Scar tissue is the body’s natural reaction to injury, no matter how small or slight. Everyday actions that most people wouldn’t regard as an injury create scar tissue. Everyone will develop scar tissue at some point in their life. Repetitive motions lead to micro-trauma and as part of the body’s healing system, scar tissue is produced. However, scar tissue interferes with the range of motion and the smooth movement of muscle.
When you experience a tightness or an inability to move a joint in a fluid manner, you are experiencing a build up of scar tissue. The soft tissues in our body are made up of collagen, when an injury occurs there are small tears or kinks in the collagen. These tears create scar tissue and in an ideal situation normal tissue replaces this scar tissue, but this doesn’t always happen.
Pain Radiates From “Trigger Points” Caused By Trapped Nerves
Stiffness and reductions in strength are caused by small bits of scar tissue that bind tissue around them, these are called adhesions. Trigger points are created when a nerve becomes trapped in these adhesions, this is usually where pain can radiate from. Painful movements result in a reduction of activity, which in turn leads to a further reduction in the range of motion. Due to the fact that scar tissue is less flexible, has less circulation and is less elastic than normal tissue, the muscles become weaker and shorten. It is vital that these scar tissue adhesions are removed in order to reduce pain and restore the strength and proper range of motion.
There are many therapies that can be used to to break up the scar tissue and release the trapped nerves. These therapies include ART (Active Release Technique), Graston Technique and Myofascial Release. Many chiropractors use these techniques to help release the nerves and stop the radiating pain. The Graston Technique uses different steel instruments to break up the scar tissue, whereas ART and Myofascial Release are a more hands-on approach.
Most chiropractors will include one or more of these therapies to help their patients regain strength and range of motion. Along with chiropractic adjustments these therapies can be extremely useful in the treatment of scar tissue, trapped nerves and radiating pain. Just ask your chiropractor if they offer any of these treatments and see how they can help to relieve the pain you’re experiencing.
Dr. Connor McCormick