Scars and Massage?
Intelligently applied massage may do wonders for easing the aches and pains of poorly functioning scar tissue.
Scar tissue is the body’s normal response to injury.
We may not like how it looks, but the body needs to form scar tissue in order to hold injured tissues together. If you cut yourself, the body must weave new tissue to bring the edges together so that they STAY together.
Problems arise when the scar tissue becomes pathologic- it restricts movement, changing the body's posture, or “glues” a nerve or vein to adjoining tissue. The chart on the right shows various types of scars that might form.
AND scar tissue- is never the same as the original tissue- this goes for organ surgeries, cuts and scrapes of childhood, or blunt trauma.
Other Causes for Scar Tissue
Areas under chronic strain may instigate the formation of scar tissue cross-links between tissue fibers to support or reinforce the area under postural strain- especially if inflammation is also present.
Example: You may hear from a body worker that “…you have scar tissue at the tops of your shoulder blades.” Some may call it fibrosis. This is more and more common as the population is bent, head forward for most of the day at computers and cell phones.
Acne, chickenpox, body piercing, burns, and diseases may also cause scar tissue formation.
Tattoos can cause restrictions and pain in the body as well.
The body is often overly exuberant in its healing!
Surgeries are a major cause of adhesion formation – up to 93% of people who undergo abdominal surgeries experience the common “side effect” of abdominal adhesion.
Often not discussed prior to a surgery, breast augmentation or reduction and partial or full mastectomies can cause posture and movement difficulties right away- or even YEARS later!
Plaid versus Stripe or Stop versus Go
The scar tissue is laid down in a pattern I like to call “plaid” versus the linear lines of muscle fibers. This crisscross of “support” through the many layers of fascia that encase each muscle fiber, nerve, vein or capillary, may cause a restriction in flow or movement.
A poorly functioning scar may cause movement issues, trigger points or pain.
The emotions surrounding a traumatic event- whether it is fear of a surgery or the sudden fright of an accident- may also enhance the significance of scarring.
Scars Must Mature-
Week 1-6 Phase 1- It is soft and “sticky” for several weeks It may feel itchy or sensitive as the nerve endings are healing. We do not do tissue manipulation or scar targeted techniques during this phase because the support of the developing scar is needed to repair and eventually support the injured tissues.
Week 6 Generally, between 5 and 6 weeks from the initial injury, the scar tissue is matured enough to begin manipulation by massage or other scar treatment techniques. Of course, this depends on the depth and size of the wound.
At about 6 weeks, we may (may need doctor permission) begin careful manipulation of the forming tissues.
3 to 18 months Scar tissue may continue to be produced for 3 to 18 months. During this period, it may be important to assure that the tissue is forming in a functional way rather than in a way that will obstruct movement or cause pain.
Through the early phases of scar tissue formation, the use of low frequency micro current may offer an option prior to being able to use tissue manipulation. see Frequency Specific Microcurrent.