What is Flank pain?
Flank pain is generally a pain in a part residing in your upper abdomen or back or sides, it can be a left flank pain or a right flank pain. The region of pain is generally in areas below the ribs and above the pelvis. Pain in the back is one of the top reasons for the need to call a doctor. A physician should be consulted in case of persistent flank pain. There are three main reasons for flank pain: Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), Kidney Stone appendicitis and musculoskeletal problems like the strain in a muscle or pinched nerve. The kidney plays an important role in removing the waste of our body, the kidney is cleaned by means of urine traveling out of our body. The best solution to this s drinking plenty of water daily. This helps in smoothing filtering process.
UTI (Urinary Tract infection) is caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract. A urinary tract includes kidneys, bladders, ureters, and urethra. There are two variants in UTI: lower UTI and upper UTI, which depends on the location of the flank pain, if the pain is in lower back or abdomen then its lower UTI if the pain is in upper back or kidney then it is a sign of upper UTI.
Kidney stones are nothing but crystals that formed from the urine in the kidneys. They cause severe right flank pain. The pain in kidney stone may also radiate down as the stones travel in the urinary tract i.e., ureters, bladder and out through the urethra. The patient may also experience blood through urine, painful urination, nausea or vomiting.
For small size stones, plain medicines with plenty of water are enough, this helps the stone to pass away through the urine itself. But the large stones do not fit into the urinary tract and need to be removed by surgery lithotripsy. It is a process of breaking up the stones into small pieces.
The appendix is a part of the body at the end of the colon in the lower right area of the abdomen. The bacteria and feces can sometimes accumulate inside the appendix. This results in infection in the appendix which is nothing but a generation of pus. This results in swelling up of the appendix that puts pressure on the nearby blood vessels. This is also a reason for right flank pain. If this swelling increases and if it leaks the infected appendix can still cause abscesses to form. If the bacteria and fecal matter spill in the abdomen, this may result in a serious emergency.
Appendicitis cause pain along the lower right side of the abdomen, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating, a low fever, and can result in both diarrhea and constipation. The pain might start off as a mild in the beginning but will grow with time.
Sometimes, flank pain on right side or left side is caused by musculoskeletal problems like lifting something too heavy, increased physical activity or repetitive motion. Spinal arthritis or pinched nerve also result in flank pain. Muscle related pain will increase and usually gets worse with physical activity, pressure or actions that use those muscles.
Some other reasons for flank pain can be:
- Any Kidney disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Blockage of Urinary tract
- Bladder or Kidney cancer
To treat such pain at home, use anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, and ice the area for about 20 minutes at a time every few hours.
Flank pain is a bit tricky to diagnose and require multiple sets of tests to identify the exact point of the problem. Thus, it is always best to consult a doctor if you have a pain which does not go away for a long duration or even cases showing signs of infections such fever, fatigue or body aches.
The flank pain is described by International Code for Disease in 2013 as flank pain icd 9 and in 2017again as flank pain icd 10. The flank pain was defined by ICD as “the pain that is felt anywhere between the groin and chest. Some common causes of flank pain are a spinal fracture, shingles, and kidney stones. Symptoms include rash, dizziness, constipation, blood in the urine, and fever”.
The icd 9 code for flank pain was an abdominal pain diagnosis code 789.09 and icd 10 code for flank pain is unspecified abdominal pain R10.9.
All causes of flank pain have some urinary symptoms. If we reduce the pain due to exertion or joint pain, the flank pains are generally related to urinary systems. Keep a track of symptoms that our body gives out and then taking proper consultancy from the doctor is of key importance.
As it is said precaution is always better than cure, here are some preventive measures:
Drink as much water as you can (minimum of 8 glasses in a day).
Do not stop or restrain yourself from passing urine.
Do not use body sprays around the urinary area.
Take proper rest and exercise daily.
Eat fibrous foods in your diet