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Adhesions/ Scar Tissue

Adhesions are painful. They develop during the normal healing process when the body lays down more collagen while healing from trauma or an inflammatory response. Adhesions can contribute to urinary and bowel dysfunction, back pain, hip pain, pelvic pain, menstrual cramps, pain with penetration and even infertility.


Fascia is the connective tissue around the organs and muscles and even peripheral nerves. Cross linking of collagen is what forms adhesions. The properties of fascia can be compared to salt water taffy. Once pulled apart, taffy tends to stay stretched out and does not return to its former state. Adhesions can be described as minor, moderate and severe. In minor restrictions, the taffy is similar to being in room temperature and is remodeled easily. In severe restrictions, the taffy is harder to remodel and feels like it has been in the freezer, therefore requiring more time and load to stretch.


There is increased risk of developing adhesions after a laparoscopic procedure and an even greater risk with open abdominal surgery, such as a C-section. Other risk factors for developing adhesions include inflammation in the gut from digestive disorders, traumas, falls, accidents, urinary tract infections, kidney stones and/or heavy menstrual periods.


The organs need to be mobile for the deep core muscles to function correctly. For example, the bladder is like a water balloon that needs to move upward as it fills with urine. If the bladder is stuck, it can produce the feeling or urge to urinate sooner than you have to. The colon needs to be mobile as stool passes through. If the colon is stuck, it can lead to urinary issues, constipation, bowel obstruction or pencil size stools. The kidneys move up and down with each breath. If the renal fascia is stuck, normal breathing can be disrupted as well as core function since the diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles work like a piston and move together.


Healthy Core physical therapists have many years of experience with visceral mobilization, or deep mobilization of the fascia around the organs. Visceral mobilization can improve organ and fascial mobility to reduce pain and restore the core muscles to optimum function. Even if the surgery or injury was years ago, treatment can help!


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