Scar Tissue Management

Regardless of the age of your scar tissue, scar massage techniques can help to improve or lessen the  appearance of your scar and may reduce the possibility of developing long-term problems due to scar tissue or adhesions. The body’s natural response to an injury that damages the dermis (deep, thick layer of skin) is to form scar tissue. A normal scar will  usually flattens and the redness gradually disappears. Sometimes you  will form a keloid, or abnormally enlarged, raised, and thickened scar may fade and flatten slightly with the passage of time. Unknown to many is that you may also form an adhesion, an internal band of scar tissue that abnormally holds the scar against adjacent structures.  Adhesions do not always resolve with the passage of time and they can become worse causing you long term dysfunction in your body Scars develop as the result of a variety of injuries or traumatic events – deep lacerations, radiation therapy, burns, cuts, scrapes, plastic surgery, mastectomy, breast reconstruction, caesarean-section surgery, joint replacement surgery, scar removal surgery, skin graphs.

Your skin will usually form scab over a wound within three to four days following an injury. By day ten the scab typically shrinks and sloughs off as the body focuses on laying down collagen fibers to strengthen the former site of injury. The damaged tissue can be in recovery between six weeks to over a year before it returns to full strength. The resulting fibrous mass your body creates over your wound is composed primarily of collagen.  Your scar tissue’s fibrosity prohibits adequate circulation. In addition to the physical limitations of collagenous tissue, the lack of blood flow and lymph drainage occurring in scar tissue makes it vulnerable to dysfunction. It also impairs oxygenation or hypoxia to your tissues.

The resulting abnormal function of a scar or its surrounding structures may include – scar becomes hard and non-pliable, bands of fibers are created on or below the surface of your skin, your skin tightens or shortens, pain, swelling, nerve impingement, sensitivity in the scar area, numbness, decreased mobility and flexibility of joints, muscles, and tendons, postural misalignment, muscle weakness, increased likelihood for future injury.

In fact, some professionals believe that scar tissue is the root of a majority of physical imbalances.  Research supports the use of scar-tissue massage in resolving these functional problems. Generally speaking, the earlier and more consistently a scar is massaged, the less likely you are to develop problems with it. Scar healing and scar reduction techniques have many goals, the goals of any scar  massage are to render the scar stable, manage the development of scar tissue, keep the connective tissue as pliable and flexible as possible by reducing adhesions between soft tissue layers, reduce discoloration  and itching, reduce the scar to normal skin levels, eliminate fibrosis and myofascial stress patterns and encourage an emotional connection with the site of the trauma. Additionally, scar massage may help to desensitize the scar area. In the initial immature phase of your scar, soon after the wound heals, it may be painful, itchy or  sensitive as nerve endings within the tissue heal. Your scar may typically be red in appearance, most scars fade to normal flesh colour with maturation. It is always best to get permission from your doctor  or surgeon during this phase to ensure the scar has healed enough to be worked with. Your therapist will not begin working with you until sutures have been removed and there are no open wounds or signs of infection. Scar massage, lymphatic drainage therapy and exercise, may have the best effects on the scar in this phase. After 6 week to 18 months following wound healing and scar tissue is no longer being formed, your scar is considered mature.  Scar massage, lymphatic drainage therapy, rigorous myofascial techniques,  kineseo taping, stretching and self care will have the best effects in this phase.

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