This is the first in a series of articles about your back health and your overall health. Knowing our bodies is a big step toward sensitive and effective self-care. As your kidneys and adrenals profoundly affect your back health, and how you work with and to dissolve stress and tension in your back, let’s begin with your kidneys. I want to thank my student and new friend, Nicole Friedman for the basic kidney rundown and for inspiring this concise series.
Your kidneys are two fist sized kidney bean-shaped organs that rest against your back muscles just below your rib cage in the upper abdominal cavity, symmetrically opposite each other on both sides of the spine. WebMD calls them sophisticated trash collectors. While generally misunderstood and unappreciated by most people, kidneys are responsible for:
- Filtering and extracting toxins, excess salts and waste products from your blood to the tune of about 150 quarts of blood every day! Inside your kidneys are about a million nephron filters! The waste and extra water go from the kidneys through the ureters to the bladder to be excreted.
- Balancing body fluids and forming from one to 2 quarts of urine every day. If your water intake decrease the kidneys adjust leaving the water in the body instead of excreting it
- Balancing the pH in your body
- Producing hormones that help: regulate blood pressure, produce red blood cells, and keep your bones strong
- Absorbing minerals and keeping electrolytes in balance
- Regulating red blood cells (sending signals to your marrow to produce more oxygen-carrying red blood cells if oxygen levels decrease)