington, GA 30014