Renal Calculi

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Info & Treatments for Kidney Stones & Kidney Disease

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Pain in the lower back can be a symptom of a problem with the kidneys. However, it can also be an indication of other problems, such as nervous, muscular or skeletal back pain. Back pain itself is a symptom, and pain arising from sources other than the back itself, including the kidneys, can be transferred to sensation as back pain. Here are some of the ways that a person can tell what the source of lower back pain probably is.


Some causes of pain in the lower back that are
not kidney-related include:

Nerve root syndromes -- for various reasons, a nerve in the spine is touched in ways it shouldn't be, resulting in pain. This usually arises from skeletal problems with the spinal column. Common causes are herniated disks, sciatica, spinal stenosis, spinal degeneration. Any injury to the spine, disk degeneration, or illness related to the spine can impact the spinal nerves and cause pain, most commonly in that part of the back where the injury is present, but in some cases in other parts of the body. When pain arises from any of these sources, obviously it is not an indicator of a problem with the kidneys.

Muscular problems are another cause of lower back pain. Sources of muscular pain (in the back and elsewhere in the body) include cramps, sprains, fibromyalgia, and some infectious diseases such as influenza. Injury to the muscles of the lower back (and also injuries to the spine itself) can result from improper lifting of heavy objects, trauma, or simply from moving incorrectly.

Continued below....

As with problems with the back itself or the spinal cord, muscular pain in the lower back has nothing to do with the kidneys in almost all cases. Other indicators of kidney disease should be present in order to diagnose kidney disease from lower back pain.

Oddly enough, many real kidney disorders, including chronic renal failure and many (although not all) cases of acute renal failure, produce no kidney or lower back pain at all. The illness is indicated by other symptoms such as sparse or nonexistent urination or blood tests for elevated urea and other waste materials or contaminants that are removed from the blood by healthy kidneys. Kidney problems that do cause pain generally fall into three categories, kidney trauma (physical injury to the organs themselves), kidney infections, and renal calculi or kidney stones.

Kidney Stones (Renal calculi)

Kidney stones or renal calculi are crystallized solids that precipitate from minerals in urine. Kidney stones can become lodged in the kidneys themselves or in the post-kidney urinary tract and can cause severe, acute pain. In most cases, kidney stones are self-correcting. That is, the body will eliminate or "pass" the kidney stone after a period of time, so that the only treatment required is monitoring and pain management. Larger kidney stones may require the use of lithotripsy (focused ultrasound bursts to break up the calculus) or in some cases more conventional surgery.

Kidney stones produce a very sharp, severe pain that is hard to mistake for any other sort of pain occurring in the lower back, whether from other kidney disorders or from non-kidney causes. The pain may also be located in the lower abdominal area rather than in the back. In addition, larger kidney stones will show up using medical imaging technology such as an ultrasound.

Kidney Disease

When kidney disease leading to failure of the kidneys causes pain, it is usually a more generalized and chronic rather than acute and severe pain in the lower back. The pain will be accompanied by other symptoms such as blood tests, difficulty urinating or reduced urination, etc. None of these symptoms should be taken lightly, nor should pain in the lower back, whether it has a kidney-related cause or not. The kidneys' functions are vital for good health. They remove waste products and toxins from the bloodstream. When this cleansing function fails, the buildup of waste chemicals and toxins can be a threat to health and even life, requiring artificial procedures such as dialysis or even a kidney transplant.

Tips For Keeping Healthy Kidneys

1. Keep your blood pressure down. High blood pressure can damage your kidneys. If you have high blood pressure, see a doctor about ways to reduce it through diet, exercise, weight control, and (if necessary) medication.

2. If you smoke, stop. Yes, there's yet another problem that smoking causes for your health, as if there weren't plenty already. It can contribute to kidney disease.

3. Drink plenty of water and other liquids. Water is the medium that the kidneys use to remove waste materials from the blood. Dehydration is a contributing cause to many kidney disorders as well as other health problems.

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