When Scar Tissue Causes Pain

Scars are a part of life. After an injury or surgery, a scar is likely to form. Much of the time, they are a simple reminder of something that happened. But when scar tissue starts to cause problems, Integrated Pain Solutions can help. Read on to learn how scar tissue can cause issues within the body and what to do about it.

Closeup of someone pressing on their knee joint in pain

What is Scar Tissue?

Odds are, you have a scar or two along your body. After an injury, a collection of specific cells and collagen called scar tissue forms to cover the injury. There are a multitude of ways scar tissue can present such as keloid scars, hypertrophic scars, and contracture scars. Scar tissue is part of the body’s natural healing process and can form anywhere in the body. Scar tissue begins to form less than 24 hours after an injury.

Does Scar Tissue Have Nerves?

Oftentimes, an injury that results in a scar will destroy the nerves in the area. But as the injury heals the nerve endings begin to regenerate. This can lead to scar tissue pain. Scar tissue tends to have more pain receptors than healthy tissue and often tightens while you sleep. Since scar tissue can also occur inside the body, if you find yourself waking up with pain, particularly in your joints, scar tissue may be to blame.

Older woman touches her shoulder in discomfort
Man cups his hands over his painful knee

Joint Scar Tissue

Joints are held together by ligaments, long fibers that run parallel to each other and have a good supply of nutrients and oxygen to keep the joint moving smoothly. Scar tissue, unlike ligaments, forms in random patterns and is less flexible than the tissue it is replacing. Ligament scar tissue can leave the joint it is surrounding less flexible and more prone to pain and reinjury. Scar tissue does not provide the lubrication needed around joints which can allow the joint’s cartilage to break down. This can allow the bones surrounding the joint to rub together and cause even more pain and loss of motion. Over time, this process can lead to osteoarthritis.

What Can Be Done About Scar Tissue?

One of the most important things to do to prevent joint scar tissue from limiting your range of motion is movement. It is important to move the injured joint as soon as possible to combat the effects of scar tissue around the ligaments. Movement less than 24 hours after the injury will allow the scar tissue to form in longer, more flexible strands and allow for a wider range of motion in the future. Movement can even help in older scar tissue. Moving and loosening up old scar tissue will allow the joint to produce more lubrication and make future movement easier. Though pain is a deterrent from movement, less movement will lead to more pain.

A row of older adults participate in outdoor stretching exercises

If you are dealing with pain in old scar tissue, Integrated Pain Solutions can offer some relief. We offer a wide range of treatments and therapies for chronic pain. Joint pain caused by scar tissue can feel all-consuming but you don’t have to live with it. Contact Integrated Pain Solutions today!