Lower back pain occurs to nearly everyone sometime in life. While most lower back pain lasts only a few days, acute or chronic back pain poses a serious health issue for many people.
The back is supported by the spinal column, which is composed of the spinal cord and the surrounding vertebrae. The spinal column is linked by muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The vertebrae are held together by flexible discs which allow it to bend and change position. The spinal cord is connected to a network of nerves from between each vertebrae to the whole body and senses movement, or any pain.
Lower back pain may occur under many circumstances. For example, if the discs overgrow it may press the nerves; if the discs and vertebrae are degenerated they lose flexibility; a sport injury and heavy lifting may twist muscles, ligaments, vertebrae or nerves; a local inflammation may be sensed by the nerves.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)'s herbal remedies for lower back pain have been effectively practiced in China for many centuries. TCM categorizes lower back pain into several patterns.
1. Blood Stasis Back Pain. This type of back pain is caused by Blood stagnation and inflammation in localized areas of the back. This typically occurs for people who have a history of back strain or injuries. Such back pain may be acute, stabbing, and hard to tolerate. The pain position is fixed and resistant to pressure. The most recommended Chinese herbal remedy for Blood stasis back pain is Shen Tong Zhu Yu Wan. It promotes blood and Qi circulation and removes Blood stasis in the meridians, which is the cause of back pain.
2. Rheumatic Back Pain. This type of back pain often afflicts people who live or work in moist, damp, windy, and cold environments. The Dampness and Cold slowly invades the back and the trunk causing Qi and Blood stagnation. In modern medicine, rheumatic back pain is typically caused by inflammation and arthritis. This type of back pain is chronic, and can occur when the body is in various positions. It worsens in cold and damp weather, but is alleviated when the weather is warm and dry. Pressure to affected areas can provide some relief. The most recommended Chinese herbal remedy for rheumatic back pain is Du Huo Ji Sheng Pian. It expels Wind, removes Dampness, and promotes Qi and Blood circulation to relieve back pain.
3. Kidney Deficient Back Pain. In TCM the Kidney is fundamental to all organs and the source of Yin and Yang. Back pain occurs when the Kidney is not working properly. Kidney function declines after the age of forty, along with other causes like semen loss, overwork, and stress. Kidney deficiency is marked by weakness and soreness in the lower back and knees. The pain is mild but may be persistent. Other symptoms may occur depending on whether the deficiency is related to Yin or Yang. Yang deficiency may exhibit itself as cold limbs, weakness, and/or pale complexion, whereas the Yin deficiency can cause sweating, hay fever, hot flashes, dizziness, persistent thirst, and/or tinnitus.
Because Yin and Yang are so important to our health, herbal remedies for them are widely prescribed in China. The most popular herbal remedies for Yin deficiency are YinVive™ and Zuo Gui Pian. Similarly, the most recommended herbal remedies for Yang deficiency are YanVive™ and You Gui Pian.
by X. Li, Ph. D.