When does Internal Scar Tissue form?
Internal scar tissue forms naturally externally as well as internally after cellular injury. The original injury can range from something relatively small as a pulled muscle, to a major muscle or other tissue tear. This also includes surgery, since surgery involves cutting tissue.
External vs. Internal Scar Tissue
External and internal scar tissue share many similar characteristics. This page mentions mainly internal scar tissue, because of the associated pain and mobility problems. However, many of the structural and healing observations apply quite similarly to external scars.
What is Internal Scar Tissue?
Internal scar tissue is the body’s “emergency cellular structure”. This tissue is made from comparatively minimalist, tough, inflexible and fibrous kind of material.
It isn’t as flexible and doesn’t contribute to strength and mobility. To use a simple analogy, internal scar tissue is a bit like our body’s natural duct tape. It’s a quick emergency fix, not a good permanent repair. Internal scar tissue has a superior ability to connect to other tissue. Internal scar tissue cells do this job of connecting other cells really well. In the short term, internal scar tissue is very helpful, since it’s much better to have some quick reconnection between cut, torn or ripped tissues.
Internal scar tissue is so good at connecting to neighbouring tissue, that it also overdoes it. Internal scar tissue cells connect to tissues that healthy cells would not. Those bands of scar tissue are called “adhesions”. They limit mobility. When internal scar tissue has taken the place of muscular tissue, there’s a loss of strength. And since scar tissue adhesions don’t form in smooth parallel strands like healthy muscle tissue does, they cause friction between tissues, which in turn causes inflammation, resulting in pain. And when internal scar tissue forms interspersed with muscle tissue, the scar tissue’s lack of flexibility ends up restricting even the surrounding healthy muscle tissue from fully stretching before contracting. This renders that muscular area incapable to return to full pre-injury function.
Why does Internal Scar Tissue cause loss of strength, limit mobility and cause pain?
So after short term benefits, internal scar tissue ends up becoming a significant long term problem, getting in the way of a full return to normal flexibility and strength after an injury (or surgery), and because it lacks the flexibility of healthy tissue, internal scar tissue even increases the likelihood of future injury.
Signs you may be suffering from Internal Scar Tissue
- Tightness or loss of mobility in an area that is or was previously injured
- Pain residing from a previous surgery
- Pulling sensation, sometimes feeling like it’s in the skin or can be felt deeper in the tissues
Fortunately, internal scar tissue cells can also make room again for healthy cells. However often that occurs only very slowly or hardly at all. However, with a little help, our body can break up and get rid of much internal scar tissue.
How can I break up Internal Scar Tissue?
There are several internal scar tissue therapies, which tackle the problem of too much internal scar tissue, including specific deep tissue massage techniques and Active Release Techniques®. However these types of internal scar tissue therapy only work for those areas on the body where physical manipulation can reach – e.g. in muscular areas. For example, deeper inside the shoulder, the knee or the lower back/torso, it’s difficult for any practitioner to manually get to the area. Also, it may not be recommended to start those types of treatments too early after an injury, since the physical manipulation might make the injury worse, if things are still quite torn or broken inside. Not to mention the potential for additional discomfort or pain when massaging or otherwise manipulating a relatively fresh injury.
Some individuals even undergo arthroscopic surgery to get rid of highly problematic adhesions. This can be quite disconcerting, since surgery is one of the major causes for internal scar tissue adhesions to occur.
In contrast to physical manipulation based approaches, Cold Laser Therapy is a non invasive internal scar tissue therapy that tackles the problem with light energy.
Cold Laser Therapy delivers light energy to the area of the injury, which helps the body to break down and dispose of internal scar tissue and replace it with normal, healthy tissue.
External scars are in many ways similar to internal scar tissue. Cold Laser Therapy has also been used to make external scars smaller and less visually apparent, since the same basic cellular chemistry is at work.
The light based energy of Cold Laser Therapy can reach places that a massage based approach may have a more difficult time reaching. Also, you can start Cold Laser Therapy immediately after the injury. Since it is just light rays shining into the damaged area, there’s no additional injury or pain. Many people even experience immediate pain relief because of the extra pain-killing beta-endorphins the body naturally produces, when exposed to the light energy.
And if Cold Laser Therapy is started very quickly after an injury (or surgery), then cellular tissue is healing and growing much faster, and the body doesn’t even bother to create so much internal scar tissue. And more healthy tissue and less scar tissue in the first place also means more flexibility and strength in the injured area. Which in turn leads to accelerated recovery back to normal. As a side note, some people even choose to have Cold Laser Therapy before surgery, giving the healthy cells surrounding the surgery an energy boost, which makes these normal, healthy cells able to replicate faster right after the surgery, reducing the body’s need to even create scar tissue.
However, even many years after original injury, Cold Laser Therapy boosts the healthy cell’s energy levels, so they can do their job of replacing internal scar tissue with healthy tissue much more effectively. In many cases, the extra cellular energy delivered through Cold Laser Therapy makes the difference to even getting the process of scar tissue replacement started. It just typically takes more Cold Laser Treatments, since there’s typically more internal scar tissue buildup after more post-injury or post-surgery years.