Potential nociceptive role of the thoracolumbar fascia: A scope review involving in vivo and ex vivo studies

Academic Article


  • Nociceptive innervation of the thoracolumbar fascia (TLF) has been investigated over the past few decades; however, these studies have not been compiled or collectively appraised. The purpose of this scoping review was to assess current knowledge regarding nociceptive innervation of the TLF to better inform future mechanistic and clinical TLF research targeting lower back pain (LBP) treatment. PubMed, ScienceDirect, Cochrane, and Embase databases were searched in January 2021 using relevant descriptors encompassing fascia and pain. Eligible studies satisfied the follow-ing: (a) published in English; (b) preclinical and clinical (in vivo and ex vivo) studies; (c) original data; (d) included quantification of at least one TLF nociceptive component. Two-phase screening procedures were conducted by a pair of independent reviewers, after which data were extracted and summarized from eligible studies. The search resulted in 257 articles of which 10 met the inclusion criteria. Studies showed histological evidence of nociceptive nerve fibers terminating in lower back fascia, suggesting a TLF contribution to LBP. Noxious chemical injection or electrical stimulation into fascia resulted in longer pain duration and higher pain intensities than injections into subcutaneous tissue or muscle. Pre-clinical and clinical research provides histological and functional evidence of nociceptive innervation of TLF. Additional knowledge of fascial neurological components could impact LBP treatment.
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    Author List

  • Sinhorim L; Amorim MDS; Ortiz ME; Bittencourt EB; Bianco G; da Silva FC; Horewicz VV; Schleip R; Reed WR; Mazzardo-Martins L
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 19