Chinese Herbal Medicine (a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM), looks at the low back differently than does the West. Chinese Medicine developed over thousands of years of trial and error: trying various interventions and recording the results. This information was taught in the medical schools of its day. The process resembles modern empiric trials and studies, except these trials were performed on human subjects over millennia.
Because these medical teachings are so ancient, the language used to describe regular body processes (physiology) and disease processes (pathophysiology) sounds old-fashioned, as it relies on words from an agrarian culture, borrowing terms that describe the natural world. For example, ancient texts refer to a viral infection as a “Wind” invasion. However archaic this language, the illness patterns described (so called “pattern diagnosis”) remain valid and robust in the face of evolving scientific knowledge.
In TCM, various patterns lead to low back pain. The original cause of imbalance in the body varies from person to person, but almost all LBP has a common (final) diagnostic pattern in TCM called “Kidney System deficiency.” This does not mean that your actual kidneys are in trouble—your kidneys are likely perfect. In TCM, the “Kidney System” refers to an expanded sphere of influence that includes the structures and muscles of the low back.
Chinese herbs address the “Kidney System” excellently. The “Kidney System” is the very root of our structure/energy in TCM, and a number of herbs help improve it. According to TCM, the “Kidney System” wanes (becomes “low” or “deficient”) during and after middle age, as all of our systems weaken with age. With this decline, we observe more tendency for low back pain. “Kidney System” supportive herbs attempt to ameliorate LBP recurrence.
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