Causes of Flank Pain and its Treatment

Nowadays people visit doctors with a stitch or cramp near their abdomen or their back. So the question is what lives there. For this, you will first have to understand the anatomy of the human body. 

So there are multiple layers of the external oblique and internal oblique from the surrounding of the core. So there is a specific nerve that we need to know about the stitch. The first is the T12 subcostal nerve. It pierces through the abdominal layers and attaches to the trunk of the nerve and then goes back to the spine.

Every time when you walk there is a contraction in your muscles and if some time in your life you have faced a minor or major injury there, so there is the possibility that the nerve might have got stuck. So if every time you run or walk you might get a stitch or cramp so these can be the symptoms.

Most Common and Significant Causes of Flank Pain

Muscle problems

Our body muscles are directly connected to each other so if you have any ache in the stomach muscle or back muscle or even the chest muscle it may be the cause for flank pain. Some people confuse flank pain with back pain which is not the case here. Muscle pain may occur with very simple causes, for eg:

  • An old injury, give you a sprain 
  • Over walked or ran
  • Tension can cause muscle aches at the shoulder 
  • A sedentary styled life, where a person prefers moving less than required
  • A stressful life can also cause muscle ache
  • Being at the usual position for a long time

Muscle injury is the most common reason for flank pain. Also due to a sedentary lifestyle, a sudden movement or moving very little may also lead to muscle ache.

Degenerative disc disease

It can also be promoted due to degenerative disc disease. Vertebrate makes the spine. The disc and two facet joints connect the vertebrate provide flexibility and allow movement. The disc is made of strong tissues.

The disc in the spine works as a cushion starts compressing. With age, the disc water content becomes narrower, less flexible, and shock absorbers. There is also the possibility of rupturing or bulging out which may be called a herniated disc or a slipped disc. 

Kidney problems

The kidneys are sitting at the mid-back under the ribs and work as body cleaners. There are possibilities that suffering in the area near flanks can also be some minor problem with the kidney. There are other reasons for kidney problems that may occur through bladder problems. Kidney problems may be acute or chronic. Acute kidney problems can be reversible. 

Kidney problems that encourage left flank pain or right flank pain include:

  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease
  • Infections through urinal track
  • Blood clot or bleeding in the kidneys
  • Diabetes- Type 2


Shingles look like blistering rash on the body. This infection can bring trouble. Usually, shingles appear to those who have had chickenpox. This infection is generally seen in older people who have a weaker immune system. It gives a burning feeling signaling from the nervous system.

People who are consuming immunosuppressants like HIV-positive patients or even older people must visit their doctor if they get such rashes as singles can be fatal and can cause life-threatening infections as well. 

Pancreas or liver problems

The pancreas and liver are part of the stomach so there are high possibilities that the pain can also pull back generating flank pain. The liver and pancreas work together and help in digesting food. 

Possible problems that can occur due to weaker pancreas or liver may show the symptoms like:

  • Dark urine may be brown or red-colored
  • Pale bowel movements
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sudden attacks of soreness
  • Yellow eyes or skin
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

When to go to the Doctor

If you seek flank pain and couldn’t find relief after a few days then it would be high time to go to the doctor and take emergency treatment. If you get flank pain in the morning or any time of the day with any of the below symptoms:

  • Fever or high fever
  • Pale stools
  • Yellow eyes and skin
  • Pregnancy
  • Vomiting
  • Blood while urinating
  • Due to injury, that pains at the sides or back

Those who find the following symptoms would require to visit the doctor as soon as possible:

  • If there is pain while urinating
  • Intense strain in the back that is getting unbearable
  • A sensitive blistering rash on any part of the body
  • Certain tingling or numbness in the legs

There is also the possibility that the pain may not be lasting and may range from mild to moderate and has none of the symptoms mentioned above, then at such instance, the pain may be due to muscle pull or improper sleep position or continuously seating at a place for a long time. Your doctor may sometimes prescribe you Soma Pain Killer which is also a muscle relaxant, but this is only when the cases are extreme.

How to Treat Flank Pain

Most likely for any physical problem, there is always a strong reason. Find here a few options to get your treatment done:

  • Antibiotics for infections like kidney infections, pancreatitis from an infection
  • Kidney stones treatment will dissolve the stone resulting in reducing pain 
  • For shingles, you can use antiviral drugs
  • Liver disease treatment
  • Liver transplant for serious disease
  • For minor injuries stretching, physical therapy, ice, compression, and rest is possible for relief
  • Treatment for Arthritis
  • Surgery or physical therapy for disc diseases

There can be a few cases where a person might not need treatment. Some cases like muscle cramps or injury can be treated with normal physio exercise and may not require the lengthy process of treatment. There can be certain lifestyle changes also which may be recommended by the doctor to help relieve the pain.


From the overall concept, it is now clear that flank pain is treatable and the presence of pain may indicate the underlying cause.  You should visit a doctor when the pain gets unbearable and the situation for you is worsening day by day. Follow your doctor’s advice properly and get the medication if required. 

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