Posted Under: Lower Body Topics
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Lower back pain|Tensor fascia lata
Lower back pain is most commnely caused by L5 nerve root irritation and tensor fascia lata has very strong L5 nerve root representations in it.
This muscle arises from the the pelvic bone in the region called the iliac crest. It inserts into the iliotibial tract. It is supplied by the superior gluteal nerve which carries predominantly L5 spinal nerve fibers (and also L4 nerve root fibers) into this muscle. Its action is to bend the thigh upwards (hip flexion), roll the thigh inward (internal rotation) and to spread the thigh away from the midline (abduction). It also assists in straightening the knee.
This muscle becomes very prone to injury since it is chronically stretched while we are sitting since both the hip and knees are bent. Since the L5 nerve root is very easily injured or irritated from presence of degenerative arthritis of the spine, slipped disc, bulging disc, the tensor fascia lata often has underlying neurogenic weakness.
When the patient complains of pain and spasm in the lateral aspect of the thigh, often the diagnosis entertained is that of irritation of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve of the thigh known as meralgia paresthetica. More important is to consider is the common situation of L5 nerve root irritation with pain and spasm in the tensor fascia lata muscle.
Tensor fascia lata has similar functions to that of the rectus femoris which is part of the quadriceps muscle. Pain and spasm with weakness of these two muscles will lead to overaction of the hamstrings at the knee. This is the chief cause of inability to straighten the knee while performing the straight leg raising testing.
In treating lower back pain, in addition to treating the entire spine muscles, treatments must always include the gluteus maximus, adductor magnus, tensor fascia lata and rectus femoris muscles due to their prime role in being subjected to injurious lengthening contractions on a daily basis.
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