Flank Pain

Flank pain refers to pain that is located on the side of the body between the upper abdomen and the back. The pain may occur over a short period of time (acute) or may be long-term or reoccurring (chronic). It may be mild or severe. Flank pain can be caused by many things.


Some of the more common causes of flank pain include:

  • Muscle strains.  

  • Muscle spasms.  

  • A disease of your spine (vertebral disk disease).  

  • A lung infection (pneumonia).  

  • Fluid around your lungs (pulmonary edema).  

  • A kidney infection.  

  • Kidney stones.  

  • A very painful skin rash caused by the chickenpox virus (shingles).  

  • Gallbladder disease.  


Home care will depend on the cause of your pain. In general,

  • Rest as directed by your caregiver.

  • Drink enough fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines as directed by your caregiver. Some medicines may help relieve the pain.

  • Tell your caregiver about any changes in your pain.

  • Follow up with your caregiver as directed.


  • Your pain is not controlled with medicine.  

  • You have new or worsening symptoms.

  • Your pain increases.  

  • You have abdominal pain.  

  • You have shortness of breath.  

  • You have persistent nausea or vomiting.  

  • You have swelling in your abdomen.  

  • You feel faint or pass out.  

  • You have blood in your urine.

  • You have a fever or persistent symptoms for more than 2–3 days.

  • You have a fever and your symptoms suddenly get worse.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.