Lower back pain vs kidney pain

Updated April 17, 2017

When you experience lower back pain, it's normal to feel worried that you may be suffering from a kidney infection, but the two conditions are actually easier to tell apart than you might think. Kidney problems make themselves known in many ways that back problems don't. By checking for a few telltale signs, you can feel confident in knowing whether you need to be examined for a more serious condition.


Your kidneys are located at the bottom of your back, along your sides and above the hips.

Back Pain

If you have a dull, aching pain that gets worse when you move around, it's probably back pain. This kind of pain usually gets better with a hot pack or a massage.


If lightly pressing on the area where you feel the pain makes it worse, the pain may be coming from your kidneys. In this case, you'll want to get checked for a kidney infection.


If you are having a kidney problem, you're very likely to have other symptoms besides back pain. You could have a fever, chills, nausea or painful urination, or you might find blood in your urine.

Kidney Stones

There is no confusing a kidney stone with back pain. Kidney stone pain comes in waves and is very severe. It can be so bad that people have compared passing a kidney stone to childbirth. If your pain is a constant ache, it's probably not a kidney stone.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Amy R. Balfour has been a professional writer since 2005. She worked as a marketing copywriter with a major toy manufacturer, and she has written packaging copy, product copy, ads, corporate communications, web copy, catalog copy, newsletters, articles and press releases. Balfour earned her master's degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California.