Scars aren’t always just skin deep! What does a glacier and scar tissue have in common? Everything. Like a glacier rising from the ocean, if you see a raised scar on your skin, something much deeper and dangerous could lie beneath the surface. Many of us have at least one scar, whether from life saving surgery or something as simple as falling off of a bike as a child. Rarely do we think of these scars as causing any long term issues. However, many scars can penetrate deeper beneath the surface of the skin and cause all sorts of restrictions around muscles and organs creating pain, stiffness and even cause symptoms that appear to be coming from an organ (such as urinary urgency and frequency). When our muscle tissue is traumatized by injuries or surgeries, scar tissue will form. Scar tissue, like healthy tissue, is made of collagen but the difference is that it is not as elastic. Scar tissue may indicate a deeper problem, as damage is often found in the tissue beneath the surface of scarred skin.
Sometimes, the scars we can’t see are the ones that cause the most pain. Pelvic scar tissue and pelvic pain can be a result of childbirth (both vaginal and through C section), tearing of the perineum, endometriosis, hysterectomies, vasectomies and bowel surgery. Physical therapy is one of the most effective ways to treat internal scarring. While uncomfortable, it is crucial that scar tissue is massaged and moved around so that blood flow to the area is not being restricted and nerves near the scarring are not entrapped. If a scarred area is massaged, the tissue’s collagen fibers will gradually realign and the skin’s elasticity will be restored.
Rebalance physical therapists specialize in specific techniques that help improve scar tissue mobility around muscles and organs. We may use techniques such as soft tissue mobilization, in which the physical therapist most commonly uses their fingers to apply pressure to a scarred area, moving the muscle from a shortened to lengthened state or deeper techniques called visceral mobilization to improve tissue flexibility around an organ. The amount of pressure used will vary depending on the severity, location and age of your scarring. This technique will restore circulation and the muscle tissue’s overall function. Your physical therapist will also teach you stretches and exercises to keep your blood flowing and muscles moving between sessions.
No one goes through life completely unscarred, but there is no need to suffer from them. If you have pain from scarring, contact Rebalance physical therapists to remodel yourself from the inside out!
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