Breaking Down Scar Tissue

Patients often come to see me if they are experiencing pain, or they’re unable to function properly. At times, scar tissue causes pain and inhibits function. It can be frustrating as a physician to perform a detailed history, exam, and x-rays only to reveal no trauma, abnormalities, or neurological involvement. When this happens, maybe the answer is scar tissue.

Scar tissue consists of two things: adhesions and fibrosis. It binds up and anchors surrounding tissues that need to move more freely. As scar tissue forms, adjacent muscles become shorter and lose their ability to produce the force they once could. As a result, this added tightness on tendons can cause tendonosis, and nerves can become irritated, resulting in numbness, tingling, sharp pain, or referred pain.

Scar tissue can form as a result of trauma. The body will often form scar tissue in an attempt to “glue” injuries together. It’s a necessary component of the healing process, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. Scar tissue can also form when the body doesn’t receive enough oxygen, which is also known as hypoxia. Conditions that can result in hypoxia include: poor posture, athletic pursuits, repeated and sustained pressure (prolonged sitting). With increased muscle tightness, blood supply is decreased. This results in decreased free radical build-up, which draws cells together that build scar tissue. As this process occurs more often, these cells begin to lay down scar tissue, which may inhibit how muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves function.

Addressing the Problem

Get adjusted and move! By restoring proper movement, we can break up adhesions that are restricting motion and may be causing pain. It doesn’t stop there, though. In addition to chiropractic adjustments, proper education and rehabilitation need to occur to prevent the problem from reoccurring. This consists of learning and understanding the involved anatomy, as well as the movements associated with those involved muscles.

Michael “Dr. Mike” Roney, D.C., is a musculoskeletal specialist who recently joined Pawling Family Chiropractic, located in the Atrium on Route 22. He can be reached at (845) 855-1475 or at online.