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Back pain caused by kidney stones is a unique type of pain caused by tiny stones blocking the flow of urine between the kidney and the bladder. You can recognize the difference by the type of pain felt. Back pain due to another condition tends to cause muscle aches and soreness in the spine or muscle tissue. Back pain from kidney stones, however, comes in cycles and is described as very intense pain that begins on the right or left side. Kidney stone pain often moves from the original location to the lower abdomen and may even be felt, at times, in the groin area as a stone moves about inside the ureter.
Besides back pain, a person with kidney stones may also experience nausea, vomiting, fever and urine tinged with blood. For some, kidney stones also produce back and abdominal spasms. It is not uncommon for individuals with kidney stone pain to also have symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
In order to clearly diagnose back pain caused by kidney stones, a medical professional will perform a urinalysis and an x-ray to determine if a stone is present and to determine whether or not it is likely that it may naturally pass during urination. If it is too large to pass, a stone may need to be removed via surgery or dissolved using medications. Once stones have passed, dissolved, or been removed, any pain should subside.
Pain that is relieved by topical pain medications, heat treatments, or massage is not caused by kidney stones. The unique type of kidney pain caused by stones cannot be relieved as easily. In fact, a person experiencing back pain from kidney stones will often find it difficult to be still and will be compelled to constant movement because of the pain. Back pain due to muscle injury or spinal injury, on the other hand, causes a person to react differently, as physical movement tends to cause the discomfort to intensify.
Back pain from kidney stones also does not produce an aching pain, which is common to other types of back pain. Instead, a person will feel a sharp, very sudden pain that also causes severe cramping. Many people describe it as a pain attack, due to its sudden onset, and characterize it as the worst pain they have ever felt. While back pain can be debilitating in general, for many people, it pales in comparison to kidney stone pain.