Flank pain is a discomfort that develops in the area on either side of the lower back, between the pelvis and ribs. It is usually on one side. Flank pain is common, may be due to a muscle strain, and is often temporary, but chronic flank pain may flag a serious medical condition, such as urinary tract infection or kidney problems.

It is important to talk with a doctor if you experience flank pain. The healthcare professionals at Yashoda Hospitals are always ready to guide you in the right direction.

Types of flank pain

Flank pain can be sharp or a dull ache, mild or severe, temporary, or chronic. It’s usually worse on one side but sometimes occurs on both flanks. Urinary tract infections and kidney stones are usually the underlying reasons.

Symptoms of flank pain

Symptoms of flank pain include a dull ache or cramp-like sharp pain, usually intermittent. Symptoms like fever, rash, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhoea, blood in the urine, or pain during urination could indicate kidney trouble.

Causes of flank pain

Here are some causes for flank pain:

  • Infection, fracture, or arthritis of the spine
  •  Urinary tract infection
  •  Spinal disc disease
  • Gallbladder, gastrointestinal, kidney, or liver infection or disease
  •  Muscle spasm
  • Kidney stones
  • Shingles (pain with one-sided rash)
  • Dehydration
  • Tietze’s syndrome
  • A pinched nerve in the back
  • Pneumonia, pancreatitis, appendicitis (less common)
When to see a doctor

If you experience high fever, chills, rash, dizziness, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, or blood in the urine, you need to seek medical attention immediately. It is also better to consult a doctor if you have unexplained and persistent flank pain. Yashoda Hospitals offers state-of-the-art exceptional patient care. To book an appointment, contact Yashoda Hospitals.

Risk factors for flank pain

Risk factors for flank pain may be diseases of the gallbladder, liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal tract. Arthritis is another risk factor, as are Crohn’s disease and Tietze’s syndrome.

Possible complications

Flank pain, if ignored, can lead to infection, abscess, or stones in the kidney and bladder. Flank pain may also be accompanied by shingles and spinal arthritis.


  • Stay hydrated
  • Limit alcohol
  • Use protection during sex
  •  Eat a fibre-rich balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly

Treatment for flank pain

Your doctor may require you to take certain tests such as blood tests, imaging tests (ultrasounds or X-rays), abdominal CT scan, cystoscopy, and urinalysis to determine the underlying cause of flank pain.

Treatment includes:

Minor flank pain: Rest and physical therapy

Kidney infections: Antibiotics or hospitalisation. Those caused by kidney stones may require a minor procedure called lithotripsy (using high-frequency sound waves to break kidney stones)

Arthritis in the spine: Prescription anti-inflammatory medication

Spinal problem: Surgery

It is best to talk to your doctor, who can guide you on the best course of treatment. To book an appointment, contact Yashoda Hospitals.


Flank pain may be mild or severe, intermittent or chronic, and may signal an underlying issue with your kidneys, liver, or gallbladder. It is important to get on the right course of treatment if you are experiencing flank pain that persists and cannot be explained. Yashoda’s tertiary care multi-speciality hospital is among the best in the country. To book an appointment, contact Yashoda Hospitals.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Flank pain

Gastrointestinal problems may cause flank pain, which may in some cases be accompanied by nausea, dizziness, fever, rash, blood in your urine, or pain when urinating.

If the flank pain is temporary and mild and there are no other symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, or fever, it is most likely due to a muscle strain because of bad posture or sitting for a prolonged period.

Flank pain develops on either side of the lower back, between the pelvis and ribs. Abdominal pain is usually felt between your chest and groin, referred to as the stomach region.

Flank pain may indicate a kidney problem, especially if it is accompanied by fever, rash, nausea, chills, blood in the urine, and frequent urination.

Flank pain is experienced on either side of the lower back, in the region between the lower ribs and hips. It may be due to injury, disease, inflammation, or infection.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.