Limitations of Scar Tissue
Scars are the healing process of the soft tissue from trauma (car wreck), post-surgical, repetitive motion, or a combination of the above. Scar tissue is dead fibrotic tissue that forms as a result of the before mentioned causes. Soft tissue includes skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Understanding the length of time needed for recovery after trauma is critical.
In the first 4-6 weeks, damaged tissue will enlarge and become firmer and thicker. The next 2-3 months, the scar tissue will begin to shrink down closer to the original size and it will take even longer than this for it to begin to become more pliable and mimic the original healthy tissue. If left untreated, the easiest way to describe the scar tissue is to compare it to a denim patch on a torn spandex fabric. The denim is flexible but not as flexible as the underlying spandex causing an increase in tension in the areas where the two fabrics are attached together.
Research in the ’90s showed that 35% of those in the survey of open surgery in the abdominal or pelvic regions resulted in these patients having to be readmitted to the hospital more than twice in 10 years to treat post-surgical scarring. If treated by similar surgical incisions it can continue on in a cycle. This makes surgical repair not the best option but it is an option and necessary at times. Keeping motion in the tissue after the initial phase will limit this cycle and may prove more effective as it will be less likely to cause more scarring.
Chiropractic adjustments are short lever manipulations for some of these areas which will keep motion in the joints during this healing process allowing the scar tissue to maintain more flexibility and ultimately act more like healthy tissue.
Other forms of mobility therapy that could be very helpful in improving the loss of elasticity in scar tissue are but not limited to massage, physical therapy, and vibration therapy.
Summarizing this information a broken bone will heal in a quicker time frame than soft tissue damage. Be patient with your provider and realize that this pain is not in your mind and reducing it always takes longer than one would like. It can also affect your moods and cause you to be depressed so for some instances counseling is another good option. I have had patients in the past involved in motor vehicle impacts that had to be referred to therapists for the treatment of PTSD.
By: Gary F. De Mott, D.C. Action Chiropractic Inc.
- Abdominal Scar Tissue: Symptoms and Treatment Dr. Andrew Beardslee PT, DPT, MSCS; Logan Sillies
- Physical Therapy Helps Scar Tissue Root Cause Medical Clinic
- Muscle Injuries and Repair: Current Trends Johnny Huard, Yong Li, Freddie H Fu
- 2016 American Society for Surgery of the Hand