Are you scarred for Life?
Scars (adhesions) are areas of fibrous tissue that replace normal tissue after an injury. A scar results from the biological process of wound repair and is a natural part of the healing process in most cases.
Scar tissue is the same protein (collagen) as the tissue that it replaces, but the fiber composition of the protein is different.
Instead of a random basket weave formation of the collagen fibers found in normal tissue, in scar tissue, the collagen cross-links and forms a pronounced alignment in a single direction.
The collagen scar tissue alignment is usually of inferior quality and function compared to the normal collagen randomized alignment. As a result, nerve transmission, circulation and movement will all be compromised.
This can result in faulty movement patterns, pain and dysfunction, both locally and in other areas of the body seemingly unrelated.
In addition, scar tissue on tissue overlying organs can affect their function.
- Wearing a loose shirt, raise your right arm
- Now twist the lower left part of your shirt and raise your right arm again
- Notice how the tension in an area removed from the part of your body that you are moving has an adverse effect on motion. This is what scar tissue does.
Scar tissue can be painfully debilitating for a patient and very confusing for a practitioner.
If you have chronic pain, it is important to let your practitioner know about both obvious scar tissue (visible) as well as past trauma’s where scar tissue may be in the fascia and need to be identified through palpation and/or a movement screen.
Do you have any scar tissue?
- Past surgeries
- Repetitive strain injuries
One of the most effective ways to deal with scars/adhesions is through a combination of:
- Dry needling in or around the tissue. This creates a small, controlled inflammatory reaction that brings in fresh blood and stimulates new collagen formation through growth factors.
- Cross-frictions massage, which manually softens the tissue.
- Pin and stretch to the tissue with both active and passive movement to realign the tissue and;
- Home exercises consisting of self myofascial release (e.g. foam roller, tennis balls etc), stretching and strengthening.
You don’t have to be scarred for life!