This client’s abdominal scar is a mark of survival and medical ingenuity.
The surgery, for an abdominal aneurysm, required most of his vital organs to be removed from his body. The surgeons did their best when they replaced his vital organs. Nonetheless, the internal trauma left scar tissue not just in a longitudinal line down the center, but throughout his abdominal cavity, in an unpredictable pattern. Unlike most of my clients, he didn’t come in with pain. He didn’t even have a sense of how the scar might be affecting his movement patterns. But he did know about my work. He had heard that scars interfere with motor control and he wanted to explore what might be possible.
We tested his reflexive stability and some global movement patterns after taking a history. His ability to rotate to the right was noticeably impeded. I then tested some of the intrinsic muscles that are involved in rotation; I found his upper right Transverse Abdominus inhibited by his scar. This is a common pattern with these longitudinal scars and I have another post here about a release.
So how DO scars interfere with motor control? You can read a little about that on my blog post from Feb 2018.
Scars from surgeries, or scars made by sharp objects are very different from the scars created by internal fractures. This scar was even more complicated because of a reorganization of the organs during the surgery. The most superior region of the scar was very stiff and had a hard immobile bulge in it. We found an area near the jejunum- a part of the small intestine- that had TOO much space around it. This area required compression in a few very specific directions. I have found this technique to be useful before when addressing the after effects of space occupying legions such as cysts and tumors.
After this compression was complete the superior part of the scar had reduced in stiffness without direct intervention and we could feel movement around it. I was then able to work on the scar itself. His TVA was strong and stable again when we were finished, and his breathing was more efficient. There were also significant gains in his global rotation to the right, not just in his abdomen, but also in his neck and pelvis, as you can see in the before and after photos.