What are flank pain?Flank pain is a one or two-sided pain between the navel and the kidney / lumbar region.
Flank pain is a one or two-sided pain between the navel and the kidney / lumbar region.
Flank pain can be dull, but also tearing or colicky as with gallstones or kidney stones. There are many nerves, blood vessels and muscles in this part of the body. Pain from other parts of the body can also manifest as flank pain.
There are very different causes for flank pain. One of the most common for flank pain is a pyelonephritis, in which sufferers feel violent, colicky flank pain in the kidney area.
Mostly it starts with a harmless bladder infection that spreads untreated. Kidney and ureteral stones can also trigger violent colic because they jam in the ureter and block it. A rarer cause of flank pain is kidney cancer. He is treacherous and only causes severe symptoms in the advanced stage.
Other causes of flank pain may be tension in the back muscles due to unfavorable movements or spinal problems such as scoliosis, bad posture or herniated discs. Accidents and injuries can also cause flank pain. Nerves, which are narrowed by strong tension of the area, can also cause flank pain. Harmless is there the side piercing after straining in the flanks.
Radiation pain from other parts of the body, such as the intestine, liver, bile and pancreas, can cause unpleasant flank pain. And the shingles (herpes zoster) can cause severe flank pain.
Diseases with this symptom
- renal colic
- bilious attack
- Kidney stones
- kidney cancer
- Kidney stones
- disc prolapse
- bladder infection
Diagnosis & History
The diagnosis of flank pain is always in the hands of a doctor, preferably a general practitioner or internist. First, a history is made to find out the cause of the flank pain, when and how often they occur, more complaints and any pre-existing conditions.
Subsequently, the patient is examined in detail. At the same time, the doctor taps the kidney area to see if the kidneys are painless or not. An ultrasound image can make this area visually visible and show changes. Flank pain always makes a blood and urine examination useful. If these examinations show no findings, other imaging procedures such as X-ray examinations, CT, etc. may provide information about the cause of the flank pain. Or there is an examination of other organs, which can come as a cause in question.
If left untreated, flank pain can cause serious complications. For example, kidney stones block the ureters, leading to urinary retention and severe inflammation to sepsis (blood poisoning) or ureter rupture. The same applies to liver, bile, pancreas, which can cause severe inflammation, sometimes life-threatening.
When should you go to the doctor?
The term flank pain refers to the side of the upper body occurring stinging, dull or spasmodic pain sensations. Flank pain may or may not be bilateral. If flank pain quickly disappears and does not return, it is to assume a harmless cause of the episode. However, if they persist, an immediate doctor's visit is strongly advised.
For flank pain a doctor should be consulted to clarify the cause. At best, the person concerned first seeks out his family doctor. This will let describe the nature of the flank pain and the place of their appearance. With further questions in his medical history, the family doctor circled possible causes in order to subsequently decide on the referral to a specialist. Patients with flank pain are mainly referred to general practitioners, internists or urologists, occasionally to orthopedists or gynecologists.
Common causes of flank pain are kidney stones and bladder infections. Furthermore, the musculoskeletal system or a disease of the female reproductive organs can be the cause of flank pain.
Due to the seriousness of the possible diseases, which may be the result of flank pain, it is easy to understand how important an early visit to a doctor is. As varied as the causes of flank pain, the treatments are also shaping. Modern diagnostic methods such as ultrasound or computed tomography play prominent roles in the diagnosis process. Some illnesses may require hospitalization for surgery.
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Treatment & Therapy
The treatment of flank pain depends on the particular cause. A harmless side piercing is improved by taking a break. Renal pelvic inflammation as the cause of flank pain is treated with antibiotics to reduce inflammation and prevent complications.
The treatment of a ureteral or kidney stone via painkillers, a lot of hydration and exercise or the stone is smashed by shock waves. Kidney cancer usually needs to be treated surgically. In case of colicky flank pain from gallstones, a doctor will advise to remove the bile, as they can cause discomfort again and again.
Flank pain from other inflammatory diseases are also treated with antibiotics and by sparing. If spinal problems are the cause of flank pain, an orthopedist should be consulted to clarify the cause.
Outlook & Forecast
The further course of flank pain depends heavily on the cause of the pain. In some cases it is an inflammation of the kidneys or the bladder. Also, ureteral stones and kidney stones may be responsible for the flank pain. This pain is very uncomfortable for the patient and lead to a complete restriction of movement.
However, the flank pain may also be caused by an incorrect posture or by a herniated disc and must then be treated accordingly. It is advisable to always consult a doctor for flank pain to rule out complications and serious illnesses.
The treatment is always causal and leads in most cases to a positive disease course. In the case of inflammation, they are usually treated with antibiotics. The pain itself can be limited for a short time with pain medication, whereby the patient must also take a lot of fluid.
In the case of cancer, there is an operation whereby it can not be predicted whether the patient is completely healthy after the removal or if the cancer has spread further. In case of physical complaints usually a therapy or a physiotherapy takes place.
The prevention of flank pain also depends on the cause of the pain. A bladder infection should be treated and cured, so you can usually avoid a pyelonephritis. Sufficient clothing in the cold season helps to avoid flank pain caused by cold. If kidney or gallstones are suspected, seek medical attention to determine the cause of the flank pain and initiate appropriate therapy.
Spinal problems can be counteracted by avoiding incorrect postures, if necessary, have them treated by the orthopedist. Pains due to inflammatory diseases are also immediately in the hands of a doctor to prevent the inflammation from spreading.
You can do that yourself
Flank pain should always be clarified first by a doctor. Depending on the cause, various home remedies and measures can be used concomitantly. Flank pain resulting from kidney problems can be alleviated by drinking a lot. Kidney stones or pyelitis help green tea, which protects the urinary system and relieves the pain in the flank. Even applications with fresh lemons and flaxseed dissolve kidney stones.
In case of severe pain in the lower back, a warm bath with anti-inflammatory medicinal herbs helps. In addition, the aching area should be kept warm by a wrap or a cherry stone pillow. If the flank pain is caused by a bacterial disease of the kidneys, antibiotics and homeopathic preparations help. In severe kidney disease often only helps dialysis. Accompanying this bed rest, warmth and a healthy diet are usually prescribed.
Diuretic home remedies such as nettle tea, field horsetail tea or dandelion tea help with acute flank pain. In addition, it is important to prevent the symptoms by taking in enough liquid and keeping the diet as low in salt as possible. Flank pain due to back and spine problems can be overcome by physiotherapy or yoga as well as heat and cold therapies.