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Hi, I think that there is something wrong with my back. All my life I have been physically active so I have been very surprised when I woke up few mornings ago with back pain. When I complained about it to my friend, she said that it does not necessarily mean that I have hurt my back. She mentioned that there might be something wrong with my kidneys. Could this back pain really be caused by my kidneys?

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Hi, first of all you did not specify what part of your back hurts. The pain that is caused by kidneys is usually localized in the part just above the hips. It can be felt on one or both sides. If you have not strained your muscles, it is possible that you might have a kidney infection that is causing the pain. Another way to determine if your kidneys are the source of the pain is to apply pressure on the part of the back where the kidneys are located. If the pain worsens, it means that the kidneys are causing the pain. However, the kidney infection is also followed by pain during urination, because the infection is always spread through the urinary system. Besides the infection, kidney stones or cysts can also cause back pain. Because all of these conditions need to be treated professionally, I suggest that you visit a specialist as soon as possible to determine the right cause of your back pain.
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Proper diagnosis is very important, as the treatment for back and kidney pain is obviously very different. I'd start by going to a doctor, since whatever it is you have, you'll need treatment anyway, most probably. 

Some ways to tell the difference between back and kidney pain are:

- Back pain gets better with light exercise and worse with longer periods of resting, especially bed rest. Kidney pain gets worse when you are active. 

- Kidney pain can be worsened by pressing on the area where your kidneys are, including gently touching your side (not back). Back pain wouldn't do that. 

- Kidney pain is often associated with urinary symptoms, back pain is not.

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