The mid and lower back regions are very important for biomechanics (how the body moves). This is important because of its unique ability to act as a dynamic strength and transfer mechanism of load bearing forces during motion for the entire body. Biomechanical studies of the spine have taught us that mechanical loads during motion and particularly gait (walking) are transferred from the hips, pelvis, and low back, across the Thoracolumbar Fascia in a criss cross or X fashion to the upper back, shoulders, and arms. For instance, motions that involve twisting or rotating the trunk would transfer forces up the right hamstring / gluteal muscles to the opposite side of the latissimus dorsi and trapezius muscles. This transfer of motion dynamic occurs in the opposite direction as well. If you picture this occurring, the Thoracolumbar Fascia would be at the center of the X. Here are some pictures to better help you visualize some of the muscles involved.

The degree of transfer or translation of forces in the opposite direction diagonally upward and diagonally downwards depends on the motion dynamic. If you picture this occurring, the Thoracolumbar Fascia would be at the center of the X.


The picture on the left demonstrates in purple, the thick Thoracolumbar Fascia, which is actually a conglomerate of several muscle tendons tying into the spinal and paraspinal structures at different angles providing strength, durability and flexibility during movement. The picture on the right is a cross sectional cut of erector spinae muscle tissue from a different depth displaying the red muscle tissue and the white/pinkish colored fascia (actually a yellowish-semi translucent membrane).

Fascia is the tough, yellowish-semi translucent membrane that is found underneath the skin, and tightly covers any number of tissues, including muscles. Fascia is a living membrane and it has the ability to contract slightly in concert with the corresponding muscle. Fascia is responsible for all sorts of "Pain Syndromes", even though it cannot normally be visualized on MRI films.

In a recently published article in the refereed medical journal, Spine demonstrated that Thoracolumbar Fascia could be seen using MRI, researchers at Philadelphia's Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital concluded that, "The sensitivity and specificity of MRI for diagnosing injury of the PLC [Thoracolumbar Fasica] are lower than previously reported in the literature. The integrity of the PLC [Thoracolumbar Fascia] as determined by MRI should not be used in isolation to determine treatment." In other words, you might see it, but the image is not good enough to be considered 'diagnostic' meaning you won't get any diagnostic meaning or significance from the films.

Stop and think about the gravity of this situation for a moment. The single most pain-sensitive tissue in your body is poorly imaged with current MRI technology and the formation of Scar Tissue in this area, which is commonplace and a recipe for disaster because it often becomes hyper-sensitized to the point that some researchers say it is up to 1,000 times more painful than normal tissue. This is called TYPE III pain or Pathogenic Pain Patterns.

Three Thoracolumbar Fascial Components

  • PAIN: Lower back pain, sciatic pain, buttock pain and piriformis syndrome and sacroiliac region pain patterns very often respond favorably to chiropractic treatments but over time the pain can rear its ugly head once again. One of the reasons for this dynamic is that you're are going back to what you did, habit patterns, that caused it in the first place. Meaning that over time, your body has comformed to the demands of your job and leisure lifestyle. Recurrent pain patterns and exacerbations tell us that Scar Tissue is present you had better deal with it effectively if you want a chance at achieving long-lasting pain relief. It is also important to understand that the Thoracolumbar Fascia is continuous with the fascia in the neck or cervical region which is continuous with the skull fascia. That's right, the fascia is one continuous sheath with varying degrees of thickness. This means that problems in one area of the body have the potential to cause pain in distant areas of the body. Well known Whiplash researchers have published numerous papers for over two decades stating that the injuries seen in whiplash accidents are likely to cause, "bizarre and seemingly unrelated symptoms".

  • LOSS OF FUNCTION: Loss of function or diminished ranges of motion is a component of acute and chronic inflammation and over time it correlates with loss of strength. These two components work together creating a vicious cycle of pain and re-injury leading to hyper-reinnervation, supersensitivity and adverse patterns in neurospinal learning. Adverse patterns in neurospinal learning means that the spinal cord component of the central nervous system learns or is programmed over time to relay pain pattern information to the consciously aware brain without receiving the signals from the injured or scar tissued regions. In other words, your pain develops a "mind of its own".

  • DEGENERATION: The end product of loss of normal joint function (strength and motion) is degeneration. If we live long enough, this becomes part of the normal aging process but the speed and degree to which degeneration develops over time depends upon the magnitude and recurrence of injuries. There is an old Blues song and a verse in the song addresses the aforementioned statements. "I ache in the places where I used to play," yes we are the sum total of our past injuries and our bodies do not forget and its memory is demonstrated with spinal degenerative disc disease and scar tissue proliferation.


Adjustments: Improves the altered Instantaneous Axis of Rotation (IAR) firing mechanoreceptors reducing pain, increases synovial circular to the joints, relaxes the surrounding musculature, helps to flush out inflammatory pain causing exudates and much more.

Interferential Currents: This reduces pain patterns stimulating a pain dampening Enkephalinergic response. The electrically induced contraction and relaxation cycling of the surrounding muscles relax spasming and creates a pumping effect to reduce inflammation.

Therapeutic Ultrasound: Helps to reduce pain, breaks up scar tissue and improves functionality.

Therapeutic Laser: LLLT (Low Level Laser Therapy) is the application of red and near infra-red light over injuries or fibrous adhesions/scar tissues to improve wound and soft tissue healing, reduce inflammation and give relief for both acute and chronic pain. LLLT is used to: increase the speed, quality and tensile strength of tissue repair; resolve inflammation and relieve pain (analgesia). We currently have 4 Lasers in use at the Conklin Clinics and we are continuing to increase our inventory. They are cutting edge effective and absolutely crucial when treating acute and chronic pain and injuries.

Therapeutic Stretch and Strengthen Exercises: This should be done only after improvement or restoration of joint function through adjustments which once again improves or restores the Instantaneous Axis of Rotation. Keep in mind that exercising a chronic or injured neck, back or any joint for that matter is like hitting a bent nail with a hammer. You're simply going to do more damage to those structures and you will be more prone to a greater severity of injuries.

At the Conklin Clinics we are well versed in the treatment of joint related acute and chronic injuries and their pain patterns. We are very thorough, give us a call.

Disclaimer: The information found on this webpage is not a substitute for medical advice from a licensed physician or legal advice from a licensed attorney. Any concerns or questions related to your injuries or pain patterns whether acute or chronic, and their legal impact and consequences, if any, need to be conducted with appropriate legal counsel. Any concerns or questions related to your injuries and/or pain patterns whether they are deemed acute or chronic, and their short term or long term physical impact and consequences, need to be conducted with an appropriate licensed physician. The information found on this page is for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose, treat and/or educate for purposes of treatment and/or educate for the purposes in the self treatment of your injury or injuries or pain patterns.