In a world where sitting is the norm, it is not surprising that people complain most about soreness in their necks, shoulders and low backs. Many habitual activities like sitting at a desk, being on our phone or driving in our car cause our body to assume poor posture. It takes brain power to override these habitual postures. Thankfully, we have tools to re-educate our bodies on how to hold proper posture.
Sometimes, our posture doesn’t always improve with stretches and exercises because of a build up of scar tissue from an old injury that hasn’t been treated. Scar tissue can be created by an incision, a bruise or hematoma, or a sprained ligament or broken bone. When our body heals, scar tissue is created at every level of tissue that was injured, making the scar deeper than just what we see on the skin. If we don’t treat the scar and release the adhered and tough tissue our body will actually compensate and pull other tissue towards the scar. This makes correct posture difficult to maintain.
Fascia is one of the most important tissues to treat in regards to scars. It is a three dimensional continuous web of connective tissue covering every muscle and bone in our body. The fascia gets stuck together near the injury site creating the scar tissue. When a therapist works with the firm and rigid scar tissue they can release the fascia allowing it to relax into its proper state. This allows any other parts connected by that fascia to rest and return from being pulled by the scar tissue.
Here are a few examples of scar tissue affecting fascia and therefore posture:
A c-section scar on a woman’s abdomen pulling her chest and shoulders down causing poor shoulder and back posture, or pulling through her low back causing discomfort.
A broken collarbone, causing scar tissue through the fascia and pectoral muscle pulling the shoulder forward and limiting full arm range of motion.
A hematoma/bruise on a quadriceps muscle causing tightness through the muscle affecting pelvis alignment and gait.
A scar from a surgery to correct a scoliosis curve on ones back can cause the skin to pucker and the fascia to tighten affecting the health and mobility of the spine.
A neck that has experienced a whiplash trauma causes fascia to pull the head affecting it’s positioning and the cervical nerves.
Clearly, our scar tissue has an affect on the alignment of our body’s posture. If you have been using all your brain power to stretch and retrain your body to hold a better posture but it isn’t sticking, think back to your previous injuries. Remind your Massage Therapist or health care provider of these injuries so they can have a full picture of how your fascia might be affecting your posture.
Karissa Parsons – RMT