My Kidneys and Back Hurt After Exercising

Athletic young woman rubbing muscles of lower back after jogging
A woman is holding her lower back. (Image: strixcode/iStock/Getty Images)

Many often confuse kidney pain and back pain after exercising. Typically, you will feel pain and soreness due to the muscles in the back contracting and being worked. However, there are times when the pain may indicate a more serious condition. One difference is the type of pain. Back pain is dull and sudden while kidney pain often comes in waves and may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever and pain during urination.

Kidney Problems

Pain indicating kidney problems is usually felt in the lower back to the right and left portion of your spine. You may also feel pain above your hips. Many patients describe the pain as severe and occurring in waves. Delayed pain follows exercises such as side bends and front bends. When you feel this kind of pain, you may be suffering from a kidney infection or another kidney-related condition, including kidney stones.

Muscle Strain

Muscle strain and back injury may be sustained during exercise when you overextend or overstretch the muscle — for example, while suddenly twisting your torso in sports such as basketball or football. Some exercise-related back pain may last only a few days while some may be chronic, recurring again and again or lingering for weeks or months. A muscle may be merely strained, but you may also tear a muscle by lifting very heavy weights or performing weight-lifting exercises in poor form.

Nerve Conditions

Kidney or back pain is generally felt when nerves in the area are pinched or feel pressure. When nerves are damaged or injured, you will feel pain, discomfort, numbness and tingling sensations. You may also experience limited range of motion or your lower back may be sore for several days. The compression in the spine can impinge on the nerves, thereby triggering pain and discomfort. Avoid any exercise that makes the back pain worse.

Signs of an Emergency

Man sitting on bed in physical therapy centre, surface view
Head to the ER if back pain is accompanied by numbness or if tolerable pain persists more than six weeks. (Image: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Immediately seek medical attention if you feel numbness or weakness in one or both legs or experience pain moving down one leg below the knee. Also seek care if you feel back pain shortly after a fall or if you experience back pain together with flu-like symptoms. If the back pain is tolerable but persists more than six weeks, consult a physician. If you have an X-ray or image scan taken, a tumor may be revealed in your spine or kidney.

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