A scar is a normal way for the body to heal, repair and restore a wound caused by injury, burn, surgery, infection, or skin issues.

In this blog you will learn more about surgical scars and how physical therapy can help the patient with a surgical scar to move effortlessly and freely with less restrictions.

What happens to the Body after a Surgical Scar?

The tissue around the surgical wound starts closing from the superficial layers to the deeper layers. The healing process can take up to a year to connect all the connective tissue together and form the surgical scar.

The scar appearance and healing time depends on the age, genetic, the area, depth, the size, and pre-existing conditions.

A surgical scar can become very smooth and unnoticeable overtime or a visible bumpy mark that is hard to hide. This new scar can restrict the skin movement and produce adhesions.

Surgical scars alter the capacity of each part of the body to move efficiently. Each part of the body including muscles, joints, and organs should slide and glide without any restriction or adherences.

This lack of movement sends a signal to the brain that something is wrong and is not moving smoothly. The brain sends a false signal to the whole body that contributes to pain, lack of movement and inefficient body misalignment.

What happens when the scar gets tight?

The tissue that surrounds the scar starts pulling other parts of the body and the range of motion gets restricted. The lack of range of motion may affect surrounding connective tissue and adjacent structures, including the viscera movement.

General Scars Issues

  • Itchiness
  • Restricted range of motion
  • Chronic pain
  • Altered sensation
  • Emotional trauma

Scars on the Front of the Body

Scars on the front of the body includes:

  • C-section
  • Appendectomy
  • Abdominal and inguinal hernia
  • Hysterectomy
  • Bowel surgery
  • Endometriosis surgery
  • Mastectomy
  • Breast reconstruction
  • Chest surgery

Scars on the front of the body Musculoskeletal issues:

  • Difficulty with reaching with arms overhead, to the side and behind the back.
  • Forward head posture,
  • Tightness around the scar area and pain.
  • Neck and back tightness.
  • Chest and rib cage tightness.
  • Rounded shoulder posture.
  • Restricted neck and back movements.
  • Chronic neck and lower back pain.
  • Shoulder pain.
  • Tightness in lower back from sit to stand after prolonged sitting.
  • Decreased visceral mobility.
  • Unable to expand rib cage with deep breathing.

How can Physical Therapy Help?

Surgical scars produce multiple dysfunctions in the musculoskeletal system, digestive system, neuromuscular system, and immune system.

Physical therapy performs a detailed assessment to find out what areas of the body are restricted because of the surgical scar.

Techniques use for scar management:

  1. Soft tissue mobilization to improve blood flow, tissue elasticity, and promote relaxation.
  2. Myofascial release to restore fascia elasticity and body mobility with less effort.
  3. Scar mobilization techniques to realign scar tissue and decrease pain.
  4. Functional mobilization techniques to encourage efficient mobility of the surgical scar and surrounding tissues.
  5. Neuromuscular reeducation to reprogram the brain to move safely, easier, and without restrictions.
  6. Cortical Field Reeducation to reduce pain, improve movement, and body awareness.
  7. Breathing techniques to improve chest expansion and promote relaxation.

If you are dealing with a lot of tightness, lack of mobility after a surgical scar, call Dr. Alexandra Chaux at Chaux Physical Therapy: 805-203-9940, to make an appointment to recover faster, move easier, and effortlessly.

The information in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only, its content is provided based upon evidence-based medicine, knowledge, and experience as a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).