Health and Healing with Emmanuel Birstein

Painful Scar Tissue Options for Treatment

Jan 2018

Pain after traumatic injury or surgery is to be expected. But pain that persists beyond the normal healing period is not expected and can often become chronic and even debilitating. The source of such pain is usually attributed to scar tissue on the surface of the skin or in subdermal skin layers and connective tissue.

Surface scar tissue pain occurs when there is damage to small skin nerves or when a nerve is squeezed by growing scar tissue. Sometimes a neuroma (growth of nerve tissue or a non-malignant nerve tumor) can form at the end of a damaged skin nerve. Internally, bands of scar tissue or adhesions can form between damaged tissue and body organs, causing them to stick together. This can cause pain and limit movement. Painful scar tissue can occur years after surgery or injury. This is often the case with scarring and adhesions from breast and abdominal surgery and traumatic injury.

Although there is a high prevalence of neuropathic pain from scarring, treatments are generally limited.

Post-mastectomy pain syndrome (PMPS) is a significant complication after breast cancer surgery, occurring in up to 60% of cases. The cause of PMPS is poorly understood but is believed to be a result of surgical injury to major nerves in the axilla (armpit) and/or the chest wall during lymph node dissection. According to a recent review of treatment options in The Breast Journal, despite the prevalence of this neuropathic pain condition, the amount of research is very limited and no consensus has yet been made. Tricyclic antidepressants and anti-epileptics have been somewhat successful and topical treatments, including ointments and dermal patches, bring some relief. Additional surgery, including fat grafting has also been found effective. Still, PMPS remains a major clinical challenge.

Emmanuel Birstein is a trained and gifted practitioner and healer at PIMH. He provides light-touch manual therapies aimed at successfully treating the syndrome of scar tissue pain that arises not just from single events (e.g. injury and surgery) but a lifetime of the buildup of scar tissue that can impact not only physical health but mental health as well.

Client Testimonial
"My great thanks to Emmanuel [Birstein]. He did not just cure me, but enabled my soul to transform my existence in this world, to look at myself from the outside in a new way. His hands, his brain and ... I do not know what else work miracles!!! Once again, thank you very much Emmanuel." [This patient was literally sewn together by a prominent surgeon 25 years ago after a trauma that shattered his body. He was in pain ever since. I worked on his scars in silence for 1.5 hours, and his pain disappeared. (Emmanuel Birstein)]
Abdominal scarring and neuropathic pain can result from surgical procedures, including c-sections, bowel resections, appendectomy etc. Another source of abdominal scarring is an abdominal wall birth defect called gastroschisis. A baby’s intestines are found outside of the body, exiting through a hole in the abdomen near the umbilicus.This is a relatively "common" congenital anomaly. In fact, its incidence seems to be increasing in recent years, having more than doubled in the United States over the past 18 years. In a 1997 study of subjects ranging in age from 12 to 23, chronic recurrent abdominal pain was reported by a quarter of participants. The article cited shorter term follow up studies with a higher prevalence of this symptom. Clinicians generally look for bowel involvement as a result of adhesions to explain the pain rather than neuropathic origins. Research seems to be sorely lacking.

Scar tissue and adhesions from other sources can limit a person's movement and cause pain. Over time, internal scar tissue or adhesions can build up in the joints, muscles, tendons, and soft tissues. It can be caused by working your body too much, injury (such as sprains, strains and trauma), surgery, disease, or just by repeated movement when the body is out of alignment. Stiffness and pain experienced as we age is often due to the build up of internal scar tissue and adhesions.

Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment with Emmanuel.

If you would like to comment on this or any blog post, please Contact Us.