Scars have depth, texture, density, form and pull. To say what we see on the surface is the tip of the iceberg is a huge understatement in many cases. I have become obsessed with scars in this last few months as I have had an influx of clients with large scars that are interfering with their motor control; and I have scars of my own that I am working with.
For some people it's surprising that scars can interfere so much with our ability to move naturally and reflexively. So I will outline here in brief how scars can interfere with motor control. In later posts I will elaborate more on these. Scars interfere with motor control
1) through the fascial pull of the adhesions they form with the tissues around them. This creates a mechanical obstacle to motor control function. An example would be the movement of a joint being impaired by scar tissue. Since the motor control system makes decisions based on perceived tension in the body, the distortions of around a scar can also send incorrect information about the state of tension in surrounding tissues. For example, an abdominal scar could increase tension in the internal oblique which the motor control center then interprets as an already present contraction of that muscle. The motor control center would then choose not to contract the muscle further;
2) through the increase of sensory afferance (scar tissue has more nerve endings laid down around it) that can overwhelm or confuse the motor control center of the brain;
3) through emotional trauma that can interfere with motor control through the limbic system.
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Scars from surgeries or scars made by sharp objects are very different from the scars created by internal fractures. This scar is one that was self-inflicted when I was a miserable teen with no emotional resources, and no understanding about how to talk about difficult things, in the 90s. It looks flat and movable, but it has a deep root that interferes with mobility in my radial joint. I've done the emotional work I need to; but the scar itself still needs attention for me to have pull power through my right wrist, elbow and shoulder.
I have many clients who are having motor control problems -- causing joint pain, lack of mobility -- caused by scars. Some of these are recent, just 3 months ago, and many more that are decades old. These include crush and spiral fractures that are hidden below the surface; abdominal surgeries; laproscopic scars; deep cuts made by jagged edges; and scarring caused by blunt force trauma -- each of these has to be treated differently. One client's shoulder scar was pulling on some of his cervical nerves and giving him symptoms that he had deemed anxiety attacks. So if you have scars and pain -- there is a good chance there is a connection. Discovering what this connection is and helping clients to resolve it is some of my favorite work.