Welcome to 2020! Can you believe it is a new year and new decade all in one?! One of my new year resolutions is to have a new blog up every month! Lets cross our fingers that works out! I love teaching you'll about the human body, essential oils and about the massage life business.
We are going to talk and learn all about scar tissue in the body! I am often asked what scar tissue is, how does it occur, why is it sometimes tender to the touch.
What is Scar Tissue?
The medical definition is that scar tissue refers to thick, fibrous tissues that take place of healthy ones that have been damaged. Healthy tissue may be destroyed from a cut, significant injury, or surgery. Tissue damage may be internal, so scar tissue can form postsurgery or as a result of disease.
Scar Tissue is inherently different than the tissue it has replaced.
Now most you have no idea what any of that means, this is for you! Grab your triceps (underneath your arm, between elbow and arm pit), grab a little bit of the fatty area and wiggle it between your fingers. Do you feel a different texture and thicker bands moving around? That is scar tissue, some of you may not have any scar tissue there, try you calves.
How Does Scar Tissue Occur?
As mention above scar tissue forms when the tissue has been damaged or injury. There are four phases of tissue repair; homeostasis, inflammatory response, proliferation and remodeling.
1. Homeostasis is characterized by two features, clotting and chemotaxis (attracting the immune cells to fight infection).
2. Inflammatory Response stage, the immune cells go to work patrolling the wound area and ingesting devitalized cells and tissue. This phase prepares the area for rebuilding.
3. Proliferation (Repair) Phase, the provisional wound matrix is remodeling and replacing with scare tissue, which partially restores the structure and function of the tissue.
4. Remodeling, cell density and metabolic activity decreases. Changes also occur in the collagen (main structural protein in the connective tissues), enhancing tensile strength.
This newly repairs tissue has only about 25% of its original tensile strength, increasing slowly over time to maximum of about 80%.
Why Can Scar Tissue Be Tender?
In the early stages, scar tissue isn't always painful. This is because nerves in the area may have been destroyed along with healthy body tissues. But over time, scar tissue may become painful as nerve endings regenerate.
Generally, the area will be more sensitive to UV light and may contain fewer sweat glands and hair due to the injury and subsequent repair.
How Can Massage Help Scar Tissue?
Many of the beneficial outcomes when working with clients with scars will be the same as with a generalized massage; stress reduction, better range of motion (ROM) and improved quality of life.
Other improvements clients with scars might see include reduced scar height or thickness, increased pliability, and improvement to the surface area (texture, pigmentation and/or vascularity).