Reducing Thoracolumbar Fascia Pain

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One of the most common complaints these days is back pain. For some people, it may be mild, but for others, it is severe enough to cause noticeable discomfort. Long working hours, improper posture, lifting heavy weights, and excessive workouts are some of the reasons for constant back pain. A sedentary lifestyle is another big reason that leads to lower or middle back pain.  

Generally, we tend to treat this pain using painkillers and at-home back massages. We do not think this pain could result from an injury or a medical condition. Here comes a condition called the thoracolumbar fascia. 

What is thoracolumbar fascia? 

The thoracolumbar fascia is a tissue behind the spinal column that connects the upper and lower back. It links the shoulder to the hip of the opposite side. This tissue covers and supports every muscle, bone, tendon, ligament, and organ in the body. It is responsible for smooth body movements, stability, and sensory roles. It stretches as we move. But sometimes, certain activities cause strain on this tissue, due to which it thickens, leading to limited movements and thoracolumbar fascia pain.  

What causes pain in the thoracolumbar fascia? 

As this tissue connects all the body parts to keep the movement smooth, any task that directly affects this region might lead to middle back pain or thoracolumbar fascia. Some of the common causes are: 

  • Sedentary lifestyle – Long working hours have led to longer sitting duration. This makes the muscles stiff, leading to constant pain. 
  • Improper posture – Not maintaining a proper body posture also leads to lower back pain, upper back pain, or middle back pain. 
  • Little or no physical activity – If there is little or no physical activity, the body movement is restricted. No muscle movement would eventually make the muscles stiff and cause back pain
  • Repeated movement – Any movement which repeatedly impacts a specific part of the back is bound to cause back pain. 
  • Excessive or heavy workout – Lifting heavy weights or exercising beyond a point your body can also go to cause strain on the back. 
  • Trauma or injury – Back injury is common among those who work in construction, farming, weightlifting, or athletics. 

How to stretch thoracolumbar fascia? 

As this diamond-shaped tissue does not have any blood vessels that could keep it hydrated, regular movement and stretching are vital to keep it smooth and avoid back pain. Taking frequent breaks from sitting on a chair and standing up to do some basic stretching is one way of releasing the tension in the middle back. Other stretches like the cat-cow yoga stretch and the crisscross movements are some of the thoracolumbar stretches one can do. 

Thoracolumbar fascia pain relief  

  • Heat Therapy Applying a heating pad to the impacted area or a warm shower or bath could help relax the fascia tissue and relieve the back pain. 
  • Yoga TherapyPerforming yoga poses that directly target the middle, lower, or upper back help relieve this pain. 
  • Foam Roller – It is a cylindrical-shaped exercise equipment that helps with stretching. 
  • Massage Therapy Therapeutic massage sessions from a professional can also help release back tension. 
  • Acupuncture – Inserting acupuncture needles in the trigger points helps the thoracolumbar tissue to relax, thereby reducing back pain. 
  • Use posture correctors – Posture correctors help to straighten the body posture, thereby putting less pressure on the thoracolumbar tissue.  
  • Maintaining a healthy weight – Maintaining a proper weight will put less pressure on your back and prevent back pain. 
  • Warm up before exercising – Do not directly engage in an advanced workout. Instead, take 10-20 minutes to warm up your body. 
  • A regular break from work – Taking a couple of minutes off from your work would only give you time to relax your body and back

Treating thoracolumbar fascia often entails more than one therapy session. It could be a combination of the pain relief options advised above.  

Recommended products to relieve thoracolumbar fascia pain

  • CanDo Round White PE Foam Rollers These rollers are useful for spinal stabilization and strengthening and are FSA-approved. Users can graduate from a smaller diameter roller to a more difficult (larger diameter) roller. Can be used alone or with other exercisers such as CanDo exercise band, tubing, weights, and balls.
  • BattleCreek Thermophore MaxHEAT Moist Heat Pack It provides heat therapy to the entire back, shoulders, hip area, and legs to alleviate pain. This FSA-approved heat pack produces intense moist heat without adding water, while its fast-acting therapy relieves pain and stiffness for hours.
  • Thermophore Classic Moist Heat PackIt gets into action quickly to ease back pain and stiffness. The moist heat pack works by providing deep heat therapy to aching and tired muscles. It has a Velcro clasp so you can customize it to suit exactly where you need it. Simply press and hold the specific hand-held switch to begin receiving moist heat therapy. When you turn off the switch, the machine will stop producing heat as a safety feature.
  • OPTP Posture Support Corrector - It pulls the shoulders back into the neutral position and properly aligns the spine. This posture corrector is designed to be worn under clothing and has an adjustable strap for a comfortable fit. With crisscrossed reinforced elastic bands and front hook closure, it's made of nylon and Lycra.
  • Aspen Peak Scoliosis Bracing System It is designed to relieve pain in the back and improve body posture. This patented and adjustable brace from Aspen has been shown to improve posture, enhance mobility, increase vital capacity and ultimately increase a patient’s ability to perform activities of daily living.


Our spinal area is our body’s central support system. It enables us to sit, stand, walk, bend and twist. It provides us the strength to pick up heavy weights. Keeping it healthy and maintaining strength in the back muscles can eradicate most of our body's problems. In recent times, many people have experienced tension in the back muscles daily. This makes performing regular activities like walking, running, sitting, and standing for long hours or any other movement quite tedious. 

Often, we ignore the messages our body tries to send us and take regular painkillers to end the pain. But if the pain becomes unbearable or starts to impact other body movements, such as mobility, it might be a sign of a serious health issue. At this point, it is better to consult a healthcare provider to learn about the ways to resolve this problem, about the ways to look after our support system, and strengthen it to be able to enjoy our lives! 


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