Strong and Mobile Scars
It’s pretty likely we all have at least one scar; from the time we fell off our bikes in the driveway or a major surgery. They range in size, depth, and methods of healing but they all have one thing in common; when they heal they should be STRONG and the should MOVE.
Intact skin has been laid down in a relatively patterned fashion. It has several functions including keeping us warm, protecting what lies underneath, and helps us feel. When injury comes to the skin, a scar is a natural part of the healing process. The tissue heals back thicker and more fibrous where the wound is located so that it can return to it’s proper function, primarily of protection and give strength.
Depending on the size of the scar it may heal naturally on its own and have no issues being stretched and moved around. Other scars from surgery, c-sections, or larger injuries may be larger and get “stuck” to the tissue around them to try to create better strength. As tissue heals, in order to make it as strong as possible, the fibers laydown in all directions; imagine a meshy spiderweb where there is a lot of overlap. In order for a scar, the larger and deeper ones especially, to be mobile they need some extra help to aid the fibers in lying down in a more regular fashion that is similar to the old tissue. This can be accomplished through scar work or mobilization.
After a certain period of time in the healing process when the wound or incision is completely closed and there is no risk of re-opening this work can be started. It involves rubbing the scar in a lot of directions at different depths of the tissue, picking it up, and wiggling it around. If a scar is not mobile, it can pull on the muscle or other tissues below it and create a variety of symptoms (difficulty with bowel movements, pain, pain with bladder emptying, muscle spasms, limited range of motion, etc). It’s never too late or too early to ask your physical therapist about scar mobilization. If you have recently had surgery, delivered a baby, or have a wound from years ago talk to you pelvic floor therapist and have your scar assessed. We want those scars STRONG and MOBILE too.