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Kidney Diseases

Smooth Muscle Spasms Around Kidneys?



I have had colicky severe pain in the area of my left kidney several times a year for the past 10 years or so. Twice I have gone to the ER thinking it was kidney stones but there was no evidence of stones and I was given ketorolac and released. Recently I have been experiencing difficulty swallowing and have had chest pains that my doctor believes may be due to esophogeal spasms of the smooth muscles.

My question is this, is it possible to have the same type of spasms around or near the kidneys that would cause excrutiating pain that comes and goes in waves? And if so what might be the cause of these types of spasms?


I cannot be of much assistance here, but here are a couple of thoughts that may help you:

In the kidneys, the only part that should have spasms is the ureter, which is the slender tube that leads from the kidney to the bladder.  It is the smooth muscle of the ureter, not the kidney, that goes into spasm when an obstruction to urine flow (such as a kidney stone or scar tissue) blocks it.  If you have been evaluated for kidney stones more than once, and no kind of blockage has been found, then it's unlikely that the colicky pain is coming from your ureter.  See the link below for our article on kidney pain, which describes ureteral colic. 

There are some conditions (especially chemical imbalances) that could theoretically cause both ureteral and esophageal spasm.  A thorough evaluation by your doctor (especially of blood tests for potassium and calcium) could possibly turn up an underlying imbalance that may be correctible. 

Related Resources:

Kidney Pain

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Response by:

Mildred   Lam, MD Mildred Lam, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University