In the first and second article on back pain, bad posture was discussed. Now we will be examining the Thoraco Lumbar Fascia (TLF).
What is TLF?
TLF is a dense diamond shaped fibrous sheet which provides connection for the following muscles:
Upper portion of TLF – Latissimus dorsi, Trapezius, Rhomboid major
Middle portion of TLF – Diaphragm and internal obliques
Lower portion of TLF – Quadratus lumborum, Gluteus maximus, Longissium, Iliocastalis, Spinal erectors, Mutifidi
Fibers from these muscles merge together to form the TLF, a fibrous tissue which links and delivers corset like support. TLF acts as connection between the upper and low back. It’s made from collagen, allowing stretching and expansion while supporting movement of the trunk. Sort of like spanx – holds, supports and yet allows movement.
The TLF anchors itself to bones – spine, ribs and pelvis to allow fluid motion in everyday activities.
What does the TLF do?
TLF is major key in daily movement, especially walking, by stabilizing opposing forces. It manages weight distribution throughout the back and transfers force among the various muscles and bones. Since it has a connection with the internal obliqes, the TLF helps with core strength.
What kind of symptoms are related to TLF?
Muscle testing is the best way to figure out if the TLF is a contributor to your pain. There are some indicators to tell if your TLF is potentially a source of your pain.
Radiating pain – Such as back pain with shoulder pain. Or hip pain with back pain.
Tightness/spasms in the sacrum and/or lumbar spine which only has temporary relief with localized therapy.
Increase in lumbar lordosis with chronic pain.
Chronic shoulder or hip pain which doesn’t respond to localize therapy.
Problems with chest tightness or problems with taking a deep breath.
Unable to fully rotate the chest or trunk.
How does the TLF get injured?
The most common cause of TLF pain is poor posture and sitting long periods of time. Studies have found individuals with chronic back pain in the last 12 months or longer had damage to the TLF. Compensating for poor posture can cause the TLF to develop a twist in its woven pattern. The twist will pull or aggravate other areas of the back. Since the TLF comprised of many different muscles connected together, damage to one area can radiate to another muscle group. An example: your back starts aches on the drive home from work. Overtime, your back might feel better but for no reason your shoulder starts to hurt. You may notice your back and shoulder will ache when together on stressful days.
The connective pain you are experiencing could be related to TLF. Your back pain is not just a localized problem, but a dynamic issue encompassing different components. At Ridgefield Acupuncture your pain case is evaluated through a series of muscle tests and posture analysis to ensure correct treatment. If testing indicates a TLF involvement, the appropriate muscles are addressed. To correct tightness and spasms in your TLF, opposing muscle groups are treated to offer long lasting relief. At Ridgefield Acupuncture, your pain case is more than just your back muscles.