Cold Sensation In Legs And Backaccording to TCM

What is Cold Sensation in Legs and Back?

Cold sensation in legs and back is a symptom often described as a persistent feeling of chilliness or coldness in these areas without an external cold source. This sensation is different from the temporary cold feeling one might experience in a cool environment.

It can be continuous or intermittent, and is not typically relieved by covering up or warming the area. This condition is not just a physical discomfort but can be indicative of deeper imbalances in the body's systems.

How Does TCM View Cold Sensation in Legs and Back?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) interprets the cold sensation in legs and back as an indication of internal disharmony, specifically related to the balance of Yin and Yang energies in the body.

TCM posits that this symptom arises when the body's Yang energy, which is warm and active, is Deficient or overwhelmed by excessive Yin, which is cold and passive. This imbalance leads to a lack of warmth and circulation in the affected areas, resulting in the sensation of coldness. TCM aims to diagnose the underlying pattern of disharmony and restore balance through holistic treatment methods.

Root Causes of Cold Sensation In Legs And Back in TCM

In TCM, the cold sensation in legs and back is often attributed to patterns of Yang Deficiency. One such pattern is Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing, characterized by symptoms like edema in the lower extremities, lumbar pain, abdominal distention, and a general feeling of coldness. This pattern indicates a deep level of energy depletion where the body’s warming energy is insufficient, leading to fluid accumulation and cold sensations.

Another related cause can be Spleen Yang Deficiency, marked by symptoms such as cold limbs, fatigue, and digestive issues, reflecting a compromised ability to transform and transport body fluids and nutrients.

Explore below more details about what might cause Cold sensation in legs and back according to TCM.

  • By Syndrome
  • By Organ
  • Kidney
  • Spleen
Detailed description of the cause

Yang Deficiency

Yang deficiency in TCM refers to a state where the body's Yang energy, which is responsible for warmth, activity, and function, is weakened or diminished. This pattern of disharmony often arises from chronic illness, aging, or inherent constitutional weakness. Symptoms of Yang deficiency are typically associated with cold and sluggishness, such as a feeling of coldness, cold extremities, pale complexion, low energy or fatigue, and a desire for warmth. Digestive issues like poor appetite, loose stools, and water retention can also be indicative of Yang deficiency.... see more

Yang Deficiency Patterns That Can Lead to Cold Sensation In Legs And Back

Common Symptoms: Chills Lower Back Pain Edema Of The Lower Extremities Lumbar Pain Coughing Asthma Weak And Cold Knees Weak Legs

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing Cold feeling in the legs and the back, Edema of the lower extremities, Cold sensation in legs and back, Abdominal distention, Lumbar pain, Chills, Scanty clear urination, Palpitations, Shortness of breath, Cold hands, White and watery sputum, Coughing, Asthma... see more Wu Ling San | Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan
Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency Sensation of cold in the back, Lower back pain, Weak and cold knees, Back cold sensation, Chills, Weak legs, Bright pale face, Erectile dysfunction, Premature ejaculation, Oligospermia, Watery ejaculate, Low sex drive, Generalized fatigue, General weakness, Clear urination, Nocturia, Apathy, Leg edema, Female infertility, Diarrhea, Depression, Lack of appetite, Slight abdominal distention, Desire to lie down... see more Li Zhong Wan
Wind-Cold invading with Yang Deficiency Feeling of cold in the lower back, Low grade fever, Severe chills, Exhaustion, Hypersomnia, Cold extremities, Lumbar pain, Lower back pain, Lower back coldness, General cold feeling, Lack of sweating, Headaches, Weak voice... see more Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang | Zai Zao San
Kidney Yang Deficiency Sensation of cold in the lower back, Lower back pain, Dizziness, Tinnitus, Weak and cold knees, Lower back coldness, Chills, Weak legs, Bright pale face, Generalized fatigue, General weakness, Leg edema, Female infertility, Diarrhea, Depression, Erectile dysfunction, Premature ejaculation, Oligospermia, Low sex drive, Pale and abudant urination... see more Ba Wei Di Huang Wan | You Gui Wan | Er Xian Tang | Shen Qi Wan | Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan | Tu Si Zi Wan
Detailed description of the cause

Dampness

"Dampness" in TCM is a concept that describes a pattern of disharmony where the body accumulates excess moisture. Imagine the heavy, sticky feeling you get on a very humid day; that's similar to what dampness feels like internally. It can manifest as a sense of heaviness, bloating, sluggishness, or even a foggy mind. This condition is often thought to arise from environmental factors like living in a damp place, dietary habits that promote moisture in the body, or internal imbalances that hinder the body's ability to process fluids properly. In TCM, dampness can obstruct the normal flow of energy and fluids in the body, leading to various symptoms.... see more

Dampness Patterns That Can Lead to Cold Sensation In Legs And Back

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing Cold feeling in the legs and the back, Edema of the lower extremities, Cold sensation in legs and back, Abdominal distention, Lumbar pain, Chills, Scanty clear urination, Palpitations, Shortness of breath, Cold hands, White and watery sputum, Coughing, Asthma... see more Wu Ling San | Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan
Detailed description of the cause

Cold

In TCM "Cold" as a pattern of disharmony refers to a specific type of imbalance within the body's systems, often linked to a deficiency or weakness. It's not about feeling physically cold or having a common cold, but rather a metaphorical description of certain symptoms and underlying conditions. When a TCM practitioner says someone suffers from "Cold," it usually implies that the body's Yang energy, which is warm and active, is insufficient or overpowered by Yin energy, which is cool and passive. Symptoms of Cold in TCM can include a general feeling of coldness, cold limbs, pale complexion, low energy, slow metabolism, and a preference for warmth. ... see more

Cold Patterns That Can Lead to Cold Sensation In Legs And Back

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Wind-Cold invading with Yang Deficiency Feeling of cold in the lower back, Low grade fever, Severe chills, Exhaustion, Hypersomnia, Cold extremities, Lumbar pain, Lower back pain, Lower back coldness, General cold feeling, Lack of sweating, Headaches, Weak voice... see more Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang | Zai Zao San
Detailed description of the cause

Wind

In TCM "Wind" is a concept that represents a pattern of disharmony, often characterized by its sudden and unpredictable nature, much like a gusty wind changing direction without warning. This pattern is associated with symptoms that come and go quickly or move around the body, such as itching, tremors, or even certain types of pain. Wind is considered to be a primary cause of illnesses that have these rapidly changing characteristics. In TCM, external Wind often refers to illnesses that start suddenly, like the common cold, believed to be caused by external pathogenic factors like climatic changes. On the other hand, internal Wind can be linked to internal imbalances and can manifest in conditions like dizziness or spasms. ... see more

Wind Patterns That Can Lead to Cold Sensation In Legs And Back

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Wind-Cold invading with Yang Deficiency Feeling of cold in the lower back, Low grade fever, Severe chills, Exhaustion, Hypersomnia, Cold extremities, Lumbar pain, Lower back pain, Lower back coldness, General cold feeling, Lack of sweating, Headaches, Weak voice... see more Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang | Zai Zao San
Detailed description of the cause

Kidney

In TCM the Kidneys are regarded as the body's most fundamental reservoir of Essence, known as Jing, which influences growth, reproduction, and aging. They are not just organs for filtering blood, but a holistic system governing vital life forces. When the Kidneys malfunction in TCM, it can manifest as a variety of health issues, such as chronic fatigue, reproductive problems, imbalances in fluid metabolism leading to edema or dryness, lower back pain, and a sense of fear or insecurity.... see more

Kidney Patterns That Can Lead to Cold Sensation In Legs And Back

Common Symptoms: Chills Edema Of The Lower Extremities Coughing Asthma Lower Back Pain Weak And Cold Knees Weak Legs Bright Pale Face

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing Cold feeling in the legs and the back, Edema of the lower extremities, Cold sensation in legs and back, Abdominal distention, Lumbar pain, Chills, Scanty clear urination, Palpitations, Shortness of breath, Cold hands, White and watery sputum, Coughing, Asthma... see more Wu Ling San | Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan
Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency Sensation of cold in the back, Lower back pain, Weak and cold knees, Back cold sensation, Chills, Weak legs, Bright pale face, Erectile dysfunction, Premature ejaculation, Oligospermia, Watery ejaculate, Low sex drive, Generalized fatigue, General weakness, Clear urination, Nocturia, Apathy, Leg edema, Female infertility, Diarrhea, Depression, Lack of appetite, Slight abdominal distention, Desire to lie down... see more Li Zhong Wan
Kidney Yang Deficiency Sensation of cold in the lower back, Lower back pain, Dizziness, Tinnitus, Weak and cold knees, Lower back coldness, Chills, Weak legs, Bright pale face, Generalized fatigue, General weakness, Leg edema, Female infertility, Diarrhea, Depression, Erectile dysfunction, Premature ejaculation, Oligospermia, Low sex drive, Pale and abudant urination... see more Ba Wei Di Huang Wan | You Gui Wan | Er Xian Tang | Shen Qi Wan | Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan | Tu Si Zi Wan
Detailed description of the cause

Spleen

In TCM the Spleen plays a vital role in digestion and transformation, converting food into energy and nutrients, and overseeing the distribution of Qi and Blood. It's also crucial in maintaining the health of muscles and limbs and ensuring the blood remains within the vessels. When the Spleen malfunctions in TCM, it can lead to a variety of issues such as digestive disorders, fatigue, weak muscles, bloating, and a feeling of heaviness. It can also cause a pale complexion, poor appetite, and a tendency to bruise easily. Emotionally, a Spleen imbalance is often associated with excessive worry or overthinking, reflecting its role in the interplay between physical and mental health.... see more

Spleen Patterns That Can Lead to Cold Sensation In Legs And Back

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency Sensation of cold in the back, Lower back pain, Weak and cold knees, Back cold sensation, Chills, Weak legs, Bright pale face, Erectile dysfunction, Premature ejaculation, Oligospermia, Watery ejaculate, Low sex drive, Generalized fatigue, General weakness, Clear urination, Nocturia, Apathy, Leg edema, Female infertility, Diarrhea, Depression, Lack of appetite, Slight abdominal distention, Desire to lie down... see more Li Zhong Wan

TCM Herbal Formulas for Cold Sensation In Legs And Back

To address cold sensation in legs and back, TCM practitioners often recommend specific formulas and herbs tailored to the underlying patterns of disharmony. For Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing, formulas like Wu Ling San, which contains Water plantain (Ze Xie), can be effective. This formula works by promoting urination and leaching out dampness, thus alleviating edema and cold sensations.

In cases where deeper warming is required, Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan, featuring Prepared aconite (Zhi Fu Zi), is used. This formula specifically targets the warming of Yang and tonifying the body's internal energy to combat the cold sensation. The choice of formula and herbs depends on the individual's specific pattern of imbalance as diagnosed by a TCM practitioner.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address cold sensation in legs and back, organized by cause and by formula type.

  • By Cause
  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that warm yang and tonify
  • Formulas that clear exterior disorders with interior deficiency
  • Formulas that promote urination and leach out dampness
  • Formulas that warm the middle and dispel cold
  • Formulas that nourish yin and tonify
  • Formulas that tonify yin and yang

All Formulas Recommended for Cold Sensation In Legs And Back Caused by Yang Deficiency

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Wu Ling San Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing
Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing
Li Zhong Wan Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency
Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang Wind-Cold invading with Yang Deficiency
Zai Zao San Wind-Cold invading with Yang Deficiency
Ba Wei Di Huang Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
You Gui Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Er Xian Tang Kidney Yang Deficiency
Shen Qi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Tu Si Zi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency

All Formulas Recommended for Cold Sensation In Legs And Back Caused by Dampness

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Wu Ling San Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing
Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing

All Formulas Recommended for Cold Sensation In Legs And Back Caused by Cold

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang Wind-Cold invading with Yang Deficiency
Zai Zao San Wind-Cold invading with Yang Deficiency

All Formulas Recommended for Cold Sensation In Legs And Back Caused by Wind

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang Wind-Cold invading with Yang Deficiency
Zai Zao San Wind-Cold invading with Yang Deficiency

All "formulas that warm yang and tonify" recommended for cold sensation in legs and back

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing
You Gui Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Shen Qi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Tu Si Zi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency

All "formulas that clear exterior disorders with interior deficiency" recommended for cold sensation in legs and back

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang Wind-Cold invading with Yang Deficiency
Zai Zao San Wind-Cold invading with Yang Deficiency

Acupoints for Cold Sensation In Legs And Back

Explore below some acupoints used to address cold sensation in legs and back, organized by meridian.

  • By Meridian
  • Bladder Channel
  • Directing Vessel
  • Governing Vessel
Shenshu BL-23

Shenshu BL-23

1.5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of the 2nd lumber vertebra (L2).

Shangliao BL-31

Shangliao BL-31

In the 1st posterior sacral foramen, about midway between the posterior superior iliac spine (PSIS) and the midline.

Guanyuan REN-4

Guanyuan REN-4

On the midline of the abdomen, 3 cun below the umbilicus.

Mingmen DU-4

Mingmen DU-4

On the lower back midline, in the depression below the spinous process of the 2nd lumber vertebra (L2).