March: National Kidney Month

Do you suffer from constant back pain?  You could have a kidney issue.
Do you know that you kidney have the largest referral pain zone of all your other organs?

About Your Kidneys

Your kidneys are a pair of organs that sit on the posterior wall of your abdomen, below your ribcage.  Each kidney is about the size of your fist.

The function of your kidneys is to filter your blood.  Your kidneys filter all the blood in your body multiple times a day.  They remove waste, control your body’s fluid balance, and regulate the balance of electrolytes.  As your kidneys filter your blood it is removing waste and excess fluid. That waste is then made into urine.  The urine is collected in the part of the kidneys called the renal pelvis.  It travels down the ureter, collects in the bladder, and then travels down the urethra to be excreted from your body.

It is possible to lose up to 90% of your kidneys’ function without experiencing any signs or symptoms.

 Kidney Referral Pain Zone

Did you know that your kidneys have the largest referral pain zone of all your other organs?

Take a look at the diagram.  Notice the area representing the referral pain zone for your kidneys.

Kidney Referred_Pain_Chart

Is It Back Pain or Kidney Pain?

The most common type of back pain is also known as musculoskeletal or somatic pain.  If you cut your skin, the pain you experience is somatic. You also experience somatic pain if you stretch a muscle too far, or exercise for a long period of time.

Pain that comes from our organs (e.g. kidneys) is also known as visceral pain and is often described as generalized aching or squeezing. It is caused by compression in and around the organs, or by stretching of the abdominal cavity. Sometimes visceral pain may radiate to other areas in the body, making it even harder to pinpoint its exact location.

Somatic pain is usually easier to locate than visceral pain. It also tends to be more intense.

If you have been experiencing prolonged back pain for an extended amount of time, please consult your physician to rule out any possible kidney issues.

Prolonged Sitting and Chronic Kidney Disease

A study that was published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases shows that prolong sitting can increase your chances of developing chronic kidney disease.  But the results from this study show significant gender differences.

More than 5,650 participants (ages 40 to 75) were analyzed, and put into groups based on two factors: how long they spent sitting each day, and the amount of time they spent exercising.

Men were able to balance out the negative effects of sitting for prolonged periods through exercise. However, exercising to make up the negative effects of sitting is not as effective for women. Women need to focus more on reducing how long they are sitting.

The risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD) was decreased by more than 30% in women who reported fewer than 3 hours of sitting time, compared to those who reported over 8 hours.

Men who reported less than 3 hours of sitting time saw a reduction of 15%.  Men who were physically active for at least 30 minutes each day, reduced the risk of developing CKD by at least 30%.  However, exercise had no significant impact on the risk for women.

 Massage and Kidney Issues

If you feel that you are experiencing genuine kidney issues and or pain, please know that massage is contraindicated for all kidney related issues.

Why? Your kidneys filter waste from your blood to make urine.  One of the many benefits of massage is to help push toxins out of your muscles and into your bloodstream.  When your kidneys are not functioning properly, added stress is put on them.  Massage will only stress your kidneys out even more.

Please know that it is my duty as a Licensed Massage Therapist to assist your body in its healing process by doing no harm.  I will require a written prescription from your physician stating that I am clear to massage you.

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