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Flank Pain [Uncertain Cause]

The flank is the area between the upper abdomen and the back. Pain here is often related to the kidney–an infection or a kidney stone. Other causes of flank pain include spinal arthritis, pinched nerve from a disk injury, back muscle strain or spasm.

The cause of your flank pain is not certain and further tests may be needed.

Home Care:

  • You may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) to control pain, unless another medicine was prescribed. [NOTE: If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.]

  • If the cause of your pain is coming from the muscles, ice or heat may give relief. During the first two days after injury, apply an ICE PACK to the painful area for 20 minutes every 2-4 hours. This will reduce swelling and pain. HEAT (hot shower, hot bath or heating pad) works well for muscle spasm. You can start with ice, then switch to heat after two days. Some patients feel best alternating ice and heat treatments. Use the one method that feels the best to you.

Follow Up

with your doctor or as advised by our staff for further evaluation if your symptoms are not improving over the next few days.

Return Promptly

or contact your doctor if any of the following occur:

  • Repeated vomiting

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Increasing flank pain

  • Pain that spreads to the front of the abdomen

  • Dizziness, weakness or fainting

  • Blood in your urine

  • Burning with urination or frequent urination

  • Increasing pain in the leg

  • Numbness or weakness in the leg