Pain Relief for Kidney Stones


Depending on your diagnosis and the size of your kidney stone, you can relieve this often painful situation at home or by going to the doctor or hospital for treatment. There are several commonly used pain medications and other pain-relieving treatments for kidney stones.


  • Try non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are very effective in reducing mild to moderate kidney stone pain. Ibuprofen or naproxen are common NSAIDs that are available over the counter. Before taking an NSAID for a kidney stone, visit your doctor to ascertain the proper dosage and how often you should take it. You can also combine an NSAID with acetaminophen, such as Tylenol. Again, ask your doctor for the correct dosage and frequency.

Prescription Pain Medication

  • Consider seeking a prescribed pain medication for your kidney stone or stones. Higher dosages of ibuprofen are available by prescription than over the counter. You might also be prescribed opioid analgesics such as Tylenol with codeine, Vicodin (a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen), Percocet (oxycodone combined with acetaminophen) or Darvon (propoxyphene). It's possible to become dependent on opioid analgesics if you use them for an extended period. Ask your doctor if you're worried about this side effect.

Hospital Pain Relief

  • Ask about injectable pain medication if you go to the hospital to be treated for kidney stone pain. You'll receive this medication either through an IV or by an injection into your muscle. These medications include morphine, Dilaudid and Toradol. They'll likely make you very drowsy, and perhaps euphoric.

Non-Medication-Based Pain Relief

  • Take a warm bath; the water helps soothe the pain. You can also put a heating pad on the area where the pain is localized. This is usually your side, lower back or groin.

Important Reminder

  • Consult a doctor to ensure you have a kidney stone and that it's of a size that will likely pass on its own (usually less than 6mm in diameter). If it's larger, or in a place that may cause kidney damage, your doctor may choose to intervene and remove it. Don't try to diagnose yourself. You could cause yourself harm.


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