Kidney pain arises from infection or injury (trauma) to the kidneys.
The pain associated with the kidneys is usually dull and one sided. The pain may be high, up under the lower ribs where the kidneys are located, or in the flank or sides. Fever and kidney symptoms such as blood in urine or foul smelling urine may be a sign of a kidney infection (pyelonephritis).
It is very difficult to distinguish kidney pain from muscular skeletal pain. In many cases testing is usually needed. Kidney stones do not normally cause kidney pain. The pain is generated as the stone leaves the kidney and begins to travel down the tube that leads to the bladder. This is a sharp, colic like severe pain associated with nausea, vomiting, and swelling. This pain is often compared to childbirth in its intensity.