Flank Pain in The Morning: Will It Just Go Away?

A good start to the day with a healthy mindset and body is definitely one of the blessings of human life. But, what if you experience flank pain in the morning? Your work productivity, cognitive ability, and overall physical ability will likely be compromised. 

So, why do we get flank pain in the morning? 

Flank pain or pain along the side of your abdomen can be caused by a number of causes. Ranging from dehydration, muscle ache to kidney problems, appendicitis, the spectrum of causes may seem quite simple to quite intimidating. Most of these causes have got solutions. And you can also prevent the pain being a little conscious. 

This article will give you a complete guidance regarding flank pain. Keep reading to know more.

What Is Flank Pain?

Flank denotes the area of your body that lies on either side of your abdomen, that is the two edges of your abdomen, between the pelvis and the ribs. The sensation of this pain varies. It may be achy and dull or it can be cramp-like and sharp.

flank-pain

The variation in sensations is a good parameter in assessing the cause and severity behind the force causing this pain. So, there really is no excuse to not take flank pain in the morning seriously.

Cause Behind Flank Pain

Given the diversity of organs, blood flow and anatomy in the human abdomen, the cause behind flank pain is versatile. A few common causes include:

  • Muscle pull
  • Kidney stone
  • Kidney Abscess
  • Lack of body fluids or dehydration
  • Infections eg: bladder infection
  • Secondary chickenpox eg: shingles
  • Fracture in the spine
  • Arthritis, most commonly spinal arthritis
  • Prolapse in disc

A few less common causes include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Pancreatitis
  • Appendicitis
  • Blockage in the urination
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Let’s understand the causes by dividing them into right and left flank pain so that we can more precisely understand the causes.

Causes of Right Flank Pain

  • Appendicitis: The position of your appendix is on the lower right side of your body just above the pelvis. Any inflammation in your appendix typically starts off with a generalized abdominal pain that gradually settles on your right flank.
  • Muscle Problems: Flank pain can be caused by any sprain or strains in the muscles of your stomach, chest or the back. Muscles can be injured due to: heavy exercise, tension. Stressful lifestyle, inactive physical lifestyle leading to tiredness after little excursion.

Also, sleeping on one side for prolonge period can also cause flank pain on that side.

  • Kidney Stone: As you may already know, your kidneys are located on either side of your back at the lower abdominal region.

Depending on which ureter has stone formation, the manifestation of kidney stone can vary. Typically, the pain is left on the flank or lower back region of the side effected.

  • Kidney Abscess: The pain related to kidney abscess typically begins in the flank or lower abdominal region and gradually may radiate to the grion or lower extremity region.
  • Liver Disorders: Clinical manifestations of liver disease more or less involves the entirity of the abdomen, eg: liver failure leads to ascitic or fluid accumulation in abdomen which raises intraabdominal pressure.
  • Cholecystitis: Like pancreatitis, pain from gall stone radiates from the upper abdomen to the flanks.
  • Shingles: Shingles is an infectious condition which occurs when dormant chicken pox or varicella zoster virus flares up from various causes leading to immunosuppression.

Shingles is characterized by rash and pain or tingling sensation that is localized on one side of your body, may be on the flanks.

  • Constipation: Constipation can sometimes lead to pain in the lower right abdomen or flanks. It usually occurs for the build up of gases from the faecal material.
  • Abnormal Masses: Any abnormal growth in any part of the abdomen eg: kidney, livers, will most likely cause a manifestation of pain in the flanks.
  • Dehydration: Chronic flank pain can be an indication of dehydration.
cholecystitis

Causes of Left Flank Pain

  • Pancreatic Pain: Any sort of disease condition in the pancreas eg: from pancreatitis, typically manifests initially in the upper right part of the abdomen that is , its anatomical position.

In chronic cases though, the pain can radiate to the lower right abdomen or right flank region.

  • Liver Disorders: The generalized abdominal pain form liver disorders can also be felt form the right flank.
  • Kidney Stone: Kidney disorder manifestations are dependent on the particular kidney affected. A generalized manifestation is also felt.
  • Shingles: The viral infection features a clinical symptom of rash and tingling pain on a particular part of the body.
  • Muscle Problems: Spraining muscles from stress, anxiety, lying on same side can cause left flank pain.

Diagnosis

Your flank pain  the morning can occur from a host of disorders involving multiple organs in the abdomen. As mentioned, due to the diversity of abdominal atmosphere, a few tests will be required for correctly identifying the cause behind the pain. 

A few such tests in include:

  • Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP): The test measures about eight different metabolic substances in your body. Comparing them with the recommended level gives an overview of the functionality of your kidneys, that is if there’s any obstructions form stone or abscess.
  • Complete Blood Test (CBS): A standard test for diagnosing any conditions, the total blood tests can specify if there’s any inflammation, cancer or any other diseases in your body.
  • Urine tests: For detecting any renal disorders.
  • CT Scan Or Ultrasounds: To check for kidney stones, any tumor growth and also their size and shape.
  • Cystoscopy: To detect problems in the lower urinary tract.
  • Spine X-ray or MRI: To look for any injuries or abnormalities in the spine.

Treatment

Due to diversity of causes leading to flank pain the morning, treatment modality varies according to the cause. You might wanna visit a doctor when you experience symptoms as: 

  • Fever
  • Irregular stool: pale, dark
  • Yellow or sunken eyes
  • Vomitng
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Blood in urine
  • Painful urination

A few treatment methods in accordance to the causes include:

Rest

Stressful conditions in your body are always a trigger for the release of inflammatory mediators. Take the day off, indulge in some self care. Your pain may just be an indication to spend some off time.

Antibiotics

Flank pain from infections can be caused by flare up of any past infections. So, it’s necesasry to stop the infection from spreading and also prevent its flaring up in the future. Follow your doctors prescription and take the full course of antibiotics.

Restore Fluid Balance

Dehydration is a very common cause of flank pain. Hydrate yourself by taking adequate amount of fluids. 

Surgery

If the clinical tests indicate inflammatory conditions such as: acute appendicitis, you will most likely have to undergo appendectomy.

Also, if kidney stones are detected, those have to be removed by surgery.

Pain Medications

Usage of pain killers such as NSAIDs might seem the most convenient option during any painful condition. But Beware! The adverse effects of NSAIDs are diverse and complicated.

Consult your doctor before taking any medications. You wouldn’t want to worsen the cause behind flank pain.

Constipation Relief

As, constipation is a cause behind flank pain, try using some relief foods as: yogurt, kombucha etc to relief your constipation. If the home remedies do not work, you may take medications. But consult your doctor before starting any medicine.

constipation

Removal of Abnormal Mass

In worst conditions, if any malignant conditions are detected in  your body, don’t be nervous. Get the required treatment and lead a healthy life. 

Prevention

As you might have already guessed, most causes behind flank pain the morning can be attributed to poor life style choices. Leading a healthy life can help prevent flank pain to a great extent. 

A few advices include:

Diet

Try eating healthy foods full of natural fibers, nutrients to prevent constipation, abnormal growth formation and overall any abnormal conditions. Avoid alcohol, sodium rich diet and ask for sodium less and calcium rich diet.

Hydration

Keep yourself hydrated at all times. Drink adequate amount of water, fluids, fruit juice. Dehydration can lead to many problems along with pain in your flank. 

Exercise Regularly

Keep your weight in check at all times. Exercise atleast 30 minutes a day. It helps reduce any toxic buildup in your body and also keeps your hormone and anxiety level at check.

Care of Urinary System

Renal disorders such as: kidney stones, abscess are some of the most common causes behind flank pain in the morning. To prevent such, drink adequate fluids, avoid axcess salt intake. Take care of the system that helps keep your blood and body clean.

Care After Infection

Shingles, a common cause behind localized pain, is actually a continuation of your initial chicken pox attack. Crazy right? How  a conditon you though was resolved has come back again to hunt you.

Hence, it’s necessary to treat chicken pox following all treatment protocols completely. Also, in casr of shingles infection, take the right drugs for appropriate time to prevent further conditions in the future.

FAQs

Why does my right side hurt in the morning? 

Answer: Right flank pain can be caused by a number of conditions ranging from something as common and minor as dehydration, constipation to serious conditions as kidney stones, appendicitis.

When should I be worried about flank pain?

Answer: It’s better to consult a doctor if the flank pain has continued for a few days and you experience symptoms as: 

  • Fever
  • Painful Urination
  • Hematuria
  • Pain from upper abdomen localized to flank ( sign of pancreatitis)
  • Abdominal pain localized to the right flank (sign of appendicitis)

Why does my flank pain increase in the morning?

Answer: Kidney stone, one of the commonest causes of flank pain has the peculiarity of increasing early in the morning. The reason is, we don’t usually urinate during the night and hence during the early hours of day, the bladder remains full and constricted.

How can I differentiate between flank pain caused by kidney disorders and pancreatitis?

Answer: The pain from pancreatitis starts off from the upper abdominal region first and gradually makes it way to the flank, left flank to be more accurate.

Kidney stone pains on the other hand, is deeper and higher up in the back . Also, it has the added affect of painful urination and increaing in the early hours of the day.

Can Dehydration cause flank pain?

Answer: Yes, deficiency of fluide can cause concentrated urine formation which can cause painful urination and also flank pain.

How can I check kidney stone at home?

Answer: You can relate to the symptoms associated with kidney stones such as: pain in the back region, painful urination, hematuria etc. But confirmatory diagnosis has to be done by CT scan under expert supervision.

Final Words

A feeling of flank pain the morning can reduce your productivity for the whole day. While just taking a day off and relying od NSAIDs seem the easiest options, be mindful of the underlying conditions that are proved to be associated.

So, don’t wait for it to just go away. Consult your doctor and get all the diagnostic tests done. It’s much better to deal with any of the conditions early on than to deal with them  in their terminal severe state.

Faiyad Ahmed

Faiyad Ahmed

Hello, this is a Faiyad Ahmed. As a future doctor pursuing my MBBS degree, I have always been enthusiasitic about influencing a much healthier, wholesome approach to leading life. Here's hoping my passion for healthful living is reflected on my articles and people can change their overall outlook on living following those.

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