Pain in the lower back is one of the most common pains people encounter and, as such, ignore. Most days, at least one person you know will complain of a bad back, and it makes it easy to deal with the pain when it happens to you. In fact, back pain is the leading cause of job-related disability.
Every year, Americans spend nearly $50 billion trying to take care of their lower back pain [source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke]. The high price tag points not only to the frequency of Americans' lower-back troubles, but also to the complexity of that region of our bodies. Our backs contain most of our bodies' infrastructure -- muscles, tissues, nerve bundles, spines and vertebrae. Without these structures, our bodies would resemble nothing so much as a pile of unstructured flesh, like jellyfish.
But sometimes lower-back pain is a symptom related to kidney trouble. The pain may relate to the formation of a kidney stone, which will usually pass (painfully) on its own. If your kidney is infected, it will swell, causing the discomfort in your lower back. If a kidney tumor has grown large enough, it will cause pain in the lower back, as well.
You should always get back pain checked out, since ignored problems with your back can become chronic problems that only worsen over time. Being vigilant about finding the cause of pain in your lower back could save your kidneys -- and your life.