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How can you tell the difference between muscle pain and kidney pain?

I know the kidneys are in the lower back. So how do you tell the difference between regular back pain and kidney pain?
This is a great question, and you are right that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between kidney pain and low back muscular pain, since both pains originate from basically the same region of the body. However, there are a few things that are helpful to distinguish the two pains. First, muscle pain tends to be lower in the back, close to where the hipbones are, and located just to either side of the spinal column. Often, when you press on the involved muscle, the pain will be worse, or the muscle will feel 'tender'. Also muscle pain tends to be worse with bending or movement. Kidney pain, on the other hand, tends to be deeper and higher in the back, located under the ribs. The pain tends to be more difficult to describe and less like to feel like a cramp or muscle spasm. Also, there may be radiation of kidney pain down the leg into the groin. If you have pain in your lower back, you should definitely see your primary care doctor as soon as possible. They can examine you closely and help you figure out what might be the cause and which treatments might be necessary.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.

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