What is scar tissue?
Scar tissue is dense, fibrous tissue affects us all and is an underlying factor in many injuries. Scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker. Tension on tendons causes tendinosis. Nerves can become trapped. All these problems can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain as well as tingling, numbness, and weakness.
Scar tissue forms two different ways. First, if a muscle, tendon, or ligament is torn or crushed, the body creates scar tissue to ‘glue’ the torn pieces together. This is a necessary part of the healing process.
The second, more common way for scar tissue to form is by soft tissue in the body not receiving enough oxygen (hypoxia). Hypoxia is more common than one may think. Poor posture, athletic pursuits, repeated use, and sustained pressure (as in sitting) all increase muscle tension and result in hypoxic conditions. When muscle tension is increased, blood supply to the area is reduced. A healthy blood flow is so important because blood carries oxygen to muscles. A reduced blood flow means less oxygen and that means hypoxia.
Hypoxia leads to free radical accumulation in muscles. Unfortunately free radicals attract cells that produce scar tissue. These cells begin lying down scar tissue and over time, scar tissue begins affecting surrounding muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves.