Lower Back Pain

Understanding the Importance of the Thoracolumbar Fascia


Can the thoracolumbar fascia cause or contribute to lower back pain and inflammation?

Thoracolumbar Fascia

Tissue behind the spinal column, positioned at both the lower back and mid-back levels, is connected to the thoracolumbar fascia, also called the lumbodorsal fascia or LF. The fascia is a thick connective tissue that covers and supports all the body’s muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and organs. The fascia also contains nociceptive nerve endings, also known as free nerve endings, that arise from the central nervous system, i.e., the brain and spinal cord, which may be responsible for some forms of back pain and stiffness caused by injury or inflammation.


The thoracolumbar fascia is divided into three layers:

  1. Back or posterior layer.
  2. Middle layer
  3. Front or anterior layer. (Willard, F. H. et al., 2012)

Many of the back muscles attach to the thoracolumbar fascia. The erector spinae muscle group, known as the paraspinals, runs longitudinally down the spine. They are attached to the thoracolumbar fascia and the bony spine. The lumbar part of the posterior layer of the thoracolumbar fascia extends from the lowest rib to the top of the hip bone or the iliac crest. On the same path, it connects with the transverse abdominal muscle. The thoracolumbar fascia connections help bridge the back muscles to the abdominal wall muscles. The latissimus dorsi, a large back muscle that bears and moves the body’s weight with the arms and shoulders, is also connected to the thoracolumbar fascia, with the fibers extending outward from the fascia. The front part of the thoracolumbar fascia, or anterior layer, covers a muscle called the quadratus lumborum. This muscle bends the trunk to the side, helps maintain a healthy posture, and is often focused on muscle-related lower back pain.

What the Fascia Does

The thoracolumbar fascia, examined from the back of an anatomical drawing or diagram, is diamond-shaped. Its shape, large size, and central location uniquely position it to unify and synchronize the upper body’s movements with the lower body’s. The fascia’s fibers are very strong, enabling the tissue sheath to lend support (Willard, F. H. et al., 2012) . The tissue is also flexible, enabling it to help circulate forces of movement and contralateral movements as the back muscles contract and relax. An example is walking.

Back Pain

Scientists and doctors don’t know for sure, but it’s possible that the thoracolumbar fascia may contribute to lower back pain. A study found that the fascia may generate back pain based on: (Wilke, J. et al., 2017)

  • Sustaining micro-injuries and/or inflammation, which are often related, may cause signal changes in the free nerve endings in the fascia. Nerve endings acquire information from the outer areas of the body, like skin and other fascia, and relay it back to the central nervous system. The theory is that when the fascia close to the skin becomes injured, damaged, and/or backed up with inflammatory chemicals and substances, it is communicated as pain and other sensations back to the brain and spinal cord.
  • After a back injury, tissues tighten and stiffen. Some studies of patients with back pain noted alterations in their thoracolumbar fascia.
  • Injuries tend to stimulate nerves, which can lead to increased sensitivity.

Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic focuses on and treats injuries and chronic pain syndromes through personalized care plans that improve ability through flexibility, mobility, and agility programs to relieve pain. Our providers use an integrated approach to create personalized care plans for each patient, including Functional Medicine, Acupuncture, Electro-Acupuncture, and Sports Medicine principles. Our goal is to relieve pain naturally by restoring health and function to the body. If other treatment is needed, Dr. Jimenez has teamed up with top surgeons, clinical specialists, medical researchers, and rehabilitation providers to provide the most effective treatments.

Sciatica, Causes, Symptoms, and Tips


Willard, F. H., Vleeming, A., Schuenke, M. D., Danneels, L., & Schleip, R. (2012). The thoracolumbar fascia: anatomy, function and clinical considerations. Journal of anatomy, 221(6), 507–536. doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7580.2012.01511.x

Wilke, J., Schleip, R., Klingler, W., & Stecco, C. (2017). The Lumbodorsal Fascia as a Potential Source of Low Back Pain: A Narrative Review. BioMed research international, 2017, 5349620. doi.org/10.1155/2017/5349620

Post Disclaimer

Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Understanding the Importance of the Thoracolumbar Fascia" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.


Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
License Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*
Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card

Published by

Recent Posts

Discover the Best Low-Sugar Fruits for a Healthy Lifestyle

Can fruit help with a sweet craving for individuals trying to limit sugar? Fruits Low… Read More

June 13, 2024

Why Cycling is Beneficial for Osteoarthritis Patients

Can individuals with osteoarthritis can incorporate cycling to reduce joint pain and regain their joint… Read More

June 13, 2024

Boost Your Endurance with Sprint Exercise Training

For individuals who don't have time for a full workout, could incorporating sprint exercise training… Read More

June 12, 2024

Clinical Approach and the Role of Nursing: Providing Exceptional Patient Care

How do healthcare professionals provide a clinical approach in the role of nursing to reducing… Read More

June 12, 2024

Sleeping in a Heatwave: Strategies for Coping with Hot Weather

High temperatures can disrupt the body's sleep cycles, leading to health problems. Can knowing strategies… Read More

June 11, 2024

Understanding and Managing a Nervous Stomach

Emotional challenges like anxiety and depression or digestive disorders can cause individuals to experience a… Read More

June 10, 2024