Illustration depicting diagnosis and treatment options for left flank pain with ICD-10 classification

Left Flank Pain ICD 10: Effective Management Strategies

Left flank pain, often referred to medically as “left renal colic,” is a symptom that warrants attention and understanding. It can arise from various underlying conditions, ranging from mild to severe. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the specifics of left flank pain, its classification in the ICD-10 coding system, potential causes, and available treatment options.

What is Left Flank Pain?

Left flank pain is characterized by discomfort or pain experienced in the left side of the abdomen, specifically between the lower rib cage and the pelvis. It can manifest as a dull ache, sharp stabbing pain, or cramping sensation. The severity of the pain can vary from mild to excruciating and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever, or changes in urinary habits.

ICD-10 Classification

In the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), left flank pain is classified under different codes depending on the underlying cause. Some common ICD-10 codes associated with left flank pain include:

  • N23.0: Unspecified renal colic
  • R10.9: Unspecified abdominal pain
  • N28.9: Disorder of kidney and ureter, unspecified

Proper coding of left flank pain is essential for accurate diagnosis, treatment, and billing purposes in medical settings.

Causes of Left Flank Pain

Left flank pain can stem from a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Kidney Stones: One of the most common causes of left flank pain is the presence of kidney stones, which are hard mineral deposits that form in the kidneys. When these stones move or pass through the urinary tract, they can cause intense pain and discomfort.
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): UTIs, particularly those affecting the left kidney or ureter, can lead to left flank pain. Infections in the urinary tract can cause inflammation and irritation, resulting in pain and other urinary symptoms.
  • Kidney Infections (Pyelonephritis): Pyelonephritis, or kidney infection, occurs when bacteria infect the kidneys. Left untreated, it can cause severe flank pain, fever, chills, and other systemic symptoms.
  • Musculoskeletal Issues: Musculoskeletal problems such as muscle strains, sprains, or inflammation of the rib cage can also manifest as left flank pain. In some cases, conditions like costochondritis (inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone) can mimic the symptoms of more serious medical conditions.
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders: Certain gastrointestinal issues, such as diverticulitis (inflammation of pouches that form in the colon wall) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), may cause referred pain to the left flank region.

Treatment Options

The appropriate treatment for left flank pain depends on the underlying cause. Some common treatment options include:

  • Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate mild to moderate left flank pain. In cases of severe pain, stronger prescription medications may be necessary.
  • Fluid Intake and Hydration: Increasing fluid intake, particularly water, can help flush out kidney stones and prevent dehydration, which can exacerbate flank pain.
  • Antibiotics: For cases of urinary tract or kidney infections, antibiotics are typically prescribed to eliminate the underlying bacterial infection.
  • Medical Procedures: In situations where kidney stones are too large to pass naturally or are causing severe symptoms, medical procedures such as lithotripsy (shock wave therapy) or surgical removal may be necessary.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Making lifestyle modifications such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption can help reduce the risk of recurrent flank pain.


Left flank pain can be a distressing symptom with a wide range of potential causes, from benign musculoskeletal issues to serious medical conditions such as kidney stones or infections. Proper diagnosis and treatment are essential for managing symptoms effectively and preventing complications. If you’re experiencing persistent or severe left flank pain, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for evaluation and appropriate management.

Wasiur Rehman is fueled by a deep passion for advancing innovation in healthcare and medical research. He possesses a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science Engineering and has dedicated approximately two years to his role as a research analyst and SEO content writer. Currently, he is a valuable member of the DiseaseInfoHub team, serving as a content and research guide.

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