Lower back weakness according to Chinese Medicine

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Lower back weakness can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like lower back weakness here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here lower back weakness is often associated with dizziness, frequent urination and thin and watery periods in the pattern “Qi Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause lower back weakness.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of lower back weakness we’ve identified five herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat lower back weakness.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause lower back weakness

In Chinese Medicine lower back weakness is a symptom for 2 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Ginseng (Ren Shen) is the king ingredient for Si Jun Zi Tang, a formula used for Qi Deficiency

Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Qi Deficiency simply means lack of Qi. It includes the lack of Original Qi, Nutritive Qi, Defensive Qi or the Qi that resides in Organs or Channels. It mainly manifests itself in a weakened function of Organs and a declining ability of the body to resist diseases.

In addition to lower back weakness, other symptoms associated with Qi Deficiency include dizziness, frequent urination and thin and watery periods.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Qi Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Abnormal Uterine Bleeding or Heavy Menstruation.

Qi Deficiency is often treated with Si Jun Zi Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Ginseng - Ren Shen - as a key herb). Si Jun Zi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Qi".

Read more about Qi Deficiency here

The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine

Kidney Qi not Firm

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Kidney Qi not Firm means Kidney Qi Deficiency. Two characteristics are typical in this pattern. Firstly, it is a type of Kidney Yang Deficiency with the associated Cold symptoms. Secondly, it is a type of sinking of Kidneys Qi, thus with many ‘leaking’ downwards symptoms.

In addition to lower back weakness, other symptoms associated with Kidney Qi not Firm include frequent urination, cold limbs and back pain.

Kidney Qi not Firm is often treated with You Gui Wan, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Prepared Aconite - Zhi Fu Zi - as a key herb). You Gui Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that warm yang and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms and tonifies Kidney Yang".

Read more about Kidney Qi not Firm here

Five herbal formulas that might help with lower back weakness

Si Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach.

Why might Si Jun Zi Tang help with lower back weakness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi Deficiency' of which weak lower back is a symptom.

Read more about Si Jun Zi Tang here

You Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Warms and tonifies Kidney Yang. Replenishes the Essence. Tonifies the Blood.

Why might You Gui Wan help with lower back weakness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Qi not Firm' of which weak lower back is a symptom.

Read more about You Gui Wan here

Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Stabilizes the Kidneys. Binds up the semen.

Why might Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan help with lower back weakness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Qi not Firm' of which weak lower back is a symptom.

Read more about Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan here

Fu Tu Dan

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Stabilizes the Kidney Qi. Strengthens the Spleen. Stops leakage.

Why might Fu Tu Dan help with lower back weakness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Qi not Firm' of which weak lower back is a symptom.

Read more about Fu Tu Dan here

Qing E Wan

Source date: 1107

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Warms and Reinforces Kidney Yang.

Why might Qing E Wan help with lower back weakness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Qi not Firm' of which weak lower back is a symptom.

Read more about Qing E Wan here

Acupuncture points used for lower back weakness

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat lower back weakness

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with lower back weakness?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lower back weakness as a symptom, like Dang Gui Di Huang Yin or Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San for instance.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dong Quai here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with lower back weakness?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lower back weakness as a symptom, like Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang or Gui Pi Tang for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Yam (Shan Yao) help with lower back weakness?

Because Yam is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lower back weakness as a symptom, like Fu Tu Dan or Qi Ju Di Huang Wan for instance.

Yam is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach. Tonifies the Lung Qi and nourishes the Lung Yin. Nourishes the Kidneys and consolidates Jing.

Read more about Yam here

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with lower back weakness?

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lower back weakness as a symptom, like Zuo Gui Yin or Qi Ju Di Huang Wan for instance.

Prepared Rehmannia is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys.

Read more about Prepared Rehmannia here

Why might Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with lower back weakness?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lower back weakness as a symptom, like Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang or Gui Pi Tang for instance.

Atractylodes Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Fortifies the Spleen Yang and dispels Damp through urination. Tonifies Qi and stops sweating. Calms restless fetus when due to Deficiency of Spleen Qi.

Read more about Atractylodes Rhizomes here