We’ve all been there – that cycling accident during your gap year, being pushed off the climbing frame by your mean big brother, or maybe suffering from an illness or medical condition that needed surgical intervention – life gives us many knocks and bumps along the way and can sometimes leave us with scars.

massage for scarsSometimes, these scars don’t give us any bother and we forget that they’re there. Sometimes, however, they can cause restriction in our tissues and therefore our movement, especially if the scar crosses a joint such as the hip, knee or shoulder, and they can cause us pain, even years later.

Yet if the injury or illness has healed and is long gone, why does it still hurt or cause restriction where the scar is located?

Scarring occurs naturally following an injury to help the original wound heal from the moment the skin and underlying tissues are broken.  When this happens, the blood supply increases to the area of the wound, bringing more oxygen and nutrients, where a scab ultimately forms.

 

As time goes on, the body naturally produces more collage (the protein that makes the original tissue), but of a poorer quality, which forms a foundation for the new tissue (“granulation tissue”), and then new skin forms over the top, pulling the edges inwards.

The scar tends to be whiter, as some of the collagen breaks down and the blood supply decreases again, and the new scar tissue will be less elastic and sometimes feel tight. The scarring can also extend further into the tissue, and adhesions, bands of fibrous tissue, can bind the scar tissue to other tissues such as skin, facia, muscle and even organs.

 

As the tissues stick together, movement is restricted massage c-section scarand the tissues become starved of blood and therefore the oxygen and nutrients they need to function properly. And as we know, dysfunction or tightness in one area will have a knock-on effect on other areas in the body.

 

 

How massage can help scar tissue?

During treatment, massage can be applied directly to the scar (provided it has properly healed) and the area surrounding it. Techniques used may include rubbing the scar, rolling it, pinching it and picking it up away from the underlying adhesive tissues. This helps to mobilise scar tissue that has formed in the fascia or muscles and encourages oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the scar tissue, making the tissues more pliable and the scar itself softer and more flexible.

Breaking down adhesions and mobilising scar tissue can cause discomfort and sometimes pain, but overtime, can greatly improve the quality of the scar, reduce pain and increase movement. Whether your scar is an old scar from childhood, or a relatively new one – provided that it is properly healed (always check with your surgeon or GP if unsure), come and have a chat with us at the clinic in North Finchley to see if we can help.

 

 

  1. Fontaine, M., Pelvic Pain, the ole of Scar Tissue, 25 September 2012, http://www.pelvicpainrehab.com/female-pelvic-pain/553/pelvic-pain-the-role-of-scar-tissue/
  2. Brook, M., The Importance of Scar Tissue Release Therapy, June 2009, Massage Today, Vol. 9 Issue 6, http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=14020
  3. Medline plus, How wounds heal, https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000741.htm