Could Scar Tissue be causing your pain?

So many patients who come to me for help with chronic pain are actually suffering the long term effects of a previous injury or surgery, sometimes in a seemingly unrelated area. But why would a scar that has, by all accounts healed perfectly well many years ago, be causing this pain?

Firstly it is good to understand more about Fascia, which is connective tissue that is like a 3D web surrounding every single cell in our bodies - it connects everything together and is one continuous structure! To find out more about this please see the page on Myofascial Release or search the internet - there is so much new information coming out almost every day as we discover more and more about the importance of this amazing tissue, so you will be bound to find a good selection! Don't just take my word for it!

 

Once you understand a little more about Fascia it becomes easier to understand Scar Tissue. When you have surgery, or injury to an area, your body lays down more collagen fibres within the fascia as it rushes to repair the damage. These collagen fibres are dense and inelastic and so can cause restriction in the surrounding area, compromising full function of the area. This doesn't simply apply to joints/muscles/tendons/ligaments which are the types of tissue we link most to pain, it applies to the whole body! Organs can be restricted, compromising their full function and having knock on effects on the whole system, in particular abdominal surgery is highly likely to cause adhesions within the tissues (just think how much tissue you have packed in there - all those intestines for a start!) and cause digestive disorders, for example or even back pain!

It is important to remember that a scar isn't simply what you see on the surface, they form internally as well, wherever there has been disruption to the tissue. "A scar is the tip of a fascial iceberg" according to John Barnes, one of the leading experts in Myofascial Release, which I think is a wonderful quote! 

The Emotional Component of Scarring

We now realise that Scarring is not just about the physical process of repairing a wound, but there is often a huge emotional aspect to most scarring as well. Your body has essentially been invaded in some way, whether it was a planned surgery, or an emergency surgery or accident and so even with some relatively minor operations there can be emotional holding. This is certainly more apparent with emergency procedures, or hysterectomies/C-Sections for example - there will be so many emotions mixed in with the whole procedure that this is very often also trapped within the tissue and it is important to recognise this element in order to truly heal the scar and return the tissue, and the patient as a whole to a healthy state.

How do you release this Scar Tissue?

Using Myofascial Release techniques and some gentle massage techniques (as appropriate), as well as showing the patient techniques they can use to support their healing at home. All the techniques I use are gentle and I work with each patient as needed to feel safe and comfortable throughout treatment. 

It is never too late to work on a scar - even old scars respond well to treatment