Low Back Pain or Kidney Pain

Low Back Pain or Kidney Pain
''Waist pain'' or ''Kidney pain''?
Before going any furthur,
let's understand the anatomy & position
of Back Muscles & Kidneys.
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The lower back consists of 5 lumbar vertebras,
Muscles and ligaments surrounding it 

Major muscle group: Erector Spinae, Multifidus, and Quadratus Lumborum

These 3 muscles are located on both sides of our vertebras
usually gets strain/ spasm / cramp
to the point where movement is impossible

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The kidneys are located underneath your ribcage above the waist.
Symptoms and associated conditions of kidney problem
Kidney stone (sharp pain), Infection (dull ache)
Mostly constant
Pain associated with kidney stone fluctuates depending on the location
Other symptoms include:
- fever and chills
- nausea and vomiting 
- cloudy or dark urine
- an urgent need to urinate 
- pain when urinate 
- a recent infection in your bladder 
- blood in urine  
- small kidney stones that look like gravel in your urine


Symptoms and associated conditions of back problem 

Back pain can occur anywhere on your back,
but most commonly on lower back or buttocks

Muscle pain feels like a dull ache.
If a nerve has been injured or irritated,
the pain is a sharp burning sensation
that may travel down your buttock to your lower leg or even your foot. 
Muscle pain may affect one or both sides,
but nerve pain usually only affects one side. 
Back pain may get worse with movement or if you sit or stand for a long time.
It may get better if you switch positions or walk around. 

Other symptoms of back pain
Swelling, tenderness with muscle spasm
Numbness or weakness in one or both of legs
(if it is due to a nerve issue) 
If you have back pain and can’t hold your urine or bowel movements,
you should be evaluated immediately. 

You may suffer
Cauda Equina Syndrome.
It can cause severe long-term damage to your spinal nerves
if not treated immediately!


Causes of Back pain: 

 Straining a muscle or ligament in the back 
Poor posture
Standing or sitting for an extended period
Muscle spasm or tension
Injuries to the back, such as fractures or falls
Damaged, dislocated, or ruptured discs
Abnormal curvature of the spine


Kidney pain: 

 Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Kidney stones, Kidney infections
Blood clots in the kidneys
Trauma or injury to the kidneys 

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Simple test to differentiate between back or kidney issue 
If the problem comes from your back,
certain movements of your back may trigger or worsen the pain. 

Movements such as bending forward, backward or sideways
will trigger or worsen the pain if your problem arises from back issues 

If the problem comes from your kidney,
movements of your back will not usually trigger or worsen the pain, the pain is quite constant.

Muscle injuries are usually caused by muscle imbalances,
when one group of the muscle is shortened,
the opposite group of muscle will be lengthened,
Both muscles are tight but one in shortened position and the other in lengthened position.
Tight muscles can be easily strained or injured due to loss of elasticity and loss of effective activation.
Besides, shortened muscles are also prone to spasm/cramp.
Thus, stretching can be used to loosen the tightened muscles. 



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Self stretching exercises

Hold for 15 secs and 4 reps for each exercise, 3 sets per day
If the pain does not relieves or gets worsen,
Please consult your physical therapist!

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Hug knee stretch 


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Child post stretch

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Side bending stretch


Credit to our Senior Physiotherapist, Suzane Siew


17 Sep 2021