Massage on Scar Tissue

An often overlooked cause of pain is scar tissue.  At Cynergy Massage, I  treat old injuries and scar tissue, which shorten muscle tissue and cause compensation issues.  This kind of massage should also be part of any post surgical massage therapy.
Scars develop on the skin’s surface as the result of burns, deep lacerations or a variety of other injuries that penetrate or interrupt the skin’s integrity. Possessing an amazing capacity to heal and regenerate, the skin forms a scab over a wound within three to four days following an injury. By day ten the scab typically shrinks and sloughs off as the body focuses on laying down collagen fibers to strengthen the former site of injury. The damaged tissue can be in recovery between three months to over a year before it returns to full strength. Additionally, some diseases or skin disorders (such as acne) may also result in scar tissue formation. While scars can result from a variety of traumatic events to the skin, they share some common characteristics. As a general rule, the earlier and more consistently scar tissue is exercised, massaged and warmed, the less possibility of developing any long-term concerns.

Scar Traits

While the degree of scar formation varies from person to person, there are some distinguishing characteristics:
  • Becomes hard and non-pliable
  • Bands of fibers on or below the surface
  • Skin tightens or shortens. When crossing a joint, this contracture may limit range of motion, comprise function or cause deformity.
  • Becomes dry and reopens to form a wound if not managed properly. This is especially true for skin grafts, which do not produce oil or sweat.

Long-Term Effects

While the body’s formation of scar tissue is an awesome demonstration of self-preservation, the resulting fibrous mass can set the stage for problems down the road. Composed primarily of collagen, scar tissue’s fibrosity prohibits adequate circulation. In addition to the physical limitations of collagenous tissue, the lack of blood flow and lymph drainage occurring in scar tissue makes it vulnerable to dysfunction. The resulting abnormal stress on a scar’s surrounding structures may include:
  • Nerve impingement
  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Limited range of motion and flexibility
  • Postural misalignment
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Tissue hypoxia
  • An increase in potential for future injury
In fact, some professionals believe that scar tissue is the root of a majority of physical imbalances. Bodyworkers addressing scar tissue early in its development can help minimize any of the preceding secondary scar tissue problems.

Two Phases

A scar’s healing progression consists of two phases, immature and mature.
  • Immature – Immediately after a wound heals, the scar is immature. During this period it may be painful, itchy or sensitive as nerve endings within the tissue heal. While it is typically red in appearance, most scars fade to normal flesh color with maturation. Exercise, massage and heat application will have the greatest positive effect on an immature scar.
  • Mature – Depending on the size and depth of the wound, scar tissue will cease production 3 to 18 months following wound healing. When scar tissue is no longer produced, the scar is considered mature. While techniques to reduce scar tissue in a mature scar are effective, a more disciplined and vigorous approach is necessary.

Six Techniques

As soon as the wound is knitted, massage therapy can be performed. During the initial immature stages of wound recovery, it is imperative that a gentle approach be taken. The following six techniques are well-known ways bodyworkers can improve scar tissue:
  1. Manual Lymph Drainage optimizes lymphatic circulation and drainage around the injured area. Gentle, circular, draining motions within the scar itself or a firm stretch to the skin above and below the scar, first in a straight line and then in a circular motion, are two drainage techniques. Placing the fingers above the scar, then making gentle circular pumping motions on the scar also helps drain congested lymph fluid. As the massage therapist gently works down the scar, the tissue will feel softer. Drainage techniques should not hurt or make the scar redden.
  2. Myofascial Release  helps ease constriction of the affected tissue. To stretch the skin next to the scar, place two or three fingers at the beginning of the scar and stretch the skin above the scar in a parallel direction. Then move the fingers a quarter of an inch further along the scar and repeat the stretch of the adjacent tissue, working your way along the scar. An alternative method is to follow the same pattern of finger movements using a circular motion instead of straight stretches. Work your way along the scar in a clockwise and counterclockwise fashion.
  3. Deep Transverse Friction can prevent adhesion formation and rupture unwanted adhesions. Applied directly to the lesion and transverse to the direction of the fibers, this deep tissue massage technique yields  desirable results in a mature or immature scar. Never progress beyond a client’s comfort level.
  4. Lubrication of the scar helps soften and increase its pliability. Mediums such as lotion, castor oil, vitamin E oil or other oil can prevent the scar from drying out and re-opening.
  5. Stretching aids in increasing range of motion. This is most important when approaching scars that cross over a joint. Scar tissue will lengthen after being stretched, especially if the stretch is sustained for several seconds and is combined with massage.
  6. Heat Application helps the pliability and flexibility of the scar. Common tools used to apply heat are paraffin wax, moist heat packs or ultrasound.

As some of you know, I just recently had surgery on my foot.  I have three scars from incisions on my right foot.  From the time I could tolerate pressure, I began to massage around my scars.  It is still a little to soon to work directly on the scars, but massaging around them is cutting down on scar tissue build-up and increasing circulation.

Can Massage Help With Chronic Pain and Stress?

Chronic stress can lead to pain, and chronic pain can lead to stress. They feed off of each other!  Chronic stress also leads to or exacerbates all kinds of medical conditions. Sickness, pain, and stress….”Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Massage therapy is an excellent way to help manage stress. It’s also an effective method of pain relief, for many conditions. Neuromuscular pain manifests itself in many ways, and stress seems to find a home in whatever part of our bodies are already most vulnerable…our “tension spots.” Like many people who spend hours at the computer, I have chronic neck and shoulder pain,

Massage therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment plan for fibromyalgia, for several reasons. In addition to assisting in the relief from chronic pain, massage has also been shown to improve sleep. Poor sleep is often an issue for fibromyalgia sufferers.

When you visit us for massage, we want to know how your condition is interfering with your life. If muscle pain, or a lack of range of motion is preventing  you from doing something you want to do, let us know that. Massage can help restore range of motion in many cases.

We don’t promise that you’re going to be “cured” or “fixed” from whatever is ailing you–and especially not in one session. But we can point to the fact that over 90% of our clients are word of mouth referrals from other clients we have been able to help. I urge you to make massage therapy a regular part of your wellness plan. You’ll feel better for it.

We also offer package deals to make your therapy more affordable.  If you suffer from chronic stress and/or chronic pain, consider calling us  so we can answer any questions you have.

Massage Therapy Helps Keep Dancers on Their Toes

They can glide with ease across a dance floor or perform amazing acrobatics. With years of practice behind them, endless hours of exercise and rehearsals, dancers make the difficult seem easy. Just like professional athletes, all that hard work also means having to keep in tiptop shape. Additionally, it means injuries are part of the job.

Dance injuries are similar to what would be considered sport injuries. Just as athletes, they run, jump and endure long periods of high energy activity. For those few minutes of actually performing on stage, they may have rehearsed or exercised for six to eight hours a day, or even more, several days a week. In addition to the physical movement part of the profession, in some cases, like Broadway shows, the dancers may have to wear heavy costumes or other gear both in dress rehearsals and actual performances. This means extra stress on joints, ligaments and muscles not only in the arms and legs – yet also in the neck and back muscles, too.

The most common injuries are to the legs and back. To help in the prevention of injury, dancers may do specific exercises and stretches, such as those offered in Pilates, a regimen designed to strengthen the body’s core muscles as well as maintain flexibility and develop good coordination. Yoga is also a good choice for being able to keep focused and limber. A good overall massage, used for relaxation and keeping the body in good health, would be Swedish massage. Dancing, as lovely as it looks, can be very stressful for professionals and amateur competitors. It must be cautioned, though, a relaxing massage should never be received the day of a performance as it can affect the dancer’s balance and coordination adversely. The very nature of a relaxing massage and its engagement of the parasympathetic nervous system is paradoxical to the needs of a dancer who has to be ready to move quickly and with precision. Days not dancing means the body can quickly lose tone, strength, flexibility and stamina. Massage therapy can be part of an overall program used to keep a dancer on her (or his) toes.

Plantar Fasciitis

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue  (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed). Then your heel or the bottom of your foot hurts when you stand or walk.  It may feel like you are walking on needles.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the ligament that supports your arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament. These can lead to pain and swelling. This is more likely to happen if:

    • Your feet roll inward too much when you walk (excessive pronation).
    • You have high arches or flat feet.
    • You walk, stand, or run for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces.
    • You are overweight
    • You wear shoes that don’t fit well or are worn out.
  • You have tight achilles tendons or calf muscles.

If you have been diagnosed with this and have not found any relief, massage therapy may be able to help you. I do not just focus on the foot, it is attached to your leg and the problem may be there.

I have had several clients who have reported that after seeing me, the pain is either diminished or completely gone.  I can not guarantee these results for everyone,  but isn’t it worth a try?

Depending on whether you have it in one foot or both will determine how long of a session you will need.  Call or book your appointment online with Cynde.