When your body experiences a cut or wound to the skin, your tissues respond by adhering together to “close the gap” and heal the wound. In the acute stages, the strong adhesive tissue may serve a purpose, however, in certain circumstances “scar tissue” can continue to be very painful and/or decrease normal movement.
As a massage therapist I have seen my fair share of scars. Even the smallest scar can cause discomfort if the tissues are adhered to the underlying structures. Often after an injury or surgery, people are scared or worried to touch the scar and affected area, however, it is very important to massage and stretch the tissues especially if there is pain or loss of ROM (Range of Motion). In the acute stages, you want to be very cautions with an open wound and allow it to heal before touching it, however, once the scar is healed it is safe to start massaging the scar and breaking down underlying adhered tissues.
I was recently working with a client who was learning to stand after being wheelchair bound for several months. When standing, he had pain along a large scar on his stomach. The tissues where literally shortened and causing him extreme discomfort when he stood and stretched the scar. Luckily massage can help with this annoying pain and restriction. If you’d like to learn more about massage for scars please watch this video.
Often, scars can cause sharp pain or mild discomfort and itchiness. When you massage the scar, you are literally tearing the tissue from the surrounding structures to allow it to move freely and to eliminate pain. During the treatment it can be very painful, however, the benefit of the treatment is well worth it!
Michelle Wolfe, RMT