Scar Tissue and the Healing Process

When many people think about scars, they often think of how they look, but there is more to it. Scars can also change the way the body works.

The healing process following tissue damage is complicated and intricate. Collagen is a connective tissue that is present in our muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, and bones. This same material, collagen, makes up scars. However, when a scar is formed, the collagen in the scar is not in the same alignment as the surrounding tissue. This can lead to problems with how that scar works in conjunction with the healthy tissue. If the scar is present within a muscle, it can decrease both the muscle strength and the muscle length. 


What can physical therapy do for a scar?

If you have a new injury or just came out of surgery, physical therapy can help prevent overdevelopment of scar tissue. With strengthening exercises and stretching, scar tissue can be molded while it’s still in the development phase. Hands on work is also very beneficial for scarring. Using massage techniques, physical therapists are able to prevent the attachment of the scar to surrounding structures and help to break up any scar tissue that is beginning to adhere. Even if your scarring is older, changes can still be made to the scar. 


What can acupuncture do for a scar?

When working with a scar, acupuncturists can do needling around the scar to improve mobility of the scar tissue. It will help release tissue tension and can even stimulate emotional release. If the scar is the result of trauma there may be an emotional response to needling of the damaged tissue. In traditional Chinese medicine scarring is seen as an obstruction to appropriate qi flow. Local needling stimulates better circulation of blood and qi to the scar site and can impact both how the scar looks and feels. 


Here at Jade Integrated Health acupuncturists and physical therapists work together closely to approach the issue of scar tissue from multiple angles to give you the best results possible.