Sticky Situation: What Scars You Can’t See Are Doing to Your Body

mrc5exlarge2Your sore shoulder, constipation, sexual pain, infertility–all of these things can be a result of scar tissue in your body.  Why hasn’t anyone told you about this possibility before?   Mainstream medicine rarely looks at scar tissue because they don’t yet use effective ways for diagnosing and treating scar tissue.

Working with scar tissue, particularly in the abdomen and pelvis, is part of my training as a sexological bodyworker.  My teacher, Ellen Heed, describes scar tissue as one of the four obstacles to radiant health as important as imbalances in posture, emotions and nutrition.  The good news is that scar tissue can be easy to find if you know what you’re looking for and there are simple treatments.

Where Does Scar Tissue Come From?

We are all familiar with scars that form when our skin has been cut.  Sometimes dark purple, sometimes white, scars knit our tissues back together.  Scar tissue can also form under the surface where we cannot see it.  In addition to cuts and surgeries we can develop scar tissue from infection, injuries, illness, childbirth and inflammation in the body.  Even emotions held in our tissues can lead to scar tissue.

What is Scar Tissue?

When an area is injured, cells called fibroblasts come in to protect and knit the area back together.  Fibroblasts are rich in collagen which makes for a more dense connective tissue.  These fibroblasts are also highly disorganized–they do not form in nice, neat patterns that match the rest of our tissues.  This combination of density and disorganization is responsible for the crunchy, bumpy and inflexible feelings we often associate with scars.

What are Adhesions?

All of the muscles and organs in your body are covered by a layer of fascia.  Fascia is like a thin sweater that covers, penetrates and separates muscles and organs.  Scar tissue likes to travel along fascia, its disorganization can cause it to continually form and travel from your right hip all the way up to your left shoulder along the knit highway of fascia.

If you have a c-section scar and suddenly one day have sexual pain, this may be due to scar tissue traveling from you abdomen down into your pelvis and forming adhesions.  Adhesions occur when scar tissue glues the fascia of tissues or organs together.  So in the case of sexual pain, you might have two pelvic muscles glued together causing discomfort.   In the case of infertility, adhesions can glue the walls of the fallopian tubes together so there is not ample space for an egg to pass through.  For constipation your intestines might be glued to your abdominal wall.

What Do Scar Tissue and Adhesions Feel Like?

Some scar tissue and adhesions are easy to feel and others it may take some skill to identify.  If you have scar tissue in your own body it can manifest as tightness and soreness in joints, like a stiff shoulder or a tight hip.  You will likely feel a limited range of motion when adhesions are present.  Scar tissue particularly around incisions can feel numb, like pins and needles or you may experience a pulling or stretching sensation.

When palpating for scar tissue look for areas under your fingers that feel like wires, crunchy or hard little pebbles.  When these areas are really pressed into there is a range of experience from numb or dull to sharp knife like pain.

What You Can Do

Here are a few ways you can intervene to prevent scar tissue from doing its thing and traveling around your body.

1)  Gentle Stretching – This works particularly well when you’re body is nice and warm perhaps after a walk or cardio exercise.  Stretch into those areas of sticky spots just to the edge of discomfort.

2)  Castor Oil Packs – Castor oil comes from the castor seed and has been used as a healing remedy for centuries.  In short, castor oil reduces inflammation and it helps to melt scar tissue and draw toxins out of the body.  You can find supplies for castor oil packs, oil and flannel, here under Sexual Wellness Products or at your local holistic pharmacy.  Be sure to use high quality organic castor oil to prevent putting more chemicals into your body.  (See full instructions here).

3)  Bodywork – Some bodywork practitioners are trained to help dissolve scar tissue and  the assistance of someone else’s touch can be quite effective.  In sexological bodywork, we use castor oil for our scar massage.  Sexological bodyworkers also have the training to do internal pelvic work.   Other modalities that work with scar tissue are myofascial release and visceral manipulation.  Some physical therapists and occupational therapists are skilled at working with scar tissue and may include internal work in their practice.

Learn more about scar tissue remediation and private sessions with Lara here.

If you have personal experience with melting scars I would love to hear what has worked for you in the comments below.

Check out Lara’s new online program and DVD —

10 thoughts on “Sticky Situation: What Scars You Can’t See Are Doing to Your Body

  1. Jennifer Blood

    Hello – I heard you talking on Radio 95.1 today and you peaked my curiosity. I suffer from endometriosis, adhesions, fibroids and interstitial cystitis. I am trying to eat healthier and have less processed foods. Any thoughts or ideas would be great. Thanks.

    1. Lara Catone Post author

      Hi Jennifer, eating healthy is definitely a great start and adding castor oil packs to your self care regimen would be a great idea for you. There’s a whole article on this on my blog. I recommend this book for more info too:

      You might also seek the support of a Pelvic PT (physical therapist) in your area for hands on healing.

    2. Lara Catone Post author

      I have some videos coming out in next couple of months as well, so I’d encourage to subscribe to my email list!

  2. Dania Vernali

    Hi, I just started my castor oil packs last week. I have had continuous pain for years in my lower back and abdomen. After a couple MRI’s the results have come back as bulging disk in L2, L3, L4,L5 but was told by the doctor not enough bulge to be causing the pain I feel. Now I’m a tough girl. I’m 52 and have been very active my whole life. I ran 6 miles a day 6 days a week and worked out doing boot camps, palates, kick boxing etc… for years until this pain won out. I have this crazy popping (still pops!) on my left hip that while working out in a group setting would cause people to comment on how loud it was. It wasn’t painful but I could feel the pulling sensation. I continue to work out today but can’t do the core work I’m used to doing because it causes me to have so much pain that I can’t function or move comfortably for days after what used to be a normal workout for me in the past. I don’t think this is an old age issue. This really started about 15 years ago. It was just a ting of pulling and a shooting pain now and then but not the continuous pain that it has evolved into. Here’s the story, 17 years ago I had my first C-section, two years after that I had a second C-section and then about 6 years after that had to have a hysterectomy. It now makes all the sense in the world what has happened. I worry that I’ve waited too long for this to work but, I will do it as long as need be if ultimately I’ll have a successful result. I would love to have your expert opinion on the success rate of someone in my position. Thank you and I look forward to hearing back from you! :O) Most grateful, Dania

    1. Lara Catone Post author

      Dania, how is it going? I think it’s always possible to see improvement no matter how much time has lapsed. You can also check out the work of Jini Patel. I think this may be helpful for you!

  3. Colette

    Hi great advice. Can I use castor oil pack? I have 20 months post c section started getting sort of prickly cold pain about 2 inch below my belly button where I assume the internal scar Is. Does this sound like anything bad? It’s not been constant it’s not very sore but tender. I have had pcos. I’m on a vegan diet again now. My periods are and always have been except a few months before I conceived my 20 month old daughter very irregular it’s horrible

    1. Lara Catone Post author

      Hi Colette, yes you can try using a castor oil pack and see if it changes. Should also help your reproductive symptoms. You may also rethink your vegan diet for healing reasons.

  4. Toni

    Hi there. I’m going to use your advice about castor oil for my kidney transplant scar. My operation was 9 weeks ago and while everything else is perfect, I’m definitely feeling internal scar tissue pulling around my pubic bone and groin area. They put the new kidney in the right side of abdomen… so it’s kind of like a vertical cesarean scar, beginning in my pubic hair. Do you think I should massage the scar tissue after the pack process? While it’s soft to break it down. Thanks and any extra advice is appreciated!

    1. Lara Catone Post author

      Yes, definitely massage after the castor oil pack! Start out very gently with everything and work your way to more.

  5. Dee

    A good osteopath can work on adhesions like this. I had a car accident years ago and didn’t realize the adhesions from that were causing my digestive issues. The osteopath is gently unwinding the adhesions in my back and ribcage. The castor oil packs really helped too.

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