Sore lower back according to Chinese Medicine

Sore lower back 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 sore lower back 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 sore lower back is often associated with back pain, frequent urination and fatigue in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-qi-not-firm”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause sore lower back.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of sore lower back 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 sore lower back.

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

In Chinese Medicine sore lower back 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.

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 sore lower back, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-qi-not-firm include back pain, frequent urination and fatigue.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/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

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

Kidney Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slow (Chi)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

Kidney Yang Deficiency causes Internal Cold and weakness.

In addition to sore lower back, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency include dizziness, tinnitus and night sweats.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation, Menopausal Syndrome or Irregular Menstruation.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency is often treated with Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Ba Wei Di Huang Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that nourish yin and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Yang".

Read more about Kidney Yang Deficiency here

Five herbal formulas that might help with sore lower back

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 sore lower back?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-qi-not-firm' of which sore lower back is a symptom.

Read more about You Gui Wan here

Tu Si Zi Wan

Source date: 1253 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Kidneys. Prevents abnormal leakage such as urinary incontinence or seminal emissions.

Why might Tu Si Zi Wan help with sore lower back?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-qi-not-firm' of which sore lower back is a symptom.

Read more about Tu Si Zi Wan here

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yang. Warms the Kidneys and lower extremities.

Why might Ba Wei Di Huang Wan help with sore lower back?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency' of which sore lower back is a symptom.

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan here

Er Xian Tang

Source date: 1950 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Yin and tonifies Yang of the Kidneys. Clears Empty Heat. Regulates the Directing and Penetrating Vessels.

Why might Er Xian Tang help with sore lower back?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency' of which sore lower back is a symptom.

Read more about Er Xian Tang here

Shen Qi Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and warms Kidney Yang.

Why might Shen Qi Wan help with sore lower back?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency' of which sore lower back is a symptom.

Read more about Shen Qi Wan here

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

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

Because Yam is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat sore lower back as a symptom, like Fu Tu Dan or Ba Wei 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 Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with sore lower back?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat sore lower back as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Fu Tu Dan for instance.

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit.

Read more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms here

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

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat sore lower back as a symptom, like Zuo Gui Wan 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 Cornelian Cherry (Shan Zhu Yu) help with sore lower back?

Because Cornelian Cherry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat sore lower back as a symptom, like Qi Ju Di Huang Wan or Liu Wei Di Huang Wan for instance.

Cornelian Cherries is a Warm herb that tastes Sour. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Preserves and tonifies the Kidney, Liver and Essence. Stops sweating and benefits the Yang and Qi. Assists menstruation and stops bleeding.

Read more about Cornelian Cherries here

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

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat sore lower back as a symptom, like Xiao Yao San or Qing Re Tiao Xue Tang 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