Kidney stones are hard, crystallized clumps of minerals, salts, and waste material that develop in the kidney and ureter. They can be very small like a grain of sand, though sometimes they are the size of a golf ball. About 1 in 10 people will develop a kidney stone at some point in their lives.
The medical name for a kidney stone is nephrolithiasis. Most kidney stones do not cause serious problems, but they can be extremely painful. The pain is usually felt in the back and side below the ribs and may spread to the groin or sexual organs.
Treatment varies depending on the severity of symptoms and whether or not there are complications. Simple kidney stones may pass out through urine without any treatment. Kidney stones that do not pass out of the body alone can be treated with medication, shock wave therapy, surgery, or lithotripsy (using sound waves to break up the stone).
Kidney stones are hard deposits formed when chemicals in the urine crystallize and bind together. The stones then go through the urinary tract until they are expelled by urination.
While they are usually not life-threatening and can be treated relatively easily, kidney stones have some symptoms that you should pay attention to.
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is a common symptom of kidney stones. Kidney stones are formed when minerals in the urine become concentrated and crystallize. When this happens, the minerals form hard deposits that can cause unpleasant symptoms if they aren’t treated immediately.
A buildup of high levels of calcium and uric acid in your urine can lead to kidney stones, especially if you have an inherited tendency toward them. Most people with kidney stones do not have either of these conditions. Still, you may be more prone to developing them if you have a family history of kidney stones or gout (an inflammatory condition resulting from a high uric acid level in the blood). Gout can cause joint swelling, severe pain, redness, and fever, and it’s commonly found alongside kidney stones.
The symptoms of kidney stones depend on where they are located. Those that form in the kidneys may not produce any symptoms; depending on their size and location, they might not even be discovered until after they pass through the urinary tract. Kidney stones that form in the ureter or bladder will usually cause intense back pain. This is because the ureter connects the kidney to the bladder, where urine is stored. When a stone causes the ureter to become blocked, urine can’t pass through it and builds up in the bladder. As this pressure increases, it leads to pain that may radiate down the legs or back.