fascia and back pain

Ból pleców a powięź piersiowo-lędźwiowa

What’s in the article?

Read and find out what fascia is, what it means in our body and what functions it performs. And also why your back may hurt and whether treating fascia can reduce the pain.

Why am I writing about fascia?

I have wanted to write about the fascia for a long time, not because I am particularly interested in it, but because, in the light of recent research, many cases of back pain may be caused by the thoracolumbar fascia and connections in the lumbar section.

And since I specialize in helping patients with back pain, I thought it was worth writing about it.

What is fascia?

Fascia is a 3D mesh or spider web. Made of collagen fibers, it can change its structure, shorten or stretch. It may eventually cause changes in the positioning of individual parts of our body and lead to excessive use of joints and muscles, which may also result in pain.

Fascia is connective tissue without which our body would look like a bag of potatoes. Without it, muscles, bones and internal organs would get mixed up and protrude through the skin. Fascia gives form to our body and that is why we have the shape and appearance we do. An equally important function of fascia is that of a connector and tissue that allows internal organs, muscles and bones to move relative to each other.

Moreover, fascia has recently been recognized as a new organ in our body. For about 15 years, numerous clinical trials have been ongoing to expand our knowledge in this area.

Fascia in physiotherapy

For me, a physiotherapist specializing in back pain, the thoracolumbar fascia is of particular importance. It consists of three layers and connects to many muscles and ligaments in the back and buttocks. It affects muscles such as the erector spinae, quadratus lumborum and gluteus major. It also connects to the ribs, pelvis and vertebrae in the thoracic and lumbar spine. The connection with the anterior wall of the abdominal cavity is also important.

The arrangement of the fibers in the thoracolumbar fascia is also characteristic and allows the load to be transmitted diagonally on the back, along the line of the buttock – fascia – the opposite shoulder. This may explain a number of pain symptoms at various levels of the back.

How can fascia contribute to pain?

Firstly, micro-injuries that are often associated with inflammation lead to irritation of free nerve endings, and there are 6 times more of them in the magnification than in the skeletal muscles. Information about inflammation and pain is transmitted to the spinal cord and brain. In response, the brain ‘asks’ the tissues and muscles to protect the damaged area in the fascia, which results in an increase in tension anyway. …increasing pain! The circle closes.

Can work cause pain?

Long-term work in one position, repetitive activities, injuries, post-operative conditions may cause disorders and changes in the structure of the fascia, which may lead to its lower mobility and, consequently, pain. The buildup of fibrous or scar tissue (bulges felt under the skin) and trigger points can lead to pain. Because fascia exists and covers virtually the entire body, pain can be felt and radiate to places where the problem does not exist. For example, pain in the lumbar region may project pain towards the arm and vice versa. In turn, pain in the upper back can easily spread to the head, neck, shoulder and even the upper limb

Fascia and future research directions

It also seems that knowledge about fascia may also help us better understand oncological diseases. One theory talks about fascia as a way for cancer cells to spread and metastasize. Medicine hides many mysteries and the science of fascia may lead to unraveling them.

Fascia as a source of idiopathic (unknown origin) back pain

Imaging tests, e.g. In other words, changes in the spine and damage do not have to mean terrible pain. But conversely, a small damage/injury can result in severe pain. I have often seen patients terrified by a lengthy radiology report that, while helpful, should not be the basis for treatment. What is important is the return of patients to normal functioning and pain reduction. There are also patients who have the so-called non-specific (idiopathic) back pain where imaging tests do not detect changes and the radiological picture does not match what we see in the clinic. And this is where the fascia and soft tissues can provide the answer to why the pain is felt

Fascia therapy at Physio – Soton

In therapy, I often use manual and osteopathic techniques (e.g. harmonic movement), which equalize tensions in the fascia. I always emphasize breathing work in patients, which allows the tissues to relax and increase the effect of the therapy. This is especially important for my patients with acute back pain. I also recommend using special exercises to loosen the fascia and using rollers, tennis balls, golf balls and massage balls, especially in the thoracic and lumbar section of the back.

Find out more

Some interesting English-language articles about fascia and therapy can be found here:

https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/physical-therapy/myofascial-therapy-treatment-acute-and-chronic-pain

https://www.livestrong.com/article/475498-exercise-that-works-your-thoracolumbar-fascia/

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About the author

Masseur

Marek Czeladzki, Master of Physiotherapy. He works as a Chartered Physiotherapist in the British Health Service in Southampton. He runs the Physio – Soton clinic. He specializes in the treatment of back pain using manual therapy, osteopathic and chiropractic techniques, soft tissue therapy, fascia therapy and work with peripheral nerves. He is currently completing his studies under the supervision of Dr. Eric Dalton.

Contact: tel: 07835224603, email: info@physio-soton.co.uk

2 komentarze
  1. Odpowiedz
    Janusz

    ja codziennie odczuwam ból pleców, najbardziej właśnie w okolicach odcinka piersiowego,zona może mnie bić po plecach nic nie czuję ale każdy ruch rękoma, kichnięcie, kaszel powoduje okropny ból o leżeniu na plecach to juz dawno zapomniałem,biorę ketonal dołączyłem też metypred 4 mg.ale niestety dla mnie to nie działa, co robić????????

  2. Odpowiedz
    Małgorzata

    Jestem pod wrażeniem 🙂 no nie napawa mnie optymizmem tak szerokie spektrum powięzi,zważając na fakt że 2 razy nieumiejętnie pokrojono mój kręgosłup lędźwiowy robiąc tlifa i go po pęknięciu wyjmując…

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