What treatments do physical therapists use for breaking up scar tissue?

Physical Therapy Breaking Up Scar Tissue

Most people have a scar or two on their skin, but did you know that scar tissue can also develop inside your body? 

Such areas of scar tissue are called adhesions. Research shows that adhesions are very common after abdominal surgery. One study reports that up to 93% of abdominal surgery patients develop them. Adhesions can also develop in muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia. Not dealing with scar tissue can lead to chronic pain. It can also cause issues like reduced range of motion and decreased function. However, physical therapists can help you figure out what treatments can be used to break up your scar tissue. 

Two treatments physical therapists can use for breaking up scar tissue

Breaking up scar tissue can be a goal for many physical therapy patients. Commonly, this goal exists for people who have just had surgery. It can also be pivotal for athletes recovering from sports injuries or patients healing from car accident injuries. 

Your physical therapist can help you develop a personalized treatment plan to meet this goal. There are several treatments that these specialists can use to break up adhesions. Two such treatment options are: 

  1. Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) — This technique involves a therapist moving special metal tools over the problem area. These tools are designed to give the specialist more leverage than using their hands. This makes IASTM especially helpful for older and harder adhesions. One medical study reveals that IASTM helped treat adhesions that reduced hip and knee range of motion (ROM). This study shows that IASTM led to an up to 19% improvement in ROM in the targeted joints. 
  1. Soft tissue mobilization (STM) — STM is a type of manual therapy, which means therapists use their hands to do it. This therapy involves therapists applying therapeutic pressure to the adhesion with their hands. It can also involve moving the hands to apply pressure along the length of the muscle. In other cases, therapists might apply pressure across the grain of the muscle. A survey of nine medical studies on STM for abdominal adhesions reveals that all the studies reported an improvement in scar mobility. 

Whatcom Physical Therapy can help you find treatments for breaking up scar tissue

Searching for a physical therapist that offers effective treatments for breaking up scar tissue? Look no further than our team of therapy specialists at Whatcom Physical Therapy. We offer free screenings that can pinpoint the places where scar tissue has developed. Our team can then build you an individualized therapy plan designed to break down adhesions. 

Our team is currently offering virtual care sessions for patients to get effective therapy without leaving the comfort of their home. 

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.