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Scar Tissue Pain

Weakness or repeated injury in the affected area can cause scar tissue pain. Find out the possible causes, symptoms, and treatment options of this condition.
Bidisha Mukherjee Mar 3, 2019
Scar tissue, also known as adhesion, is formed when the original tissue gets damaged due to a serious physical injury, surgery, or repetitive motion. When the tissues of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, or nerves suffer any kind of damage, our body uses its natural mechanism to heal it.
In this process, it creates some new connective tissues that are fibrous in nature. These act as a barrier for the wound, which upon healing leads to the formation of scar tissue. However, this newly formed tissue is thicker and denser than the normal tissue, as it gets a limited supply of blood and oxygen.
When this weak and inflexible tissue gets pulled, it cannot facilitate movements similar to those facilitated by any other healthy tissue. This causes an inflammation of the nerves, which finally results in severe pain.

Symptoms Observed

✔ The symptoms and intensity of the pain largely depend on a number of factors, such as severity of the injury that caused the scar, location of the scar, etc. A newly formed scar tissue is more painful and is often accompanied by itching, redness, and tenderness.
✔ In some cases, the pain can be so severe that it may affect one's sleep. Adhesion pain after hysterectomy or any other abdominal surgeries is often accompanied by more serious symptoms, as it restricts the movement of various internal organs.
✔ The scar tissue can lead to intestinal obstruction and give rise to abdominal pain, swelling of the abdomen, infrequent bowel movements, nausea, and vomiting. In a more serious complication, the bowel may get strangulated and the abdominal pain intensifies and affects the entire body system.
✔ As a result, the patient may suffer from mild to severe fever, low blood pressure, high pulse rate, etc. If a nerve gets compressed by the scar tissue, then the severity of the pain depends on the extent of nerve compression.
✔ The pain could be continuous if the nerve is under constant compression. Otherwise, the pain would be felt intermittently as and when it interferes with the functioning of the nerve while indulging in activities, like sitting, walking, standing, etc.
✔ In such a condition, the accompanying symptoms include numbness and tingling sensation that can be felt not just in the affected area but in the other parts of the body as well. For instance, a trapped nerve in the cervical area can give rise to symptoms in the hands.
✔ When the pain arises due to the scar tissue putting pressure on the adjoining muscles, then a weakness is felt in that particular part of the body.

Relief Options

✔ Those who suffer from mild to moderate adhesion pain infrequently can reduce it with the help of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. When the pain is accompanied by irritation, then topical ointments like antihistamines and corticosteroids are used to provide relief.
✔ Besides, there is a medicine known as interferon which is administered through an injection. It promotes the growth of healthy collagen tissues. Sometimes, a surgical option is availed to treat the pain.
✔ However, a surgical option is not suitable for all kinds of scars. It is effectual particularly if they are thin and linear. For this reason, the scar tissue pain felt after a c-section can be reduced to a great extent with the help of a surgery.
✔ Alternatively, the pain can be treated with the help of a silicone gel sheeting that improves the elasticity and flexibility of the scar tissue. Sometimes, ultrasonic waves are used to heat the scarred tissue, which in turn makes it less rigid and aids in scar tissue removal.
✔ Massaging the scar also helps to soften the tissues. It should be done by a trained therapist who will massage the skin by moving the fingers in a circular motion.
✔ This will release the tension from the thick tissue and normalize the blood supply to a certain extent. The massage is followed by the application of vitamin E lotion, which has a soothing effect on the painful site.
Pain in the scar tissue after surgery can be prevented only if the wound is taken care of properly during the healing process. Compression bandages should be used for covering the wound properly.
Application of vitamin E creams and oral intake of vitamin E supplements can speed up the healing process. It is also important to protect the wound so that the size of the opening does not increase any further.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.