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Kidney Location

Knowing your kidney location could be important information when you are having back pain and don't know why. The most common cause of back pain is muscle strain, but if you haven't done anything to injure yourself and you haven't been an accident you need to consider other causes of back pain.

Your Kidney Location and Anatomy

You have two kidneys and the kidney location is on either side of the spine at the edge of your ribs. Each kidney is contained within a strong fibrous covering called the renal capsule.

The renal capsule is tough and protects the kidney, but it does not allow it to expand. Whenever you have problems that affect the kidney, such as nephritis, kidney infection symptoms, or kidney failure symptoms, the kidney becomes very swollen and tight within the capsule causing pain.

The top half of each kidney is protected by the ribs, but the bottom half of each kidney is protected only by muscle and skin. In most cases the right kidney is slightly lower than the left. Perhaps this is to make room for the liver. On the left side the spleen is just above the kidney, but it is much smaller and does not force the kidney so low.

Notice how your kidneys lie just below the bottom edge of your ribs.

Image thanks to Gray's Anatomy via Wikimedia Commons

"right at the bottom edge of your ribs"

Pain from your kidney will be felt as back pain. Kidney back pain, will be felt on the right or left side of your mid to low back, right at the bottom edge of your ribs. When the pain from your kidney becomes severe it may also radiate to your abdomen.

Kidney stones back pain may start in the area of the kidney and then migrate to the abdomen and your back will feel better. As the stone continues to move through the ureter the pain will leave the abdomen and move into the groin. Then when the stone leaves the ureter, and it passes into the bladder, the pain may stop altogether.

"your back will be very tender at the kidney location"

When your kidney is swollen and the renal capsule becomes tight and painful, you will have mid to lower back pain, and your back will be very tender over your kidney. Anything that jars or bumps your kidney, such as a small jump or a soft punch in that area, will cause severe pain.


Whenever You Realize that You Might...

Anytime that you think you may be having problems with your kidney, such as kidney infection symptoms or kidney failure symptoms, is important to see your doctor. These things do not usually get better on their own.

Your doctor can examine you and the order the appropriate tests to find out what is causing your pain. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to a cure. You can learn more about kidney disease at The National Kidney Foundation


Maybe these will also help:

Kidney Infection Symptoms

Kidney Failure Symptoms

Kidney Back Pain

Kidney Stones Back Pain

Return from Kidney Location to Causes of Back Pain

Return to Living with Back Pain


Discover our Very Popular Newsletter "Yes You Can"   

Check our "Back Issues" and see what you have been missing