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The Thoracolumbar Fascia and Chronic Low Back Pain

Because back pain, especially low back pain (LBP), is so common in our society, it’s important to realize that there are things you can do to both prevent it and reverse it and its causes (MY ONLINE PATIENT HANDOUT FOR THIS). Furthermore, because a whopping 85% of LBP is considered to be “NON-SPECIFIC” (up from 75% just a few years ago), it would behoove people to understand the importance of the THORACOLUMBAR FASCIA — the diamond-shaped area of silver-skin at the sacrum and lumbar spine that runs to the bottom ribs (ANOTHER GREAT EXAMPLE).

Because so much back pain is non-specific (no one really knows what causes it) not only is imaging (both x-rays and advanced imaging) usually unhelpful, it can in many cases actually throw clinicians off the trail of true causality (HERE is an extremely common example). This is because fascia, including the thoracolumbar fascia, does not image well with MRI (see previous link). Before we discuss a new patient I saw yesterday, who was dealing with the effects of rather severe thoracolumbar fascia tearing, let’s take a look at what this month’s research has to say about pain, and especially about CHRONIC PAIN.

A couple weeks ago, Pain Therapy (Common Clinical Practice for Low Back Pain Treatment: A Modified Delphi Study) stated, “Low back pain is a common reason for adults to seek medical care and is associated with important functional limitation and patient burden. Yet, heterogeneity [differences] in the causes and presentation of LBP… impedes effective prevention and treatment.

Unfortunately, far too much pain — particularly low back pain — is addressed in a pharmacological manner. Where has that led us? A study published a couple days ago in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice revealed the answer to the question via the frankness of their study’s title….. The Iatrogenic Opioid Crisis: An Example of ‘Institutional Corruption of Pharmaceuticals’ (the word IATROGENIC means ’caused by your medical care or doctor’). Have a trash can handy because his excerpt from the abstract may make you ill.

Prescribed opioids are major contributors to the international public health opioid crisis. Such widespread iatrogenic harms usually result from collective decision failures of healthcare organizations rather than solely of individual organizations or professionals. The iatrogenic crisis has multiple intricately linked roots. The major catalyst: pervasive pharma-linked financial conflicts of interest (CoIs) involving most other healthcare organizations.

These extensive financial CoIs were likely triggers for a cascade of erroneous decisions and actions that adversely affected patients. The actions and decisions of pharma ranged from unethical to illegal. The iatrogenic opioid crisis may exemplify ‘institutional corruption of pharmaceuticals’.

You had better get it through your head that much of “The System” has zero interest in your health and well-being. Zero. In fact, it wants just the opposite. It wants you to live a very long life with a myriad of chronic health issues. In fact, the dream of Big Pharma is actually taking place (HERE). Americans are living longer than ever but according to the experts, the last (gulp) 25 years of their lives are spent with chronic conditions.

By hook and by crook, industry’s wet dream has become a reality. And if you think they are ready to give up market share because their DRUGS ARE DANGEROUS AND EVEN DEADLY, I have his piece of land called the Mark Twain National Forest I’d love to sell you!

The quote above shows you that there is a conspiracy in play — the same sort of conspiracy we see every day in the political world. It’s all about the money. You are seen by Big Pharma as nothing more, nothing less, than their BIGGEST COMMODITY; a way for them to get fabulously rich off your misery.

And as to the FINANCIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST these authors talk about, I’ve talked about them many times myself (follow the link but keep that trash can in close proximity). Interestingly, the hundreds of “chronic pain” studies I’ve recently combed through in my personal research reveal that the public, along with a significant portion of the treating medical community, is growing increasingly sick of Big Pharma’s influence and control over their profession and is searching for alternatives.

When it comes to alternatives, for the past 120 years chiropractors have gotten a lot of things right. There is, however, something that far too many have gotten wrong — the idea that solving people’s chronically painful conditions hinges on either A.) many, many, many adjustments in the form of massive initial treatment plans, or B.), a lifetime of “regular” adjustments. The first point is predicated on the idea that adjustments alone will always provide a correction (ALTHOUGH IT PERTAINS TO THE NECK, THIS LINK SHOWS WHY SAID BELIEF IS RARELY TRUE). Let’s touch on the second, point B.

What does the word ‘regular‘ mean? It depends on who you ask. While there are some very real and important benefits of ‘maintaining’ a spine that is both functionally and structurally sound, patients — especially non-elderly patients — coming in over and over again for the exact same problems / symptoms is not what I am about. AND SHOULD NOT BE REFERRED TO AS MAINTENANCE! Enter Roger.

Roger, not his real name, came to see me yesterday with ongoing low back pain that was preventing his ability to work as a successful contractor. He did not want any tissue work but after examining him I told him that adjustments were not going to solve his problem. Although Roger is in his mid-20’s, he had worked hard all his life and developed some serious THORACOLUMBAR FASCIAL ADHESIONS in the process.

To understand why his ranges of motion stunk — never good in a young, fit, healthy person — as well as why any number of movements caused pain, take a peek at this TEN SECOND VIDEO SHOWING THORACOLUMBAR ADHESIONS IN ACTION. I broke the adhesions, adjusted him in a very specific manner, gave him some simple stretches and exercises to do, etc, etc, and sent him on his way.

Problem solved! Simple! No future appointment(s) were made nor was he pestered to do some sort of “maintenance,” although he will undoubtedly get some great health-related advice from the PATIENT CHECKLIST I GAVE HIM, circling the appropriate links for him to look at later). I also took a picture.

(Notice the MASSIVE HORIZONTAL TEARS at the top of his thoracolumbar fascia — something I see on occasion but not regularly, although THICKENED FASCIA ITSELF IS VERY COMMON).

While not every problem people come to see me with responds instantly like Roger’s did, it is not at all uncommon as seen in our PATIENT TESTIMONIALS. It’s also quite revealing as to just how many people’s chronic back pain (and / or SCIATICA) is related to adhesions of the thoracolumbar fascia or other nearby fascia (CLUNEAL NERVE ENTRAPMENT IS COMMON AS WELL) (OR HERE) as opposed to being disc-related or purely cause by degenerative changes as so many people are told (HERE). In way too many cases, the thoracolumbar fascia is being ignored (dozens of examples on my site)!

As you can see, our clinic is different. If different is what you are interested in, give us a call and maybe we can help you like we helped Roger. Oh, and be sure to follow us on FACEBOOK so that you stay current with pertinent health and pain-related information!

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