The Secret Life of Scars
They adorn our bodies like badges of injuries gone by. An accident in our youth, life-saving surgery or elective joint replacement; whatever the cause the body’s physical healing follows the same path. If it is minor, our skin will heal itself, knitting the wound back together creating a faint line. If it’s surgical then the body may have both internal and external stitches to bring the injured tissue together so that it can heal. A scar is a natural healing process.
When a wound heals, the body lays down collagen to connect the two parts together. The collagen is laid down in an irregular pattern causing a thickening to the area resulting in a scar. We are often only concerned with the how this scar looks on the surface. Even at a follow-up appointment with a physician, the concern is infection and if the area has healed together, not what is happening below.
Most people don’t consider what is happening under the skin, to the tissues below the surface. A scar may look minor on the surface, but below the collagen can be forming adhesions, adhering or “sticking” to muscle tissues and preventing them from sliding back and forth freely. It can adhere to connective tissue causing immobility in joints or to nerves causing conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, and chronic back pain.
While the body’s formation of scar tissue is an amazing demonstration of self-preservation on the surface, it is something that needs to be assessed for its impact to the layers of muscle, connective tissues, nerves and circulatory structures below. Scar tissue is weaker, less elastic, more prone to future re-injury and much more pain sensitive than normal, healthy tissue.
This is why it is so important to treat the scar tissue. We used laser therapy immediately following injury or surgery as a way to increase healing on the cellular level. This allows for decreased inflammation, less chance of infection and reduction in pain. Early intervention also helps to decrease the formation of adhesions.
But what about the appendectomy you had 20 years ago, or the c-section you had 5 years ago? At Kingsway Health by the Lake we have many different modalities to help release adhesions, improve mobility, decrease burning or increase sensation. Manual therapy, acupuncture, ultrasound and micro-stimulation can all be incorporated into a treatment to best address how the scar has affected the layers below the surface.
Scars can play a very big role in our pain or dysfunction, so if there is something that is unresolved and you have a scar give us a call and let’s address the secrets locked in that tissue.
Shayne Henderson is a Massage and Movement Therapist at Kingsway Health by the Lake. Her own experience with post-surgical healing started her passion for helping others experience relief and reconnect with how their body should function.