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How is Adhesion Pain Treated?

By Sandra Koehler
Updated May 17, 2024
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Adhesion is a bodily process called upon during healing to bond an area of injury. Fibrous tissue clusters together to protect the body from further harm. Also referred to as an internal scar, this bunching of tissue is usually broken down by the body once the damage has been repaired. Failure to separate this tough protective connection can result in abnormal tissue formation leading to a condition referred to as adhesion pain.

Adhesion pain arises when the tough irregular strap-like band of scar tissue restricts normal movement of the tissues or organs involved. In extreme cases pain is the result of the adhesion wrenching an organ out of its proper position. It can also obstruct certain pathways causing health issues such as obstructed bowel or inflammation of the membrane around the heart, a condition known as pericarditis.

Pain may also be experienced if the bonded tissue impedes or presses on a nerve. This can cause symptoms which spread out away from the area which is glued together by scar tissue. It may also bring about irritation which travels the length of the nerve resulting in discomfort in an area away from the adhesion.

Commonly seen after surgery or specific injuries, adhesions may also develop at birth. Since this healing process attaches internal structures which are not normally connected, adhesion pain can occur in any part of the body. Treatment of adhesion pain revolves around breaking up the malformed tissue to relieve pressure and the pulling stress that is causing pain and related symptoms.

In mild cases of adhesion pain the scar tissue may be broken up through a nonsurgical manual technique called Wurn technique. This is a localized hands-on massage approach where deep pressure and gliding is applied across the fibers of the scar. An intensive stretching protocol after the massage also aids in the separation of abnormal adhesion. This method can be very painful and cause bruising and tenderness to the area. When the scar tissue does not respond to manual techniques, surgery may be necessary to relieve pain and its associated symptoms.

Surgical procedures for adhesion pain include a method called adhesiolysis. Adhesiolysis frees the tissue restriction and restores proper movement. This is often performed through inserting a small instrument into the body to cut the fibrous bands apart, a surgical technique called a laparosopy. Since surgery is an invasive approach, additional internal scar tissue will form until the body heals.

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