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  • Nancy Crooks

When ‘skin-tight’ means trouble

When thinking of skin problems, we think of; roughness, redness, wrinkles, sagging, freckles, flaking, etc. Scars, whether from surgery or trauma, pose another kind of skin problem. Ideally, our skin, like a designer suit, fitting perfectly and moving with us in all directions. So flawlessly fitting that we are not even aware of it. But if we were to take the well-tailored suit of our body, and tighten a seam or two, or cut a hole and patch it with fabric of a different texture, it doesn’t feel so fluid. We become accustomed to these changes, but the loss of movement will affect the way one moves and how well the body works.

Common scars on women’s bodies include C-sections, breast cancer surgery and reconstruction, other cosmetic surgery and of course, surgical scars. Women are also more often victims of domestic abuse that leaves physical scars. Troublesome scars can also come from childhood accidents and surgery, burns, skin cancer removal, traffic accidents, etc.

No matter the age of a scar, the way it moves with the body can be improved by expert, gentle manipulation. A scar may be handled as soon as the stitches are removed, and one can do this to oneself to reduce the risk of adhesions and stimulate healing. Move the skin of the scar in all directions so it will move when completely healed. Though it may be painful at first, the benefits are big, and sensitivity soon decreases.

In my practice, I often find scars to be a contributor to many other common problems, such as back pain, headaches and digestive issues. Patients say; “Wow, after 30 years I can’t feel my C-section scar!”, “My doctor was amazed at how fast it healed.” and “I feel as though the corset I’d been wearing loosened, opened up and then dropped off.”

Back in the 1970’s, breast cancer invariably meant a ‘radical mastectomy’. The whole breast was taken, plus lymph nodes. Pamela (name has been changed) had had such a surgery, and her scar was large and deep, from the middle of her chest into her armpit. She had come to me initially for pain in her hips and legs, which she attributed to frequent falls and clumsiness. We located the primary treatment area as the mastectomy scar and although it took several treatments, Pamela’s pain levels diminished greatly and her balance began to improve, so she fell less often. She felt much better overall as well.

Today, surgery for breast cancer (and everything else) is often less drastic, but scars of any surgery or accident, no matter how long ago, can have a profound affect on our health and how comfortable we are in our bodies. If you have a scar, you can test it yourself to see if the skin moves easily in all directions. Treatment by a skilled and sensitive practitioner can make all the difference in how fluidly and effortlessly your birthday suit moves with you.

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