Living and Wellness Why Do My Kidneys Hurt (Flank Pain)? By Kidney Disorders, April 21, 2015 Musculoskeletal problems are the most common cause of back pain, but occasionally, back pain can be a symptom of kidney problems. If you are experiencing pain that moves towards your side and groin area, or if you have a fever or urinary symptoms, then your kidneys could be the source. Your Kidneys and Flank Area Your kidneys are located below your ribs, which is why a problem with these organs can often be felt in your upper back or flank, or side area. Kidney and Flank Pain Causes Kidney or flank pain typically feels like a dull ache on one side of your upper back. It can be caused by a number of different infections or injuries. The most common causes of flank or kidney pain are: Kidney stones Pyelonephritis — kidney infection Polycystic kidney disease Kidney infarction Hemorrhage of the kidney Kidney cancer or tumor Renal vein thrombosis In addition to kidney problems, upper back and side pain can be caused by many different things, including physical injury, arthritis, or gallbladder, or gastrointestinal diseases, so it’s important to know when to seek care. When Should I See My Doctor About Kidney (Flank) Pain? You should see your doctor immediately if you are experiencing the following symptoms: Constant, dull pain in one side of your back or flank Body aches, fatigue, fever Recent urinary tract infection (UTI) The HealthBeat Newsletter: The More You Know, the Healthier You Live Enter your email to subscribe Sign Up I understand that by providing my email address, I agree to receive emails from UPMC. I understand that I may opt out of receiving such communications at any time. If you suddenly experience severe kidney pain, with or without blood in your urine, you should seek emergency medical care. Sudden, severe pain can often be a sign of a blood clot or hemorrhage, and you should be evaluated immediately. For more information on kidney pain, talk to your doctor, or visit the UPMC kidney disease webpage. Do you have flank pain? Check out our article on the 3 Common Causes of Flank Pain to learn more.