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Soft Tissue Therapy For Scar Tissue and Injuries

Soft tissue techniques would not be performed on a surgical scar until 2 weeks post-surgery. This is because the scar may reopen, increasing the risk of infection if massage or other soft tissue techniques are performed prematurely. At this time, the site of surgery must be fully healed, for example not an open wound or scab, it must be a scar in order to be treated.

The sooner a scar can be treated the better, as the build-up of scar tissue can prevent the healthy fibres from gliding freely in conjunction to one and other to function efficiently. This can restrict movement and range of motion. This is due to adhesions, formed by collagen fibres, that remain in the healing process, involving phagocyte cells. Consequently, this can also affect function elsewhere in the body due to compensating for the lack of movement from the site of surgery, leading to potential overuse injuries.

STR – Soft Tissue Release Aids the Recovery Process

Soft Tissue Release (STR) is a technique that can aid the recovery process of a surgical scar, along with restoring elasticity within a muscle. The focus is directed, in this case, at the site of scarring, due to surgery. This focus of pressure is utilised to lock into this area of scarring then a stretch is then applied to the tissues away from the lock. Subsequently, a local stretch to the fibres near to the lock is created. This in turn helps to break down the adhesive bonds, which join to the healthy fibres within the injured site.

These adhesive bonds may have formed in the early recovery period due to formation of scar tissue. In addition to releasing the scar tissue, this technique helps to correctly realign the fibres. STR is quite a powerful technique and may cause some discomfort. Working around the surgical scar will also help to prevent further build-up of scar tissue formation. This aids with promoting blood flow more forcefully to the site, through microcirculation, aiding the recovery process.

Massage for Improved Recovery of Scarring

A massage technique such as friction and deep effleurage strokes may also improve the recovery of a surgical scar. Both techniques may be applied transversely, to aid in breaking these adhesive bonds and relaxes the tissues. Whereas longitudinal strokes are believed to realign the healthy fibres. Deeper effleurage strokes are more beneficial in regard to the recovery process of a surgical scar; notwithstanding, lighter strokes must be applied prior to this, to warm up the tissues.

Friction and Deep Effleurage Techniques

Friction techniques include short deep friction movements which are usually applied to a small area of the body. Whereas effleurage consists of stroking techniques that vary in length and can be applied transversely or longitudinally. Friction is also more generally used to relax chronic tension, so is a diverse technique for many different uses. Effleurage can be applied broadly, using the whole hand, if necessary, unlike friction. Both techniques stimulate blood flow through microcirculation, effleurage more so than friction, stimulating the healing process and breakdown process naturally.

Neuromuscular Techniques

Neuromuscular techniques, such as trigger pointing may also be useful in improving the recovery of a surgical scar. This technique causes a local ischemic reaction, forcing the blood away from the site while the deep pressure is applied. As a result, the body then pumps more blood to the area, to ensure that blood flow is present within the compressed tissues. When the pressure is released after roughly 90 seconds or less, then an engorgement of blood is directed to the site. This helps the healing process and relaxes the tissues.

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