Kidney Stones

 Take a hot bath, or put a heating pad where your lower back hurts. Take a muscle relaxant like Tylenol during the day, or Tylenol PM at night, to help you sleep.

Originally published 2011

Kidney “Stones” ought to be called kidney caltrops — spiky little things that Ninjas drop on the ground, because no matter which way they land, there is a sharp spike waiting to hurt you.

They form in the kidneys as minerals accrete into a crystalline formation, and hurt like hell when they are finally dislodged, and begin to make their way down the urinary tract, tearing and scraping as they go.

The thing to know, though, is that they don’t go all the way at one time. They move in fits and starts, generally getting hung up at some point along the way. When they’re stopped, you’re generally not hurting. When they move, you are.

So the thing to understand about kidney stone pain is that it is *transient*. You still want to see a urologist. They can prescribe some medications to help it pass, and they can do more serious procedures if they’re called for. (This is one area where I’ve found modern medicine to be extraordinarily helpful. I don’t have much use for it when it comes to chronic complaints, but when it comes to acute cases like these, they have my gratitude.)

But now the question arises: If kidney stone pain is supposed to be transient, how come I’ve been in agony for hours?! The answer is almost always a *muscle spasm*.

Your body reacts to the pain by tensing up. Tensing up constricts the vessels, which makes the pain worse. So your body tenses up more.

That’s the very definition of a “spasm”.

The key then, is to get the muscle to relax. Heat does wonders for that. In fact, it’s often even more effective than drugs! So sit in a hot bath, or put a heating pad on it. In about 10 minutes, you should feel better. In 15 minutes, you should begin to feel it relax. In 20 minutes, you should be feeling fine.

If you need extra pain relief, a muscle-relaxant like acetaminophen can help. (The main ingredient in Tylenol.) Or take the PM version, which contains a sleep aid, as well.

That should do the trick. If you’re not feeling better after 30 minutes. You’ve got to figure that something else is wrong. So if you’re not already in the doctor’s office, head there now, or go to the emergency room!

Copyright © 2011-2017, TreeLight PenWorks

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