Road Rash Scars: Scar Rehab for Invisible Scars

Scars are sometimes invisible.  Look at the picture. Can you see the road rash scar? No, obviously, there’s nothing there. But that’s the point. The scar is there, but there is nothing to see on the surface.

This client had a spectacular fall off his long board in his late teens. It left angry road rash in many places on his body, including the right side of his ribcage. How long does it take a road rash scar to heal? In this case it looked healed just a few months later. His skin looks perfect now and there are no visible marks of this accident a decade later. However, he said he could still feel it. The scar still needs rehab. There’s a pull there, a restriction, and that restriction is contributing to his back pain and his breathing issues.

Road Rash Scars are Burn Scars.

The scars from road rash work in the same way as those caused by burns. They are contracture scars–which means that the skin around the burn area contracts into it, causing mobility problems and pain. Just like burn scars, road rash scars come in degrees. A third degree road rash scar will expose the muscle and sometimes bone beneath scraped away skin and fat. Burn contracture scars, including road rash, can often have a very high impact on motor control because they can damage the nerves more easily than scars created by cuts in the skin. Their impact can be incredibly diffuse. Last year I wrote a blog about Burn Scars where you can read more. Because this scar is on this client’s rib cage it restricts the bucket handle movement of the rib cage as it expands outwards during the inhale. This is causing breathing issues. But the area of the scar was actually much larger than what had originally been visible on his skin a decade ago.

Contracture Scars are diffuse

On this particular client the 3 inch area of the actual road rash was just the epicenter of a contracture. This scar reached all the way to his opposite hip through his abdomen’s mid line. As an assessment specialist I used Neurokinetic Therapy to establish how his motor control was being effected by his scar. I found it had created a micro diastis recti, or separation of the two sides of his rectus abdominus, and was causing a down regulation of his right internal oblique.  This motor control problem was leading to back pain, stiff hips, and a bad slumped posture. He was unable to laterally flex his rib cage more than a millimetre before the treatment.  Within a few days of the first treatment his mobility was remarkably improved and his back pain decreased.

Scar Rehab of Burn Scars is slow

The fascial release I performed on this area took about 40 minutes — I made only 3 passes from the epicenter to the mid line of his abdomen over this 40 minutes, which tells you how slow I had to go. The direction of the release was guided by NeuroKinetic Therapy testing, which showed how the scar was impacting his motor control of his core muscles as well as which direction I should release in to get the most improvement in muscle activation. While the pressure I exerted was very strong and deep, it was also so slow and comfortable that the client fell asleep during the treatment. It was relaxing for him and afterwards his body wanted to sleep. Since sleep is when bodies do most of their repair work I take it as a great sign if my treatments induce sleepiness. 

If you are in the Kitchener Waterloo area and have burn scars or road rash scars that you would like to have assessed for scar rehab, please contact me or book an appointment.