Black woman with lower back kidney pain

The back is comprised of various muscles, ligaments, tendons, disks, and bones, according to MedicalNewsToday. When any of those components is compromised, it can result in back pain. Muscle spasms or tension, strained muscles, injuries, ruptured or bulging discs, arthritis, osteoporosis, and poor posture are a few examples of common issues that can cause back pain. Depending on what’s causing the back pain, it can usually be alleviated with rest, hot packs, ice packs, and over-the-counter pain medications that contain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), like ibuprofen.

Kidney problems can also cause back pain, but it’s not an issue that can always be treated with home remedies and anti-inflammatory medications. Once your doctor confirms the back pain is related to your kidneys, they’ll determine the best course of action. According to WebMD, one of the tell-tale signs that you’re experiencing kidney pain, as opposed to general back pain, is that kidney pain occurs in your lower back it doesn’t go away.

Your kidneys are about the size of your fist, and you have one on each side of your lower back below your rib cage. These bean-shaped organs are responsible for flushing water, acid, and waste from your blood through urine. They also produce hormones that cater to strong bones, balanced blood pressure, and the formation of red blood cells. If they’re damaged, lower back pain can be a symptom, as well as fever, vomiting, painful urination, and cloudy or bloody urine.

How to keep your kidneys healthy

Black woman drinking water

Healthline says that taking proper care of your kidneys is essential for your overall health, as they play a vital role in expelling waste and producing hormones. One way you can keep them healthy is by staying active and fit. Simply going for a walk, running, or riding your bike can help reduce your risk of chronic kidney disease. Eating healthy by opting for a low-sodium diet that consists of few processed foods is helpful as well.

It’s also important to monitor your blood sugar levels and blood pressure. It’s not uncommon for people with diabetes, heart disease, or high cholesterol to have issues with their kidneys. A blood pressure reading of 120/80 is considered healthy. Between that and 139/89 is a sign of prehypertension, and dietary changes may be required to lower your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is consistently 140/90 or higher, then it’s time to see a doctor.

Other factors that play into healthy kidney function include not smoking, drinking 1.5-2 liters of water a day, and being mindful of the number of over-the-counter medicines you consume.