Scar tissue is a thickened area of tissue resulting from fibrosis or fibrous tissue formation. It commonly replaces a normal skin after tissue injury or trauma, and your Land O Lakes chiropractor can help you alleviate some of this compromised tissue.
The formation of a scar tissue is a normal process of healing and it is a part of wound repair. Any type of injury, such as surgery, accident and disease can result in scar tissue formation. Saying this, scar tissue does not only form on the skin, but in all tissues of the body that are exposed to trauma or damage.
What is Scar Tissue Made Up Of?
Scar tissues are made up of proteins that are exactly the same as the healthy cells. This protein is called collagen and is practically similar in component as the collagen on normal tissues. However, scar tissues look tougher and different from normal tissues because the fibrous tissue formation is different. Normal tissues form a basket weave appearance while scar tissues are more complex in a randomized alignment; hence, their elevated and bizarre characteristics.
Characteristics of Scar Tissue
Scar tissues have different characteristics from normal tissues. Aside from being harder, tougher, irregular and elevated in appearance, scar tissues have the following characteristics:
- Absence of hair follicles
In the skin, scar tissues do not allow hair follicles to grow back; hence, the absence of hair.
- Lesser sweat glands
Underneath scar tissues are fewer sweat glands making them dry and scaly at times.
- Limited function
Scar tissue also tends to have limited function such as in the case of myocardial infarction. The scar in the heart muscle leads to reduced heart contractility leading to heart failure. In the musculoskeletal system, scar tissue formation on the soft tissues leads to reduced flexibility and limited range of motion.
- Presence of pain
Tough scar tissues may also press on underlying nerves. For instance, scar tissue on the muscles can cause muscle aches due to pressure and reduced blood flow.
Types of Scar Tissue
There are several types of scar tissue according to their makeup. These include:
Atrophic scars are uncommon, sunken, pitted scars on the skin. Atrophic scars are usually due to the loss of adipose tissue or fat tissue under the skin causing the scar to sunken.
- Hypertrophic scars
Hypertrophic scars are elevated scar tissue as a result of overproduction of collagen. Hypertrophic scars are usually raised lumps and reddish in appearance.
- Keloid scars
Keloid scars are also raised scars, but are more serious than hypertrophic scars. Keloid scars differ from hypertrophic scars because the growth of keloids usually extends beyond the original wound area.
Striae or more commonly known as a stretch mark is another type of scar tissue resulting from overstretching of the skin due to weight gaining, pregnancy and increased tension on the skin.
Scar tissues on the skin are fairly harmless other than their aesthetic implications. For scar tissue formation for the musculoskeletal system, there are simple managements done to relieve pain and improve mobility and flexibility. One of these techniques is the Graston technique utilizing special instruments to break down scar tissue and improve motion. If you have concerns regarding scar tissue formation, contact your heath care provider or a chiropractor.