Scars....how functional are yours?
'Scars are just another kind of memory.' M.L. Stedman
Scars. They can be large, small, uniform and tidy or chaotic and disordered.
If it’s a surgical scar, then it may have been caused by minimally invasive surgery (keyhole) or open surgery.
Whilst some scars tell of our misfortunes, others tell of our accomplishments and triumphant over life’s situations.
One thing that scars have in common, is that they all carry a story.
In a structural sense, the presence of scar tissue can cause dysfunction within the body. We may experience pain, weakness or fatigue and the cause could be to do with the abdominal surgery that occurred 5 years ago. This is because the ‘make up’ of scar tissue is different to that of normal tissue, such as muscular tissue or fascia. When a trauma occurs, a process known as fibrosis can take place, where scar tissue is laid down, to ‘bridge the gap’, however this tissue lacks the function of the previous tissue.
Dysfunction can be present, due to a number of reasons. One possible reason can be to do with the presence of adhesions.
Adhesions after surgery, are caused when scar tissue connects two parts of internal tissue together, two parts that wouldn’t normally be joined. This can affect the glide and movement of the internal tissue and organs, resulting in compensatory movements and potential pain and discomfort.
It is estimated that a massive 93% of abdominal surgery, results in adhesions! *
If left unchecked there is the potential for these adhesions to cause a cascade of effects throughout the body, changing such things as gait, and even how we digest food.
So what is ScarWork Therapy?
ScarWork Therapy is the brainchild of Sharon Wheeler, developed for over 40 years.
It is the gentle manipulation of scar and surrounding tissue that brings function not only to the scar, but to the whole of the body. Specialised techniques are used, and treatment is usually pain free, as the techniques work to the level of the tissue that needs to be changed. This will start superficially, and can then be taken into the realms of the deeper tissue.
In short, ScarWork therapy is designed to take the dysfunction out of scar tissue!
As strange as it may first seem, scars carry a lot resemblance to icebergs….Did you know a staggering 90% of an iceberg’s volume can be below the water? Guess what?! A scar can be very similar in this respect. With a scar, we can see what’s going on above the surface, but it’s what’s going on underneath the surface, in the deeper layers of the tissue, that can have the bigger impact. For example, we don’t know if the tissue is as organised as it should be. Maybe it’s causing pain by compressing nerves or referral patterns of discomfort are present, where the tissue doesn’t glide as well as it should. Symptoms like these can tell you a lot about the state of tissue underneath the surface.
So what positive results can you expect from ScarWork Therapy?
Well for one, the changes that are made to the scar tissue are lasting and it doesn’t matter if your scar is 3 months old or 15 years old, positive change can be made to all.
Pain reduction – nerves can sometimes become constricted by tissue. Scar work therapy may help to reduce pain and discomfort, allowing nerves to glide more easily
Increased range of movement - scar work therapy can improve mobility through the tissue by creating space, positively effecting movement
Improvement in the look of your scar - there is a possibility that through treatment, positive changes to the appearance of a scar can occur. These may include such things as the scar becoming less visible and reduction in the redness
Improve connection and function in relation to the rest of the body – scar tissue and adhesions can affect the way one part of our body interacts with the next. By improving the connection between the tissue, overall functionality may increase
What type of scars can ScarWork be beneficial for?
Abdominal surgery scars such as C Sections, appendix scars (both laparoscopic and open)
Open heart surgery scars
Keyhole surgery (gall bladder removal, meniscus repair etc)
Joint replacement scars
As with any type of treatment, there are a few exceptions to the type of scars, that shouldn’t be worked on. These include:
Scars that are under 8-10 weeks old
Scars where mesh has been placed underneath (abdominal surgery)
If you are pregnant
One thing to remember is that we should never be ashamed of our scars, as they make us who we are. In fact, some people wouldn’t be here if their scar wasn’t also here. That’s why we shouldn’t let go of the fact, that our scars are what make us, us!