When Solutions Lead to Problems

Producing scar tissue, a normal part of the body's response to trauma, naturally provides healing and protection to a wounded area. Miraculous, isn't it? That we can knit back together what has been torn apart!

The problem is that the fibrous substance which creates the glue for mending, also leaves behind tension, restriction and disorganization. Who would think that this could cause health problems later on? But it can.

When we understand that connective tissue is a three-dimensional web throughout the entire body, it's easy to see why neck pain could be related to an abdominal incision. If a scar pulls on the front, it can over stretch or overwork the back, placing the body out of balance and at odds with the forces of gravity.

Yet we tend not to connect the dots between our current symptoms and an old scar-especially if the two are in different places in the body. We also dismiss it by saying, "that was so long ago". 

Recent ultrasound sonograms shed light on this mystery, revealing that adhesions which bind the fascia don't always show up immediately, indicating that it takes months or even years, before such restrictions set in.

We now know that as scar tissue matures, it begins to pull and drag on surrounding areas. Organs can even be affected. For example, adhesions can interfere with normal peristaltic action of the colon, which can lead to an obstructed bowel.

Fortunately, there is a solution to avoiding complications after surgery by intervening with scar therapy. Results from a study presented at the recent International Fascial Research Congress showed that those who received post-surgical massage produced a much lower rate of adhesions than those that didn't.    

Scar Therapy applies to all types of surgical procedures, and can reduce swelling, tightness and numbing; improve general overall tissue function; help restore natural appearance; and is fast, painless and permanent.

Some examples of health issues remedied through scar therapy:
? One client had constant nerve pain from a lung biopsy. This added psychological stress to her daily life. She disliked the side effects of the medication prescribed. After one session she was freed from the post-operative stress that she had endured for years, and has since returned to swimming, her favorite form of exercise.

? The first physician referral was a woman who suffered from constriction in her throat, neck, shoulder, arm, head and jaw. She had several surgeries done through the lower abdomen. Standardized medical tests revealed nothing. After exhausting her options, she came for scar work. In one session, 75% of her symptoms improved. Shocking, but true-and it convinced me to continue exploring the work and
educating people.

? A hairdresser had cancerous lymph nodes removed through her armpit 14 years earlier. The pain and immobility around the scarring made her work difficult. In just three minutes of scar work, her range of motion and flexibility increased dramatically.

? A man who had previously received lots of excellent chiropractic care and Rolfing came to me with persistent hip trouble. After addressing his old abdominal scar (appendectomy and mesh wiring for a hernia) lasting relief was finally achieved.

? A 65 year-old yoga student was sent to me for Rolfing for uneven shoulder alignment, which made doing inversions unsafe for his neck. The root of this problem was coming from adhesions around a scar at his waistline due to a kidney that was removed as an infant. Gradually, his shoulder girdle rebalanced and stabilized. He is now a certified yoga teacher.

? A lady with a double mastectomy was referred by a personal trainer. Loosening the scar tissue around the chest wall enabled her to breathe better and exercise more freely, so as to gain her strength back. She now promotes scar therapy in cancer survivor groups.

The  most common issue is women struggling to get their core strength and tone back after having abdominal surgery (hysterectomy, C-section, etc.). The problem is that often times no amount of sit-up crunches will do the trick, because the myofascial layers aren't connecting, and scaring restricts the muscles from working optimally. Once these adhesions have been released, the muscles can perform properly, and tone usually comes back rather easily.

One of the challenges with newer surgical procedures performed internally (through the naval, vagina or anus) is that, though they're not visible, scars do remain. Treatment of such falls under the licensed care of a qualified Physical Therapist or registered nurse with special training, and can be very helpful in such cases.

Scar Therapy applies to all types of surgical procedures and can reduce swelling, tightness and numbing; improve general overall tissue function; help restore natural appearance; and is fast, painless and permanent.

"The overall health benefits I derived from the scar release therapy were totally unexpected, and I now see that tension from old scars can have a myriad of effects on our bodies. I have since referred several patients. all have had very positive experiences with improvement in their complaints.  I think this new field of work is invaluable and holds the possibility of hope and help to many people who experience symptomatic scarring, both natural and postoperative." - Dr. Kristi Blessitt, OB/GYN

*While this article refers to scaring from surgical incisions, it's important to remember that scar tissue adhesions can occur anywhere inside the body from injury or illness. If you have questions about your situation, consult with your doctor, PT, or massage therapist.

Jeannie Kelly is the owner of Island Soma Therapy of Hilton Head Island and Savannah. She can be reached at 843-422-2900

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