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Treating old scars

Treat old scars
– Consequence of accidents, injuries and operations
– Restriction in our freedom of movement

We’re blanking out our old scars: Appendix, gall, cesarean no matter what the occasion was. And we are very successful. We do not even notice how much we move around these blind spots in our body. Only when we get knee problems, our shoulder hurts or our neck becomes stiff do we notice these white spots on the map. Read here what effects scars have on our movement and what possibilities there are to treat old scars.

Your experiment on your own perception

Why don’t you do the experiment yourself for once? Walk up and down and place one hand over your right groin under your right rib cage. Then pull yourself together a little under the hand. I.e. you tighten your right abdominal muscles a little. You also try to avoid movements under your hand. In this way you very specifically reduce the mobility of your body, a willingness to move which you actually also need for walking.

Feel the effect of your imagined scar

Now be attentive as you walk up and down. Feel how you deal with the reduced mobility. You are probably experiencing quite unusual tension somewhere in your body. Because your body is now trying to adapt to other places as well. Pay attention to your stride length, possible tension in the toes or even in the jaw joint. Either way, it is your very personal reaction to a restriction, each person reacts differently here.

Treat scars in the imagination

You can treat your imagined scar by feeling the warmth of your own hand. Perceive the security of your own hand. Open under your hand. Shake off the tension in the rest of your body. Move through the presented grain area. Move completely when you leave. Are your toes long again? Is your temporomandibular joint relaxed? How’s your breathing? Do you have any idea that treating scars has many aspects? But first of all a real example.

A look at an untreated old scar

treat old scars - work on limitations

The scar above has healed completely. Great – but do you still see the changed tensions below and above the scar? This tension lies both in the skin and in the deep tissue. The untrained eye probably first sees the different skin coloring. Then the deep muscle tensions. And a trained hand suspects flat, painful firmness in different depths. The scar visibly “radiates” a hand’s width upwards and downwards. This is why the entire upper body orients itself slightly to the right and thus tries to protect the scar.

A look under the skin

It’s these directly visible effects. But what about the invisible. How deep is the scar? In this case there is no need for direct tissue damage in the depth. Nevertheless, the mobility of the right kidney may be restricted. And the vernacular is right! You don’t want anything to bother you. Opens the psoas muscle, which lies directly in front of the spine. If not, it has a big influence on your hips and often on your feet.

There’s someone else watching

We carry in our mind an image of the dimensions and possibilities of our body. That is why we can grab our own nose tip with our eyes closed. And in this body image the scar of the young woman has never really been closed. The visible tensions thus build up as protection. Movements are avoided right into the skin. It would now be completely out of place to want to stretch the scar somehow or to make a powerful mobilization! To anticipate the situation here: It is possible to treat old scars, but this must be done so carefully that movements are perceived as safe!

How we can feel our scars

In the case of a scar, we usually first think of the visible part: skin with a different colour, a slight dent. Depending on the injury or operation, scars may also be deeper, invisible, in completely different directions. Many patients are quite surprised when I point out the course of the scar at different depths in the tissue. But the ambiguity can also be greater: Some people never touch this part of their body again, the scar is still sore for them.

There’s evidence that you want to have your scars treated. The following list can be a clue if a scar is so described:

Scar from Cesarean
Scar from Cesarean
  • Numb area around the scar
  • Not belonging to me
  • It itches again and again
  • Responds to weather changes
  • Radiates over the visible area of the scar
  • Painful with special movements

Scars, more than just closing the surface

I mentioned it upstairs before. A scar is more than closing the skin. It’s like sewing a crack in our pants back together and sticking that seam to our skin. I.e. a deeper level is indirectly influenced. With every step our trousers now move and pull at the seam and at the glue. The seam is stretched, and we fear it being torn open again. The bonding with our skin makes us become very tingly or aggressive or, or … – depending on predisposition. Either way, we change our movement pattern pretty quickly so that neither the suture nor the skin is pulled in any way. Now pulling on skin is still comparatively harmless.

How we protect ourselves

However, our protective mechanism is much more effective when organs or nerves are affected. Our body is very determined about the importance of different parts of the body. Important things first, i.e. organs, and thus our metabolism, are more important than our musculoskeletal system. It’s like a car. First of all it needs gasoline and the engine has to run, only then we talk about the full closing of the door or the rattling in the trunk. The same applies to our nervous system. Our body wants and needs to know “what’s going on” and nerves are needed for this. So it is better not to move than to irritate or even damage nerves.

Pain develops – remote to the old scar

Scars have a direct influence on our perception and reaction, as shown with the sewn trousers. In addition, there are indirect effects, such as sticking the suture to adjacent areas, here the skin. In both cases we protect the endangered areas, most of the time our body reaches for tension and immobility. We circulate our injuries, here are a few examples:

  • Gall surgery can affect our right shoulder.
  • An appendectomy can change the rolling on the right foot.
  • A Cesarean section can change the opening of the left hip when walking.

Treating an old scar therefore means working at different levels. On the one hand, the affected tissue must be treated manually. However, this must always be pleasant. This is the only way to restore security and ultimately heal our body image. Global impacts should also be assessed. How did the body avoid pain and insecurity? What voltages have been developed as protection? Which movements have been forgotten because of this?

Treating Scars – Background

old scar after surgery of the soulder

Scar after surgery

Sharon Wheeler has developed this approach to scar treatment. She is a Rolfer herself and was trained by Dr. Ida Rolf in the old days. Rolfer are as different as people are different. Sharon Wheeler lives very much on the side of sensitive, very trained hands. In her hands there is also her outstanding idea of human anatomy. This and her Rolfing background explains the goal of her work. It is a gentle functional integration of the scar into the surrounding tissue.

Change of old scars – is it scientific?

Sharon Wheeler presented her work at the 4th International Fascia Research Congress. You can read about this here. The entire facies research is in a new awakening. This work can also be seen as such. A summary of the demonstration:

  • 3 women (58-63) with 12-43 year old scars in the abdomen
  • Ultrasound images before treatment
  • One-hour treatment (approx. one hour)
  • Control images in ultrasound 14 days after treatment
  • The extent and firmness of the scar had decreased.
  • Restoration of distinguishable tissue levels
  • Dissolving the deeper scar tissue from the skin from 1.79 cm to 2.74 cm

It should be noted here that scientific documentation does not yet constitute scientific recognition. The case numbers are far too small for this. Unfortunately, this applies to many areas of manual medicine. Here I would like to quote the great French osteopath: “Our imagination is the greatest limitation in what we can achieve with our hands”.

What happens in the tissue during this work is still waiting for a scientific explanation. From the point of view of those affected and the practitioner, however, the tension in the scar area decreases permanently. Sensitivity often returns to the scar area. In addition, the scar is increasingly described as “belonging to the body”.

In my view, treating scars means reintegrating injuries into the entire body. So she can continue to close a wound and progress healing.