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Alternative Names Return to topPain - side; Side pain
Definition Return to top
Flank pain refers to pain in one side of the body between the upper abdomen and the back.
Considerations Return to top
Flank pain often means kidney trouble. If flank pain is accompanied by fever, chills, blood in the urine, or frequent or urgent urination, then a kidney problem is the likely cause.
See also: Kidney stones
Causes Return to top
Home Care Return to top
Treatment depends on the cause. Follow your provider's instructions.
Rest, physical therapy, and exercise may be recommended for flank pain caused by muscle spasm.
Anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy may be prescribed for flank pain caused by spinal arthritis. Continue physical therapy exercises at home.
Antibiotics are used to treat most kidney infections. Plenty of fluids and pain medications are used to treat kidney stones. Hospitalization may be required for either condition.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have:
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
If the pain is related to an injury, your condition will be stabilized. Then, the health care provider will perform a physical examination and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:
The health care team may also monitor and record your fluid intake and output.
The following tests may be done:
References Return to top
Proctor DD. Approach to the patient with gastrointestinal disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders; 2007:chap 134.Update Date: 2/19/2009 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.