ZocdocAnswersCould the pain in my back be a kidney infection?

Question

Could the pain in my back be a kidney infection?

My back starting hurting bad last week when I was sleeping. Since then, I?ve had an aching feeling in my lower back. Is this the sign of a kidney infection?

Answer

I am sorry to hear that your back is so uncomfortable! I will say, based on the type of symptoms you are describing, that it is very unlikely that this pain is from your kidneys! Although it is true that the kidneys are in the lower back, a kidney infection usually has other symptoms, such as fever and burning or pain with urination. On the other hand, it sounds suspiciously like you "slept wrong" on your back and because of this are experiencing pain. What happens here is that the twisted posture sets off a spasm in the muscles that run up and down the sides of the spinal column, called the paraspinal muscles. This "paraspinal muscle spasm" can be quite uncomfortable but, fortunately, usually improves on its own. You can try an anti inflammatory medication like ibuprofen or naprosyn. Heat and cold packs may also be of some use, as may back stretching exercises. If you find that the pain is not improving or if it is worsening, then this would be the sign that you should go see your primary care doctor. They will be able to determine if you have something else going on, such as a pinched nerve.

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