Flank Pain
Many Possible Causes

Flank pain is pain felt on one side of the back between the lower ribs and the top of the pelvis. It often indicates a kidney problem. If there is severe pain, fever or chills, nausea, blood colored or rusty appearing urine, and urinary frequency or urgency you should consult a physician immediately.

Is It Kidney Disease?

Some of the more common kidney diseases to suspect are:

  • Kidney stones.
  • Infection.
  • Tumors.

Left Flank Pain

Pain can also be from other body organs or tissue that are found in the same area. Organs to consider with when the pain is on the left side are:

  • Small intestines and colon.
  • Left kidney and ureter.
  • Left lumbar facet joints.
  • Left lower back muscle strain or trigger points.
  • Left ovary.

Right Flank Pain

With right sided pain you need to look at:

  • Small and large intestines.

  • Right kidney and ureter.
  • Liver.
  • Gallbladder.
  • Right lumbar facet joints.
  • Right back muscles.
  • Right ovary.
  • Appendix.

One can easily be fooled into thinking that the pain is coming from a particular organ when, in fact, it may be another organ or even referred pain from trigger points.

Some questions your doctor will ask you that will be helpful when trying to pinpoint the origin of pain are:

Questions To Consider With Pain

  1. Is the pain isolated or more generalized?
  2. Does motion or rest have any affect on the pain?
  3. Is it worse with coughing or sneezing?
  4. Is the pain constant, intermittent or occasional and infequent?
  5. Do you notice a fever or chills?
  6. Is that an urgency to urinate or frequent urination?
  7. No you notice any numbness?
  8. Is the are tender to touch​
  9. Is the pain sharp, dull, achy, etc.

With a proper consultation, history, exam finding and additional tests (if indicated) a diagnosis will be arrived at and appropriate treatment will be administered. Some additional testing that may be ordered s are x-ray, MRI, CT scan, urinalysis and/or blood chemistry.

When all tests are negative and all conditions have been ruled out, the most probable diagnosis if myofascial pain syndrome, otherwise known as trigger points.

Don't Be Fooled

Caution needs to be taken so that all possibilities for the pain are considered and a wrong diagnosis is not prematurely rendered. The physician and the patient should never assume just because it appears to be one thing or another that it is indeed that.

Once the cause of the flank pain is determined and an accurate diagnosis is assigned then appropriate care, both for the pain and resolution of the condition, can be administered.

Any pain, that can not be associated with an obvious cause, should be assessed fully and as soon as possible to ensure a better outcome to care.

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