Kidney back pain is usually felt near the kidneys, which are located just below the ribs on each side of the upper back. Every person has a right and left kidney that makes urine to get rid of liquid waste and excess water from the body.


If kidneys are causing a problem, there are often signs in the urine. These might include blood if there are kidney stones, infection or cancers.

The following are common symptoms and reasons why you may have kidney problems:

  1. Back pain associated with kidney problems tends to be localized in the upper back and sides. It can occur on either one or both sides and may at times radiate into the groin especially if the patient is passing a kidney stone. Kidney stone pain is colicky in nature maintaining that it will not improve with movement or positioning and is sharp and crampy in nature.
  1. Stones. If kidney stones are larger in size and causing kidney blockage so that urine cannot go into the bladder, it causes crampy, sharp, upper back pain. This pain can be extremely severe and patients’ cannot find a comfortable position and often complain of nausea and vomiting. 
  1. Infection. Kidney infections may or may not be associated with stones and may cause blood, the burning sensation when urinating and fever.
  1. Blood in the urine that can be seen with the naked eye always requires evaluation for possible cancers.

“Our kidneys are made up of nearly one million nephrons that help the kidneys to filter out waste,” said JRMC Urologist, Dr. Robert J. Bates. “It is important to keep our kidneys healthy as they regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells and much more.”

To keep your kidneys healthy, try:

  • Healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Drink plenty of fluid

Thinking it might be your kidneys? Contact our urology team and schedule direct: (701) 952-4878.

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