Your Adrenal glands directly impact some of the muscles that manage the lower back and hip. This blew my mind when I first started reading about the affect your adrenal glands have on back pain. These tiny little glands that are posted up on top of your kidneys, play a huge roll when it comes to keeping the muscles in the hip and back happy. What I want you to learn today is how exactly the adrenal glands affect the pain in your lower back, the signs that you could be suffering from adrenal fatigue and exactly how your going to fix this major problem. 

Your Adrenal Glands affect on your lower back pain isn’t something you hear being talked about over a cup of coffee. As a matter of fact, if you know anything about Adrenal Fatigue you definitely wouldn’t be talking about it with a mug of coffee in your hand (this will make sense later). Addressing Adrenal Fatigue in the fitness space would be considered a “next level” or only for the “advanced” gym goers. I can entertain that theory but this message needs to get to anyone dealing with back pain. Whether you are a desk jockey or avid gym goer this is something that you need to start addressing NOW.

Listen up. There is going to be A LOT thrown at you in this article. Prepare yourself. 

I went ahead and compiled a master list of resources covering this topic from books you need to read to articles I have covered. I packaged all of it into a super simple download you will have forever. Pick it up below! 

Free Adrenal Fatigue Master list


Adrenal Fatigue Master List


What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal Fatigue is exactly what it sounds like. It’s when the Adrenal glands are so over loaded with stress that they don’t operate  correctly. Medically, as of today, it’s just a collection of signs and symptoms even though Adrenal Fatigue affects millions of people around the world, the medical industry still hasn’t recognized it as an actual “syndrome”. Adrenal Fatigue is typically due to high and prolonged levels of stress. This could be stress at home, stress on the job, stress in a relationship and even stress from having a particular personality type. Any kind of stress directly affects the adrenal glands. Don’t worry though, these guys were designed to help manage the hormones that go along with these moderate stress levels so a little stress here and there isn’t bad. It’s when it’s on going and unrelenting that it becomes a problem and starts giving people issues like back pain.

Your adrenal glands help balance your blood sugar and inflammation along with other important hormones. Like I said above, the adrenals are your first line of defense when stuff hits the fan. So you need them in tip top shape to keep the body working at its peak.


Adrenal Fatigue and Back Pain

When the Adrenal Glands are under stress the nerves that innervate them are affected as well. An upset nerve not only will effect the source of the nerve at the spinal level but also will affect the surrounding musculo-skeletal systems.  Specifically, the 3rd lumbar vertebra and the muscles that surround this area are directly affected by the same nerves that are connected with the Adrenal Glands. High levels of stress can create tension in the muscles causing them to stiffen or lock up resulting in back pain. All the soft tissue work in the world can’t fix this. You have to focus on the organ that could be affecting the area. I know this sounds crazy but there are some holistic doctors who can link specific pain or triggers in the body with organs that the nerves are linked to. My goal isn’t for you to stress over whether or not every pain is caused by a bad organ but this really supports the fact that a healthy diet can do some amazing things for your body.

When it comes to back pain and adrenal fatigue we have to look at the muscles that are directly related. In this case, the most common  are the Hamstrings, Gracilis and the Sartorius. The Sartorius alone is a major pelvic stabilizer. You can imagine the imbalances you would have to deal with if this muscle was under stress or strain from the Adrenal Fatigue. I know for me, my issue is more inflammation of the L5-S1 area so managing my muscle imbalances is huge for me. If my adrenals were taxed and I didn’t know I would be beating my head against a wall trying to figure out what could be causing the pain.

Not only does Adrenal Fatigue affect organs and muscles but it affects ligaments. Ligaments are what hold your joints together so if these are compromised you can imagine the discomfort that comes with that. That’s not even all of it. Our musculoskelatal system works as one big giant chain. Everything affects everything in some way shape or form. If your sacroiliac joint  has been compromised then the muscles that cross over that joint will be affected to. Everything works together to provide strength and stability. So it’s not uncommon for the lower back to be a source of discomfort if you are currently dealing with some level of Adrenal Fatigue simply because of the systems that are involved with that muscle group.

What are signs of adrenal fatigue?

To keep this from being one of those “I googled a symptom and now I think I have cancer” type of sources. I wanted to write down some of the most common, pin pointed signs and symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue. The actual list is exhausting and seems to describe anyone who works full time and has at least 1 kid. 🙂 Back pain is only the tip of the iceburg when it comes to dealing with Adrenal Fatigue. It’s an all consuming kind of thing where multiple facets of your life are affected by these powerful glands.


Take a look at this list of signs of Adrenal Fatigue

-Chronic inflammation

-Painful muscles and joints

-Heightened sense of smell

-Mornings are rough and nights are energetic

-Needing caffeine to keep going throughout the day

-Daily Tasks become extremely difficult

-Sugar, Caffeine cravings

-Unexplained weight gain

-Exhausted at night but have trouble falling asleep

-Feeling un-rested after a full nights sleep

-Un-Quenchable thirst and dry mouth

-Decreased sex drive

-Nausea/ no apatite in the am


For me personally when it comes to looking through signs and symptoms I try to look for the things that I have recently (over the past six months) have seen a true change in (for the bad). For example, lately I have been craving caffeine. I don’t drink crazy amounts of it but for the past 2+ months I feel like I have only been as good as my next cup of coffee. 3 Months ago I would drink one cup of coffee in the am and be fine the entire day. I have also had a number of stressors come up over the past 2 months that may have had a toll on my adrenal health. Chronic inflammation is another sign for me. Your story may be different so the best thing you can do is listen to your body and really pay close attention!


What are the causes of Adrenal Fatigue?

So we know that the adrenal glands are responsible for balancing hormones when it comes to stress. When chemicals like cortisol are released (which are not necessarily bad but in high amounts, over long periods of time they are) this loads the adrenal glands. Well, too much of this can over work and “stress” the Adrenal Glands to the point where they are basically unresponsive. Some of the major sources of Adrenal stress are:

4 Common causes of back pain due to Adrenal Fatigue

  1. Emotional stress: Life, relationships ;cal of community in your life.

  2. Food intolerance: Some of the most common gluten and gluten free grains, sugar, dairy

  3. Over training: Constantly striving for that “beat down” style workout. Training hard 4-5 days a week. Stuck in this “more is better” mentality when it comes to training.

  4. Too much caffeine: I love coffee but drinking it just to drink it can lead to addictions and dependency. Its when this dependency happens that adrenal glands begin to shut down and the caffeine creeps in to replace its function.



For the avid coffee drinkers…


Did you know your body actually produces cortisol after drinking coffee? It’s a natural response to the caffeine within the coffee. What tends to happen with coffee drinkers is they don’t allow their body to release the natural “rise and shine” morning hormones. Instead, they reach for the cup of coffee looking for that artificial energy boost caffeine gives us. Over time, the adrenal glands get burned out and are not able to function the way they were designed to. This leads to us drinking more coffee to replace these natural hormones. Avid coffee drinkers also are not able to enter into the deeper levels of sleep where the most rebuilding and repairs take place. So not only are you not sleeping as well, but you’re not able to wake up refreshed which again leaves you reaching for the coffee pot. It’s a cycle that just keeps repeating itself. The only way to break it is to stop drinking it long enough for your Adrenal Glands to heal and only drink minimal amounts of coffee.

If your one to challenge this and say that an addiction to coffee has no effect on your body I challenge you to give up coffee cold turkey for 30 days and report back to me how your body feels. I promise it will feel a world of difference.

Let’s be honest. The goal here is not to boycott coffee for the sake of our poor Adrenals. It’s about moderation. There is a difference between being a social drinker of coffee and being completely addicted!

So my back hurts and i’m pretty sure I have Adrenal Fatigue…What should I do?


Fixing your back pain takes a consistency and focus on one area at a time. Today we are focusing on the adrenals and the effects they have on our body. The name of the game here is to repair the function of our adrenals and allow the muscles, joints and other parts of the nervous system to heal and work properly.

 How do I cure my Adrenal Fatigue?

For the sake of the average Americans attention span I am going to give you a spark notes version of what you can start doing TODAY to help heal your Adrenal Glands. Look over these common treatments and start implementing them into your daily life. If all at one time seems too much, pick one and make it a definite (3-4 weeks of consistency) change before moving on to the next.




Have a bed time routine: Our bodies operate better off of some kind of routine. Don’t be that guy/gal who says I just like to live life as it comes. That never works out. Ever. Be mindful and add some consistency to your bed time routine.

Magnesium: Fill a tub with 2-3 cups of Epsom salt and you will under stand the power of magnesium! You can also do it in spray form which I have done as well. I think the spray form gets into the blood stream the fastest.

Chill out: You have to find ways to relieve stress. It can be done you just have to make time for it. Even if it’s 15 minutes a day where you do what you love. It will change your life!

Eat carbs– Low carb diets actually put stress on the adrenals so don’t go all keto on your body. Feed it carbs!

Coconut products-coconut products have been proven to help reduce the weight of an inflamed adrenal gland (link to science). This basically will relief stress on the glands.

Vitamin B/B12-This is a little added bonus to help support a recovering adrenal gland. A B12 deficiency has been linked to adrenal stress. It wont fix everything but its definitely something to add to the diet!

Take out food intolerance: There are a few different ways to check for any food intolerance. Most of them are really inaccurate so this is what your going to do. Start paying close attention to how certain foods affect your body. If you want to start out easy, pay close attention to dairy, and gluten. Take one of these out of your diet completely for 4 weeks and see how things change. You should see a big difference once the source has had some time to get out of your system.


Whew! So that’s it. Back pain can be directly linked to an un-happy adrenal gland. Like I always say. You never know what your issue is until you look at all aspects of what could be causing it. Your food source is extremely powerful not only for a healthy back but a healthy body. Pick high nutrient foods and limit the things that could be wrecking your back. Take care of your Adrenal Glands and they will take care of you!

To your freedom from pain,


P.s What food source did you take out and have seen the best results from? Let me know below!

Don’t forget my free content master list. We dive even more into this topic and share some killer resources for you to consume!

Adrenal Fatigue Master List


32 thoughts on “How Adrenal Fatigue is Causing You Back Pain

  1. Pain in the right side of my back just at the bra line. Hurts when I breath in. Adrenals and cortisol levels are off. What can I do about this. Physical therapy didnt help. CAT scan?

  2. This is such a relief to read this article – thank you!!. I’m so curious how you figured this all out William? I do these juice Fast’s once a year to get off the sugar and always so clear headed at the end of them. About day 2, I start getting the most unbearable back aches, especially as I try to go horizontal to sleep. Also when I involuntary Fast after being very sick the same thing has happened. I always thought it was my kidneys, salt issues – never thought it was muscle really. It got so bad last Christmas after being sick and not being able to eat or drink more than water (so essentially Fasting) that I went to emergency after 2 nights of walking the house all night and the sleep deprivation was over the top. Hospital tested my kidneys and they were fine, they gave me a strong anti-inflammatory and I got my first night of sleep and was fine (this was day 3). Still thought it was my kidneys because I thought I knew what back problems feel like. So a month ago I decided to stop coffee cold turkey – only this time I wasn’t Fasting. Unbearable. Tried painkillers, didn’t help much but eventually got that same anti-inflammatory on about day 4 and it cleared up again after one pill and a good sleep. So I’d be interested why the anti-inflammatory worked and the painkillers didn’t so much? Also any thoughts about why my position of lying down makes it so much more intense? The one variable that has been consistent every time this has happened is the sudden cessation of a very big coffee habit. I was drinking 2-3 giant mugs (venti size) of super strong coffee a day. No more coffee or dairy and definitely will implement the other suggestions in this article. And better efforts to manage my stress levels which I agree is hard with kids, marriage, work and aging parents. I can’t tell you the relief I feel right now – just understanding what has been happening the last 8 years.

    1. Hey Joanne,

      It just takes self exploration to be honest. Some comes from my previous knowledge of nutrition and the impact it has on the body and other things come from testing different “mainstream” ideas out. Put the years of schooling aside and I would always tell you to read, learn and explore your body. NOBODY can tell you how your body feels better than you!

      Thanks for reading!


  3. I have been waking up with excruciating back pain on the left side only. After I finally get up and move around a bit it goes away, but comes back whenever I lie down again. I though maybe it was the muscles that were affected in a car accident three years ago. Now I recall I had something similar (tho not as extreme) many years ago when I was pregnant for the fifth time.
    I’ve been feeling exhausted all day, even after a full night’s sleep. I have been dieting lately, extremely low carbs. My chiropractor said maybe my body was adjusting to the new weight. I asked a colleague at work, who is a DC and PA, and she suggested it could be adrenal fatigue. She had already suggested I get on progesterone several months ago. I gooogled the problem and found this article.

  4. Really interesting post. I found it because I was trying to see if there was a connection between adrenal fatigue and back/hip pain, which I felt intuitively must be there.

    I had gotten my AF pretty much under control but had a stress flare this summer. I was still meditating daily, going to bed early with a pleasant routine, and eating fairly well. Then, my thyroid meds went on back order, and I wound up taking a suboptimal dose for over a week.

    Boom! I could feel that anesthesia-like fatigue of AF return, and with it sciatic pain, which in turn leads to piriformis syndrome for me. I always wondered why my sciatic and piriformis problems seemed to spontaneously resolve about four months ago. Now, I’ve figured out it was when I changed my thyroid meds from Synthroid to natural desiccated hormone. Getting my hypothyroidism under control really helped my AF.

    I’m trying to baby myself, but it’s hard because I am behind with work, and I know the stress perpetuates AF. I’m glad to hear I’m supposed to be eating carbs because I’m craving them! One thing that works well for me is drinking lots of water with lime juice and fresh crushed mint leaves. Basil seems to make me feel better too.

    I had tried everything in the past when my sciatica first acted up and I developed the related hip and buttock pain. Now I know it will resolve; I just have to give it time and make sure my adrenals are being cared for. Maybe this comment will help someone else in the same boat.

    1. Hey Patricia, thank you for the comment, out of the comments I read yours seemed to be the closest to my experience. Long story short, I run a small business that has grown rapidly over the last 5 years. We have had 2 kids and bought a house during that time. So it’s been stressful. About 2 years ago I started getting a sciatic like pain in my right side. Spent a year and over 12k in treatments including a discectomy surgery that was not successful. The surgery was over a year ago and I still have the same pain as when it started. The pain for me came first, then depression and major anxiety, it honestly feels like I am a different person from it lol. I have just been trying to live with it and manage my stress which does help but it really feels like a circle from hell. Business/family causes stress, stress causes pain, pain causes depression etc etc lol. I am really interested to see what I can do to help with AF to see if that is my problem. It is such a good feeling to see that you have found a way to cure the pain. Thanks Patricia

  5. Hi, my mom has back pain around the kidneys. She is in her 80’s and has had this pain for as long as I can remember. Sometimes it just aches and other times it is a sudden stabbing pain. There has never been a diagnosis. She has had her back and every organ check many times. Her blood pressure is up and medication is not helping. She has been told her cortisol is on the high side. My mom is a busy lady and does not have time for these issues, lol. Do doctors see adrenal pain as a thing? Are there any test that the doctors are missing?

  6. 2 hip replacements..2 discectomies..and a fusion.I know back pain and have tried everything.Except this.Now I have a goal.Veteran,46 y.old..too young for this.

  7. Started having back issues at L3 & 4 in 2016. PT discovered I had a hypermobile SI Joint. A year later diagnosed with Hashimotos with some Graves antibodies. Had sciatica last fall and some symptoms now. Piriformis muscle is swollen and painful. All this being said my bloodwork indicates low TSH and elevated T4. And I have a painful goiter. All that being said I feel like crap
    Have history of caregiving for sick parents and a very stressful accountant’s job.

  8. I have been having issues since i had back surgery back in September of 2015 to remove 80% of my L5S1 disc. I got my first migraine in Nov of that year. It took me a little while to figure out that when i ate pasta or pizza it triggered the Migraines. I had never before had a migraine and didn’t even know what it was till i started asking and throwing up with a headache. I began to hurt all over and got my blood tested in 2016 and my cortisol was almost nonexistent along with my vitamin d levels. I ended up getting a cortisol shot due to so much back pain and I felt a little better for awhile. I have been off and on Prednisone dur to pain from a wreck back in Nov 2017. But i have been cutting out carbs for the most part and I don’t get the migraines but i still hurt, am extremely tired with no energy and I am beginning to wonder if my adrenal glands were damaged during that first surgery on my back.

  9. Thanks for the informative post! I am looking for endoscopic spine surgery around Chicago after persistent back pain. Can discectomy and fusion both be used for a pinched nerve?

    1. Hey! This will be different for each person. I would start with two palms sizes (your hand) worth at dinner and snack on fruit. See how your body feels. you shouldn’t feel bloated or over stuffed. If you still feel a little groggy then add a palm size to lunch.

  10. I have Endometriosis and chronic pain because of it. When I have a rough couple days my back kills me. I have found removing Active commercial yeast from my diet made HUGE difference for me.

    1. Hi Crystal,
      I have just been diagnosed with an endometrioma, possibly endometriosis too and for the past few days my back as been killing me with mild numbness in lower back, groin and knee. I was absolutely distraught when I first went to the hospital and now suspect that my back pain is caused partly by the endometriosis and adrenal fatigue due to stress. I really don’t know what to do. What foods exactly did you remove from your diet? I’m a vegetarian and don’t consume dairy. Started eating bread again about three weeks ago and eat processed sugars daily.. What do You recommend? I’m psychologically and physically exhausted. Thanks

  11. I had my left adrenal removed five years ago due to pheochromocytoma. I have developed knee and back pain since I went on a low carb diet for my hypothyroidism related weight gain. Now I read that carbs are necessary for my other adrenal to work. I’m thinking that low carbs could be causing adrenal fatigue. What level of carb intake do you recommend for one adrenal. So glad I found your article!

    1. Hey, Rosie.

      I’ll be completely honest with you on this. I would recommend talking to a licensed nutritionist. I have a background in nutrition but when it comes to single organ situations and trying to dial in numbers. It’s over my head. I want you to succeed and be safe so finding someone specialized will do just that!

        1. I would recommend Carrie Vitt with Biodynamic Wellness. She has a wealth of information on this. I just started working with her for my own weight gain/thyroid/adrenal issues but have been following her on Instagram for a while. Very knowledgeable and although we lives in separate states, we do phone calls. Good Luck!

  12. What if you treat you A.F and get well, get off the supplements and get worse, get on them again and nothing happens? It’s been 2,5 years now and I should be cured.

  13. How long does it take to recover from adrenal fatigue? I’m a crossfitter and can’t workout because of extreme back pain. High stress and high cortisol levels about six months ago. Now I’m handling stress better but morning cortisol levels are below normal (saliva test). I guess I burned out😩. I’ve been taking it easy for about 5 weeks (I feel like “way too easy” for my normal routine) but am wondering how long until I feel up to going back to crossfit.

    1. Great Question. You are already leaps and bounds ahead of most with the saliva test. So keep the regulation up just don’t obsess over it. As far as “taking it easy” this is different for everyone. Crossfitters go hard at every workout multiple times a week. So I would need to know what “taking it easy” is for you. Are you still doing Crossfit or are you just doing fast paced walks 2-3 times a week? In your case, taking it easy may need to go from 2-3 workouts a week to 1 or none at all until you can recover fully.

  14. hi i have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. i dont have lower back pain but constant pain on my left side on my back just below my bra line. earlier this year they found that my left kidney was swollen and did not understand why. i have had this pain ever since. is it related?

    1. It’s Rogoffs sign of Adrenal Fatigue. I had the same issue and my ribs started subluxating. Get a chiropractor if this happens. Supplements will help. Mine has been going on for 7 months now. Painful and rough. Hang in there. God bless!

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