Illnesses that cause flank pain, or pain in the side and back, include kidney problems, disk disease, spine infection or arthritis affecting the spine, according to Healthline. Dehydration, shingles, muscle spasm, spinal fracture or a pinched nerve in the back are also possible causes.
Flank pain involves a painful or uncomfortable sensation in the upper abdomen or back, particularly beneath the ribs and above the pelvic region, explains Healthline. The pain is usually more intense on one side of the body. Many people experience temporary and harmless flank pain. However, a severe or persistent flank pain can indicate a serious condition, such as a kidney infection, urinary tract infection or dehydration.
A sudden, severe flank pain may result from kidney stones, whereas long-term flank pain may occur due to other causes, such as pancreatitis, an inflammatory illness or pneumonia, notes Healthline. Individuals with kidney stones often suffer excruciating flank pain and experience difficulty in resting in one position.
Symptoms that accompany flank pain include nausea, dizziness, fever or rash, states Healthline. Some people also experience diarrhea or constipation. Dehydration requires prompt medical treatment, and its symptoms include a dry mouth, fast pulse, dizziness, minimal sweating and extreme thirst. Anyone who experiences prolonged flank pain, blood in the stool or urine, fever or vomiting should also seek immediate medical care.