Having a injury is bad enough, but what if it creeps back into your body years later? Whether it’s a old C-section scar that’s itchy and sensitive, a sprained ankle, or even chronic neck pain from a car accident years back, your body could be telling you it needs attention.
When we have a injury, surgery, or repetitive motion, our body develops scar tissue to repair the damage. Scar tissue (adhesions) is dead fibrotic tissue that forms mostly in muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and joints. Scar tissue can adhere to muscle fibers, preventing them from sliding back and forth properly.
How can massage help with scar tissue?
Post surgery: Adhesions typically begin to form within the first few days after surgery, but may not produce symptoms for months or even years. As a Massage Therapist the most common thing I hear from clients is why they never got aftercare instructions for the scar. For example, a C-section surgery is one of the most common surgeries in the U.S. Adhesions can form months or even years after surgery. The last thing a new mom is concerned about is complications with the scar and forming adhesions and a lot of doctors do not warn patients about them. Seeing a Massage Therapist who is trained with massaging scar tissue can help with prevention of adhesions or current complications. The Therapist will use cross fiber techniques and will manipulate the post- surgical scar and the skin around it. Manipulating a scar can be painful because tissue that has restricted blood flow is hypersensitive to the touch. Consistent manipulation of the scar will get better results. The Therapist can also show the client how to self massage at home. This goes for any post- surgical scar.
Muscle and or Tendon tear: Muscle or tendon tears and repetitive motions can cause scar tissue to form. Getting a massage will help lay down the fibers of the scar tissue with more organization. It will also promote better range of motion and relief in pain and sensitivity. The Upper Trapezius muscle is a common place for people to develop scar tissue due to repetitive motion. During a massage, if the therapist performs deep tissue massage and you hear or feel popping and or crunchy/gritty sensations, most likely it’s scar tissue. Getting regular massages can help reduce the scar tissue and inflammation.
Joints: According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “As many as 15% of people who have been diagnosed with Osteoarthritis may have developed joint problems as a result to injury. Damaging a joint raises your chances of developing arthritis sevenfold.” Massage can be a little tricky when it comes to a patient with arthritis. Each client is different and massage can either help give relief to the area, or can cause the arthritis to flare. Please don’t let this deter you from getting a massage. The first massage can be gentle and then increase in pressure with each session. If inflammation occurs, then massage can be avoided in the injury area.
In conclusion, I always recommend checking with your doctor first when experiencing any pain from a old injury to rule out anything else before getting a massage.