Although the medical community refers to it as “FIBROSIS,” Scar Tissue wreaks havoc with people’s lives because it is so radically different than normal tissue.  Some of these differences include…..

  • SCAR TISSUE IS WEAKER:  Scar Tissue is far weaker than normal connective tissue. This is why it’s always easier to sprain your ankle again, after spraining it the first time.  This information is common knowledge, and can be found in any Pathology Textbook.
  • SCAR TISSUE IS LESS ELASTIC:  In the same way a HAIRBALL is less elastic than well-combed hair, Scar Tissue is less elastic than normal tissue.   Microscopically speaking, Scar Tissue is a tangled, twisted, wad (HERE are some awesome pictures) of adhesion.  This information is common knowledge, and can be found in any Pathology Textbook.
  • SCAR TISSUE DOES NOT OXYGENATE WELL, CREATING A LOW (acidic) PH:   Known as hypoxia, decreased oxygenation is extremely harmful because OXYGEN is critical for proper tissue healing to occur. The combination of Inflammation and Scar Tissue restricts blood flow and oxygen to the connective tissues, which can create an extremely acidic environment.  This is not only detrimental to local healing, but to systemic healing as well.  This fact is well known by doctors and can likewise be found in any Pathology Textbook.
  • SCAR TISSUE IS DIFFERENT NEUROLOGICALLY: It is easy to see how microscopic scarring is different mechanically and chemically. What most doctors fail to tell you (mostly because they themselves don’t understand) is that Scar Tissue is different neurologically as well.   The latest scientific research tells us that the nerves in scar tissue can conduct pain 1,000 times more effectively than the nerves in normal tissue.   This hyper-conductivity of the nerve system creates what is known as TYPE III PAIN (Supersensitivity).  This information is just starting to make its way into Pathology Textbooks

Abnormally functioning nerves in scar tissue leads to diminished PROPRIOCEPTION (the major cause of degenerative arthritis and joint deterioration). It can also cause HYPERALGIA (stimulus that should cause a little pain causes extraordinary amounts of pain), or ALLODYNIA (stimulus which do not normally cause any pain, now causes pain). In people dealing with underlying Scar Tissue, these three frequently overlap and can actually lead to something called CENTRAL SENSITIZATION.

If you are really interested in seeing how all of this works together to cause a “PERFECT STORM” of Chronic Pain, just follow the link.  Be aware that said Scar Tissue is the culprit in any number of CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES.  The good news is that is Microscopic Adhesions and Scar Tissue are your problem, THERE IS HOPE FOR YOU.


  1. Melinda

    Very ,very interesting. It completes the picture of understanding. Never considered damaged tissue, but, could be such a large part of a given problem. Thanks

  2. Zakari

    Hello. I just had FTM top surgery an when my scars started to heal the skin grew over them an started to swell. It first I thought it could of been infection but as time went on and I started to heal more began to get really hard. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of research and I’m starting to believe that maybe it’s some sort of scar keloid could you help me out on this?

  3. Gavin

    Hello I have had two back surgeries on L4 and L5 ruptured disc on my sciatic nerve. They did the surgeries and I never really felt like it was better but they did a MRI and said “I have a lot of scar tissue pushing and wrapped around the nerve” as well the disc and it’s causing a lot of pain and causing my leg to give out a lot. My leg has a lot of pain and shakes, goes numb, and will give out on me all the time. What do you think? Any recommendations? Thanks

    • Hello Gavin,

      Wish I could help you with this, but it’s out of my area of expertise. What I can tell you is that surgery tends to cause Scar Tissue. For most, it isn’t enough to cause problems. But for some, it can be a true blue nightmare. The problem is, trying to remove Scar Tissue surgically almost always results in more of the same — often times worse than before. One thing I can recommend (it may not help a lot, but it sure can’t hurt) is to read my blog posts on “Inflammation”. Once you realize that Inflammation always leads to Fibrosis (Scar Tissue), it makes sense why it would be in your best interest to control it. The doctors do this by prescribing what I refer to as “THE BIG FIVE“. While I would never argue for one second that anti-inflammation meds don’t work, I would argue that their side effects are often brutal. Fortunately, there are some ways to deal with inflammation naturally. Wish I could do more for you Gavin.

      God Bless,
      Dr. Russ

  4. Julia

    Hi Doctor Russ,
    I just read your article and I have a few questions.
    I was a self harmer in my teens and unfortunately left myself with extensive scar tissue and damage.
    I have been suffering pain for almost 7 years. My GP thought it may be ulnar nerve neuropathy given that it follows the symptoms of ulnar nerve neuropathy. I have minor clawing and pain from elbows to pinkie, ring and half of index fingers on both arms. My GP is unsure what steps to take next.
    I have had an ultrasound of elbows and forearms and all clear. I have had negative nerve conductive studies done. I am now waiting to see a orthopedic surgeon.
    The pain is terrible, pain killers don’t work and I refuse to take stronger medications as they don’t help and make me drowsy.
    I exercise a lot by rock climbing and on days that I climb I have no pain. Days I don’t I tend to suffer. Can you please recommend anything?

    Kind regards,

    • Hello Julia,

      What your doctor probably meant to say was that you have a neuralgia — not neuropathy. Because there are no tests positive either mechanically or electrically, and because your forearm actually gets way better the more you use it, best guess is that Tissue Remodeling would help you. Go to my doctor schierling dot com site and type “Five Years Forearm” into the search bar. I would be extremely leery of letting someone do a surgery on your arm based on the information in your comment here.

      Dr. Russ

  5. Jana

    I had my gallbladder removed in 1985 and there were complications. As this was just before laproscopic surgery became common, I have a lengthy abdominal scar with thick scar tissue visible on the surface. This area of scar tissue has recently given me much pain when I bend, sit up from a laying down position or lift items. Is there anything that I can do to relieve this pain? Thank you for any information that you can give me.

  6. Garry

    I have plenty of scar tissue and my ankle looks deformed due to a Chrisman-Snook surgery nearly three decades ago. Some days I cant even walk with a huge amount of pain. Help, what should I do? I feel like vicodin or some kind of pain medicine is necessary. Are there other alternatives?

    • Hello Garry,

      Although I am not specifically familiar with this surgery, surgeries have tremendous potential (even when otherwise successful) to cause large amounts of the Scar Tissue that the medical community refers to as Fibrosis. With an ankle like this, my approach is three fold. I try and break everything free that can be freed (is not fused) with drop table and Impulse adjustments as well as Scar Tissue Remodeling. Secondly, it is imperative to do whatever you need to do to reduce the amount of inflammation in your life. Note that I am not suggesting drugs here at this point (mopping up inflammation after the fact) but dietary changes that stop inflammation in its tracks. Thirdly, I would make a trip out to Colorado to see Shawn Eno of Xtreme Footwerks. Among other things, he specializes in orthotics for high arches as well as surgically altered feet. As for drugs, they are a slippery slope. What works today won’t work tomorrow. And this doesn’t even begin to touch on the crazy numbers of side effects.

  7. Amie

    So glad to read this! I had 2 very serious infections in my right bicep muscle 2 years ago, which was cut out. The large, wide painful scar is a result of the necessary surgery. I had a consultation with a plastic surgeon today to see what could be done about the scar and reduction of pain due to the size, shape and depth. Sadly, I was very disappointment in his response. I was told that he would “scrape” the top and attempt to reduce the size but would not be able to remove the scare tissue due to nerves in the area. The scar tissue being so extremely tight and deep is what’s causing the pain. Can you point me in the right direction as to where to go from here? I will also look for a second opinion because I can’t be the only person out there with this problem. Thanks!

  8. Sarinda

    Hi Dr. Schierling, I have been having symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in the lower leg, from knee to ankle, for the past year since a re-occurrence of a suspected calf strain from the previous year (MRI showed no viable tear in the first year of treatment, and there was no trauma to the calf when pain came on, I also had a DVT test).
    Could scar tissue have been the cause of the re-occurrence of suspected injury as it was not elastic enough to deal with resuming exercise, and now be the cause of the PN symptoms which are hindering a full recovery due to muscle weakness and pain? Would having a sports therapy massage on the calf help iron out any scar tissue and increase blood flow, or would this aggravate the nerve symptoms further?
    My Doctor has prescribed painkillers, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants to deal with the pain but is unable to give me an answer on what the underlying cause of the pain could be. I was referred to a neurologist who checked my reflexes and informed me I didn’t have a trapped nerve, but gave no further explanation of what else could be going on.

    • Hello Sarinda,

      First, go to my Doctor Schierling dot com site and be sure to read my material on PN. Scar Tissue (Fibrosis) could certainly be a factor in your symptoms. The problem is that it does not image well. Has anyone told you that this could possibly be compartment syndrome? As for massage, I cannot really tell you whether it would help or not. Doubtful it would cause problems, but there is always that possibility.

      Dr. Russ

  9. jonathan

    Hello I had surgery on my right lower leg. I wasn’t given any rest and the surgeon told me I could walk on it. Months after I started having tiredness and weakness on my leg. Did get some what better but it got worst when I was very active. Started with extreme pain leg would bee tingling and .Numb very sensitive to touch. I had an mri show nothing But scar tissue build up. I been getting lumbar injection to help with pain but no longer is effective. I been use capsaicin creams to help me. Relieves muscle and skin tension. Because of the place the scar is at. I can’t sit or stand for longer 5 minutes without a lot of pain. I know you’re very busy I appreciate all response.

    • Hello Jonathan,

      The problem with situations like this is that the very surgeries that doctors use to remove scar tissue, turn right around and cause scar tissue — sometimes worse than before. Fortunately, doctors are more likely today to warn patients of this than they used to be. Tough to say with your particular case, but depending on how deep the Scar Tissue is, Tissue Remodeling might be of help.

      Dr. Russ

  10. Erin


    I had an MRI to see what was going on with my knee. Turns out there is a good amount of scar tissue left over from a LR that I had done 10 months ago. I had my chiropractor order the MRI and he said to just ride it out and it should break down itself. Its been bother me for about 6 months now. I didn’t know if I should keep riding it out or go back to the OS and see about surgery to remove it. It limits my ROM some (with extension) and bothers me after about 20 minutes of sitting, and sometimes gives me a hard time falling asleep at night. Thanks!

    • Hello Erin,

      I cannot answer that question specifically, however I can tell you that removing scar tissue surgically tends to cause more of the same, which is why more and more doctors are not doing it.

      Dr. Russ

  11. Judith

    My daughter has been suffering with severe pain of her left leg for 2 years and could not find the cause. A friend was telling her about somebody who had surgery on scar tissue and a bell rang for her. 20 years ago she had multiple blood clots in that leg and they had to open large areas of her veins both on the inside and outside of her leg. She laid for 8 days with the leg packed before it could be sutured shut. Now she realized that the outer thigh area that is hurting is EXACTLY where the scar is. It’s about 12 to 15 inches long. Is there any hope that some kind of surgery could be done on this scar?

  12. Michelle


    I have had two hip surgeries on my left hip for labral repair. The pain on the side of hip seems to be unbearable! I had a cortisone injection in which the dr broke up some of the scar tissue and a week later am in so much more pain. What do I do about this painful scar tissue? Thank you so much for your time.

    • The single biggest problem with surgical removal of Scar Tissue is that it tends to heal with Scar Tissue, which frequently causes more problems than before. Make sure to go over to my Doctor Schierling dot com site and read all my blog posts filed under inflammation. Inflammation always leads to Fibrosis, which is the medical name for Scar Tissue. Solve the inflammation problem, and you have at least helped your cause.

      Dr. Russ

  13. Linda

    Hi. I’m 36 years old and had a c-section about five years ago. About 3 months ago I started to feel pain underneath my c-section scar and when I touched it it felt like a huge pimple. I thought it would go away and waited a couple of weeks. Finally I got concerned and went to my gynecologist. He assured me that it was scar tissue and not to worry about it. I am however worried and not sure if he is indeed correct. Does scar tissue hurt and can it feel like a giant pimple which hurts more once you press on it?

    • Hello Linda,

      There could certainly be Scar Tissue there. However, the whole “pimple” thing is not very familiar to me. There is no telling what this might be, although your dr does not seem to deem it serious (translated; ‘dangerous’). Scar Tissue can hurt horrendously. In fact, it was Dr. Chan Gunn, the famous neurologist from the Seattle / Vancouver area who invented modern dry needling, that said Scar Tissue can be over 1,000 times more pain sensitive than normal tissue.

      Dr. Russ

  14. Dan

    My mother in law received an electric shock from an iron which failed to disconnect and caused entrance and exit burning of the wrist / thumb joint. Nearly two years down the line and many consultations scans etc surgery has been ruled out due to the scaring being H shaped and surrounding the nerves. She suffers considerable pain in her arm which swells after modest activity. She also feels pain in her hip and lower back which the consultant believes to be linked. She is being referred to OT and Physio but my question is are there any foodstuffs, vitamins alternative medicines that will reduce scar tissue and or soften etc etc?
    Any advice would be gratefully accepted.

    • Electric shock is a whole other problem altogether, as it can cause so many bizarre processes. Many people claim that they get help from proteolytic enzymes. Not sure what to tell you here, but wish her well.

      Dr. Russ

  15. Cherie

    Good morning! I am a 31 year old female suffering with abnormal chronic pain. I have had several surgeries and always recovered fairly quick. This last one turned my life upside down. I’m fairy confident in your theory with scar tissue especially since the last surgery was breast augmentation with implant exchange due to capsular contracture and my surgeon said he had to remove extensive amounts of scar tissue. I could go on n on bit would appreciate some help. Thank you much.

    Cherie lynn

    • Hello Cherie,

      Not sure how I can help you with me here and you wherever you are. Just understand that surgery to remove scar tissue always causes more of the same — often times worse than the original. Unfortunately, I have seen any number of augmentation surgeries end up in major failure either due to Scar Tissue, or due to autoimmune reactions to the leaking material.

      Dr. Russ

  16. Darren

    Hi I was wondering if you could help me or point me in the right direction. I had a lateral release right knee and the scar tissue/operation has caused hyperalgia as I can’t carry out hip extension with knee flexion so back running is impossible only take 400m to get pretty bad fascia pain. Treatment conservatory laser, myofascail release, interx, shockwave therapy, neurokinetic therapy, guided injections coritisone and PRP to ITB/Gredy Tubercle. Possible option is to look at local injection along the scar to see if there is temp release and then isolate nerves and partially desensitise them sorry name for this I can’t remember.

    Is there anything else I can try or do feels like I just want to tear/rip the fascia apart as the pressure build it is quite bad.


    • Hello Darren,

      Cold Laser is the best modality I have found. Make sure you try some form of ASTM ISTM ASTM. As crazy as it sounds, I would try a thirty day elimination diet (or Paleo Diet) just to see if there may be some occult inflammation stirring the pot.


  17. Chloe

    I have scar tissue mass on my ankle. Now my calf is starting to ache on that same side. Directly related?

  18. Norman

    I had an ORIF on my left ulna and radial bone in 2013 and the hardware removed in 2014. However till today, there is much pain in the ulna bone when it bears weight – such as in a plank position or military leopard crawl. Is there an idea if the pain is due to scar/ bone or any other thing? And if the pain would go away with any therapy or strengthening or any methods?

  19. Julie

    I have had two back surgeries on my l4/l5 disc (2009 and 2010). I was rear ended in my car on July 14th. It’s now November and I’m still in a lot of pain and discomfort – my PSIS joint and my sacro iliam (sp?) are messed up and my hips (iliam crest area) hurt and feel tightened up when I sit or stand – even for short periods – I have pins and needles under both of my feet (this is strange but sometimes it’s only one foot at a time that gets the sensation). I’m very worried but my MRI showed clear? The next step is a mylogram and Emg which are painful and may not even solve the problem. I have a bit of a foot drop on my right side and I’m so scared it will get worse. Is this possibly from my scar tissue. My doctor is very good and well respected in my community – he is watching me and PT helps relieve my pain… I would love to hear your input on this though. I’m not very good with research and would love to read any articles you have on the subject. I actually found this just by a few clicks on my iPhone – I don’t even know how to get peer reviewed articles. Any help is appreciated – this has worried me…. It’s been almost 5 months!

  20. Ronan

    I have had an ulnar nerve decompression dine 6 months ago. I can feel my nerve on the affected side and it feels like a tight piece of string compared to the opposite side. This is even when the arm us pretty straight. Iv had no luck with nerve glides. Could it be scar tissue?

  21. Sherri

    My husband had a hemorrhagic stroke 3 yrs ago. He had cyberknife radiation which caused scar tissue which has now caused vision issues due to his brain swelling caused by the scar tissue. Steroids are not working. What can be done?

  22. Kathy

    My son had HD when he was born, he has had been cut open from rib cage to rib cage and chest bone to willie winkie. He has had several surgeries since birth, he has had pain in his stomach for many years. He is now 33 years old and the pain in his stomach has become so bad that it drops him to his knees. The doctors have gone in and freed up the scar tissue about 3 years ago, but that only took the pain down a little foe about 2 months and then the pain was back in full force again. They say they don’t want to go back in because it would only make more scar tissue to develope. Will the pain continue to get worse or will it level out at some point, he is already in so much pain..
    Thank you

  23. Michele

    1 year ago I had a subclavian bypass due to steal syndrome. Now my scar causes me severe pain. Burning, pulling and extreme sensitivities over the whole area.

  24. Tonya

    I have had 4 blood clots. It is not inherited. It came out of no where. They said I had blood clot disorder, Lucas, and have really bad scar tissue throughout both legs. I’m always in pain and I go September 8th to see my vascular surgeon again. I’m really tired of hurting? What can they do?

  25. Rebecca

    I have had several surgeries on the past 4 years. I’ve had my right lung tacked up due to spontaneous pneumothorax . I’ve also had my gallbladder removed. The lung I’m told by my lung Dr has a lot of scar tissue due to the surgery and the talc they use to tack it up. Removing any of that scar tissue will only make it come back larger. I have a nodule that is slightly displacing one rib. But they can’t cut it because he said it would make it worse. So my question that in hoping for an answer is, when my gallbladder got taken and the lung surgery done, I have this reoccurring pain and pressure feeling under my right breast and above where my gallbladder was. Could this n be a wad of scar tissue? It’s annoying and painful.

    • Hello Rebecca,

      Could be. Make sure to read my blog category on Inflammation over at my Doctor Schierling site. I have about 4-5 recent articles on the link between Inflammation and Fibrosis (Scar Tissue).

      Dr. Russ

  26. Caryn

    suffering terribly pulling pastey feeling througout my vaginal area pelvis and groin,been through every tesdy all normal,,,had hip surgery 2 yrs ago,,,i am at my wits end,,,,they tell me it is in my head,,,,

  27. Stacy

    Hello, i am anxious to learn about scar tissue. I have had 5 hand/middle finger surgeries in the last 6 months due to mrsa infection. I am in constant pain when I extend my fingers. feels like something is pulling in the palm of my hand. My motion isn’t very well but still in PT. could the pain be scar tissue? and when is it okay to have scar tissue removal?

  28. Gina

    i had gastric bypass 11 years ago and lost about 120lbs. I had a full body lift (with a brazilian butt lift) to remove my excess skin about 7 years ago. I developed a giant ball of scar tissue (about the size of a baseball) inside on top of my right butt cheek right below my lower back. little by little i would experience pain. i could never have anyone massage me by that area because then i would be in pain for weeks after. over the past month and half i have been in an extreme amount of pain from it. and it is even causing siatic nerve pain. i keep going to different doctors and they keep telling me it is not hitting my siatic nerve but i know it is. it is my body i can feel it touching it. i don’t know what to do i can’t live in this pain anymore. i just want this scar tissue out of me. please help me. i am in recovery for almost 5 years as well so i am not taking any pain meds for this horrific pain.

    • Hello Gina,

      Not sure what is going on here, but this sounds like a medical problem — something you should talk to our doctor about. It sounds like something that might require surgery — not something I could help you with.

      Dr. Russ

  29. George

    Hello. I am a 45 year old male and have been living with extreme pain for the last 6 months. I have massive scaring on my left thigh from numerous injuries including 3 surgical procedures from a broken leg to place pins and rods from my knee to my hip. I had all these removed after a year to maintain my military status. All of these injuries and surgical procedures took place between the age of 15 through the age of 18 and have been to the same area. The scar is about 7″ long and 2″ wide at top narrowing down to a little less than an inch. About 1″ above the top at the widest point, there feels like a hard ball just under the skin. Touching this “hard ball” will make my entire leg go numb and feels almost like the pain and sensation as if you hit your funny bone in your elbow. Except it’s my entire leg including the toes. I have been to several Doctors and numerous visits to the ER due to pain. I started of with 1 Doctor who recommended I see another Doctor who recommend I see another…and so on and so on. All the Doctors have been doing their best to maintain the level of pain by prescribing strong pain medicine (OXYCODONE) and medications to control nerves (Gabapentin). They also have ordered MRI’s on lower back and hip, Cortisone shots, Epidural Flush, Bone Density test, Nerve tests, EKG,…… All the while I keep telling them about my scar being the root of the pain. I seen a Doctor on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015. I’m all out of pain medicine. The pain is so great that I can hardly walk, but I pace the floor when I’m in tremendous pain. So there I was hobbling back and forth this Doctor’s examination room. His statement was that my pain is more acting than reality. He went on explaining that “with all the test so far look good, that in his opinion, there’s no way I can be feeling that much pain from scar tissue”. “It’s just not medically reasonable.” To say the least I was upset, but more importantly, I was crushed. Lost in a sea of pain and hopelessness.
    Please understand that I do not like taking medication. I do not want to be on any medication. I want to be normal again. The medicine I do take is just to help me get by. My main goal is to get the pain under control or eliminated naturally or medically. I just want my life back.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hello George,

      Scar Tissue is a big deal. Head over to my Doctor Schierling dot com site and look up my article “SCAR TISSUE
      WHAT IS IT AND WHY IS IT A PROBLEM?” It sounds like you may have some sort of nerve entrapment in said Scar Tissue, which is not terribly uncommon. By the way, you just described the Medical Merry-go-Round that most patients ride prior to finding a solution. You’re going to need to find someone to physically work on that scar (or do it yourself) and see if breaking it up a bit will help you.

      Dr. Russ

    • Marilyn

      Hello, my name is Marilyn and I think I understand what you are going through. I cannot recommend anything to you because I’m just like you, in the process of seeking help from my doctor. I am 57. When I was 11 years old, I had a large mole removed from my left let that would have been labeled cancer by today’s standards. The mole was very deep, a lot deeper than they expected it to be. I have a 7 inch scar on my leg (thigh) that looks like a bolt of lightening because they had to make many incisions to remove the mole. After the surgery, my leg actually “sunk in”. Have you ever watched the TV show “House” about the doctor who had the muscle removed from his thigh? That’s how I feel. About 10 years ago I started with numbness going from my knee up my thigh. It did not hurt, but my leg would go numb from the knee up. The numbness would go away when I sat down and for a few seconds it would feel like pins and needles. Over the years, this got a little worse. I went to a couple of specialists who told me that over the years, due to scar tissue, I was having more problems with numbness and pain. I was told the scar tissue that had built up over the years was compressing on the nerves causing them to not function correctly. I was put on Gabapentin (I’m sure I spelled this wrong) which is for nerve pain. As time went on and things got worse, they added Vicodin. Now, neither medication really helps me and recently I’ve been in a great deal of pain with it now moving further up and around to to very top of my left leg and going into my lower butt area on the left side and a little into my lower back. I’m not really sure if the back problem is because of how I walk or not. Even going to the grocery store exhausts my leg and it’s killing me by the time I’m finished with my shopping. Just like you, the medications are just helping me get by and I mean barely get by. I’m not sure what is next, but you have my prayers because I think your situation is similar to my own. If I can give you any good news after I consult my doctor/doctors, I will let you know.

      Sincerely and with Prayers,


  30. Pam

    I had surgery for a 1st metatarsal repair and akin procedure 9 months ago and my screws and plate pretude out my skin in a lumpy format, also they rub on everything which makes it very painful. My surgeon has said he is to remove them sometime this year but all of a sudden I have got extra sensitivity sharp electrical sensation on touch to anything from socks to tights along my scared area, could you explain the reasons behind this please and will removing my screwsand plate make it improve?

  31. dee p

    Dr Russell, I have a complex history I developed debilitating sciatica through my left leg Nov 2012 &had a microdisectomy Feb 2013 L5-S1 which 80% improved the sciatica but mismanagement of pain relief sent my nervous system haywire, I lost coordination of my legs which shook and I was barely able to walk with a frame. I was 32. After 2 years of rehab I’ve “retrained” my brain to walk with a cane however I’m left in chronic lower back pain and am allergic to NSAIDS but take multiple strong pain relief/nerve meds. Is there anything I can do to reduce my pain? Also at Xmas my appendix ruptured which I had removed. I fell 2 weeks ago and tore muscles under my ribs I then got a virus so the muscles are only just galling then today i bent sharply and my osteo says I tore the scar tissue from the appendectomy. I’m in agony and unable to sit up or laugh. Any help on dealing with this including verification it is what he says or any of my other matters would be greatly appreciated! Thank you

  32. Merissa

    Dr. Russell,

    I called around to find a Chiropractor and was told they dont do what I need done. I was told I need a Rolfer. I was also told my insurance wont cover massage and I cant afford to pay for it myself. Devastated I called back my doctors office and begged my doctor to get me into the surgery sooner. The thought of being in this much pain is more than I can handle. Im going to have the laparascopy surgery done next week. I just hope I dont need a hysterectomy. He said it was a possibilty but for me its not. I still want to have one more child if I find the right man and get re married. I am so nervous. I just cant take the pain anymore. I really appreciate all your advice. I may still need massage if it comes down to a hysterectomy. I just hope their is some pain relief if I need time to save up to afford it. Thank you again for all your help and time.

  33. Merissa

    Dr. Russell,

    I had a sonogram and everything looked good. My Doctor said that he believes it is scar tissue or possibly adhesions since the pain is so bad. If you think tissue massage will work, I am going to give that a try. I’m glad there is another approach besides surgery. Thank you so much for responding and caring enough to help people. You have a good heart. I wish you the very best! Thank you again!!

    • Although I have occasionally seen issue with massage due to roughness that could only be characterized as brutality, even intense body-work, when done properly, really only has an upside. Try it and see what happens. The problem with surgery to deal with adhesions is that it causes more adhesions. Make sure you go over to Doctor Schierling dot com and check out my blog posts on the relationship between Inflammation and Fibrosis (the medical word for Scar Tissue).

      Dr. Russ

  34. Merissa

    Dear Dr. Russell Schierling,

    I was reading through your articles that were very informative. I am a single mom with 3 kids and the past few months I have been having horrible pain. I am having horribly severe pain and pressure. It feels like I am sitting on my bowels. The pressure is so intense. Nothing seems to relieve it. Pain medication masks some of it and makes it more tolerable. I had three C-sections and went to the Ob/Gyn. He thinks it is scar tissue. You said that by trying to fix it that they create more. How can I help this? Do you have any ideas? Does it sound like it could really be scar tissue? I don’t want to cause myself more problems and really do need to be able to work. It is really limiting my life. If you have any suggestions please let me know? I really appreciate your time. I know you are really busy, I am just scared of making the wrong decision and can’t stand this pain anymore. The doctor has me scheduled for surgery in two months. I don’t think I can stand anymore pain or being stuck on pain killers for another two months. I really just want to be out of pain. Any help is really appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hello Merissa,

      Your doctor might mean that the problem is due to something like Endometiosis. There is actually brand new evidence showing that a Gluten-Free Diet helps the majority of you dealing with this problem. If the problem is Post-Surgical Scar Tissue caused by the incision, this can often be helped via massage, Tissue Remodeling, etc.

      Dr. Russ

  35. Kimberly

    Thank you for this information. In 2008 I had laproscopic surgery on my knee. It was funny feeling afterwards, the surgeon said there was nerve damage because if you scratched one area you felt it in another. And there were spots I felt nothing (right around the incision sites). Now, 7 years later, I am feeling an intense burning where before there was no feeling.

    • Hello Kimberly,

      As you have read, Scar Tissue is different from normal tissue in a wide variety of ways. Make sure to head over to my Doctor Schierling site and read the article, “Knee Surgery Causes Knee Arthritis”

      Dr. Russ

  36. Mallori

    Hello! In Nov. 2012 I was in a go cart accident and my arm didn’t break but a lot of damage was done. I have a clump of scar tissue (that I think it is) above my elbow for years. It’s always been uncomfortable for people to touch it or to bang it up against a wall. But yesterday I got 2 shots, one in my right arm and one in my left. My left arm is fine, but my right arm is not. The doctor put the shot literally right above the scar tissue and she even said “the needle doesn’t wanna go in” but just continued to push it in. Today my arm is swollen and red around the puncture. It is very sensitive. I really don’t know what’s going on.. Can you explain possibly if it even has anything to do with the scar tissue?

    • Hello Mallori,

      Scar Tissue is tough, dense, tissue. Every question will be answered if you head over to my site and read the Chronic Pain page and Fascia page — both on the top menu.

      Dr. Russ

  37. April

    I had 4 c sections, I’m I’m severe pain, all I can think about is the pain, is burning so bad and shooting pain like lightening I take lots of nsaids and they don’t help at all, what can help me??? Doc won’t take it out, feel so helpless all the time

  38. Monica Scott

    In 2010 I fell off my bike and bashed the ribs on my left side. They healed in about 6 weeks. In 2011 I had a WLE, cavity shave and radiotherapy on the same side due to breast cancer, and was left with a big area of scar tissue. On Jan 24th I injured my ribs again, and they aren’t healing well. I assume that’s because of the first accident, the cancer and radio. It’s 9 weeks and I’m still in pain, but today a new pain started, more like a nerve pain, sporadic painful twinges. I think it’s because I drove my car yesterday and put strain on the scar tissue. Does this make sense? Any advice you can give would be welcome.

    • Hello Monica,

      It certainly does make sense. I would suggest that you start by looking at these two posts (HERE & HERE).

      Dr. Russ

      • Monica Scott

        Hi Dr Russ
        Thank you for your reply. I’ve just spent about 2 hours on your site – information overload! I think I’ve learned a lot but I’m not sure how to proceed. I’m going to my doctor on Monday, and I’m going for a bone density scan to check how much damage the radio has done to the ribs. Hopefully I will know more after that. I haven’t been going to my yoga classes because of the rib injury, and am stiffening up, but I’m trying a few gentle stretches. I’m already taking calcium, magnesium, Vit D, O3 and turmeric. Not sure what else I can do except wait. I have a friend suffering from fascitis in her foot and will pass your website info to her.
        Thanks again, Monica

      • Hello Monica,

        THIS POST on Osteoporosis might be of interest to you.

        Dr. Russ

  39. Cheryl

    I had a 2nd surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.I do have a winging scapula.
    Because the long thoracic nerve was damaged in surgery. I wake up every morning and my chest is tight and sore. I have a hard time taking my first deep breath because of this. Its like i have to stretch everything in there. I also have a problem with sudden braathlesness when i lift my arm up like to try and fix my hair. It is the surgery side and i cant lift it all the way. This breathing problem is also when i bend over. It doesnt last long i just have to take a deep breath most of the time and then im fine. I have swelling on that side also. The surgery was in october.
    Can this all b from scar tissue already? He actualy cleaned alot out during the surgery and said it was hard like cartilage. If its scar tissue what can i do?

    • Hello Cheryl,

      I have actually seen several cases of TOS SURGERY causing all kinds of (debilitating) Scar Tissue. Watch my blog because I have someone coming tomorrow morning from Dallas for a second treatment and I think there might be a video to show. If so, will be up over the weekend or early next week.

      Dr. Russ

  40. Beck

    I had minor surgery couple of years ago for abscess in rectum area that got infection and had to be drained. Now scar tissue flares up and get puffy and is very bothersome ( i am assuming). This is normal???
    I had told Dr. great now I can get back to walking and he said the scar tissue will be painful?

    • Hello Beck,

      Scar Tissue can be extremely pain sensitive. If you search my Doctor Schierling site, you’ll see the research that shows Scar Tissue can be over 1,000 times more pain-sensitive than normal tissue.

      Dr. Russ

  41. Lisa

    I had bladder surgery in 1967 at the age of 6. I never had any problems until about 10 years ago. I was at work and had lift some very heavy objects in an awkward way. Gradually I started having pain in my abdomen. It got so bad I could barely stand up. I actually passed out a couple of times. The doctor said it was from the pain. The pain lasted for about 8 months. The doctor could not figure out what was wrong with me. It happened again about 2 years ago from lifting something. Now, I don’t lift anything over about 15 pounds and I’ve been okay until a couple of weeks ago. I was doing some yard work and was pulling some weeds and now the pain is back. I believe it is scar tissue or adhesions but everything I read sounds like most people have the pain all the time and it’s not related to doing anything, like lifting. Could this be scar tissue? And what can be done about it?

    • Hello Lisa,

      It certainly could be scar tissue and sounds to me likely. The only real question is where is it coming from. If it’s an abdominal fascial thing, it would be very treatable (several articles on this topic at my Doctor Schierling dot com site). However, if the problem is scarring around the bladder itself, I’m not really sure how to go about solving that.

      Dr. Russ

  42. Jan

    I am 34yo female that had a C-section and tubal ligation 10yrs ago and 3yrs ago I had a partial myomectomy. At my pubic line there is scar tissue that I have a lot of pain during my menstruation, lower abdominal exercises, and some pain after sex. I take ibuprofen a lot during the day and still have pain. I have tried to talk to my gyn and pcp but to avail am I getting close to an answer or anything else… please help with questions I maybe not asking.

  43. Shanett Gaston

    I am a mommy that live in Houston, Tx. that had an emergency c-section 14 year ago, and over the year I have been having serve pain from the scar tissue. I can say over the last 6 year I have been in so much bad pain, that I have to take 2 aleve in the morning time when I wake up ( not wash my face or brush my teeth etc. but take the pill first) and 2 at night and sometime 1 800mg. ibp. I know that it is not good to doing this because I can cause me to have kidney problem, stomach problem in the long run, however this is the only way I am able to function daily. I have been told to lose weight in my stomach, which I did, but that didn’t help. I have been to doctors and had ultra sound(s), which they have told me that it was serve scar tissue, and I might need to check into getting it remove by a plastic surgery. If it was possible financial wise I would do it, but I’m not able too. but I have good insurance but that is consider to be cosmetic. I am having a hard time finding a doctor that specialize in OB/GYN scar tissue. I need help!!!!!!!!!!!Please give me some good advise on what I should do, because I’m so tried of hurting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. markbeekmans

    Very helpful this site. I appreciate it very much. Nothing worse than to live with pain and unfortunately (too) many people have to suffer that burden. Like my mother after a total hip replacement. Her scar is so centavo that you can nearly touch it and she has to protect or cover it with special tissues just to bear the clothing on it. Obviously she can´t have any pressure on it, not sit or lie on it. Very frustrating since no one seems to be able to diagnose her correctly let alone help her.

    I´d like to ask (sorry if the answer is somewhere on your site) if the scar tissue is seen on some scan (MRI maybe). the size of it and if it is deforming any surrounding nerves? If any nerves are blocked or restrained from the scar tissue? How is it diagnosed?

    Thanks in advance.
    Mark Beekmans

  45. Stephanie Gorham

    I had a bunionectomy a year ago on my left foot. The scar is still very sensitive and painful to even the lightest touch. I use a topical compound on it that the podiatrist prescribed but it only lasts a few hours. What is your opinion as to what might relieve my pain. It is clearly nerve pain attached to the scar.

  46. Michele

    I had open heart surgery and 3 ports in my right side of my chest and I have so much pain they say its scar tissue that im having in my right breast.. All they doing for me is givin me Flexeril. Nothing seems to work.. the pain is unbearable. at times.. can this really be scar tisssue

  47. renaecummings

    Very interesting and informative reading! My daughter (24) has been dealing with (undiagnosed) chronic lower back for nearly 6 years. MRI’s and CT’s reveal a degenerative disc and a bit of arthritis, but “not to the extent that it should be causing this much pain” and definitely not severe enough to warrant disc surgery. She has had no specific injuries to her back. She has tried multiple PT’s with various treatment philosophies, chiropractor, steroid injections, oral and topical pain medications and muscle relaxers…the list goes on. Some have offered short term pain relief (only hours) but nothing helps long term, and nothing gets to the root of the problem, which no one has been able to diagnose. In the last three months her pain has escalated so that she can’t work and not even the strongest pain meds offer any relief. We have asked repeatedly about scar tissue and we always get the same dead-end response, “It’s possible.” No one (except one PT who tried massaging the areas because she said there was SO much scar tissue there) has elaborated on, pursued, or suggested how to deal with this “possible” issue. My daughter’s 6 abdominal scars and 3 lower back scars are from surgeries occurring when she was1-9 years of age. She is extremely frustrated and losing hope that someone can find what is wrong with her and/or reduce her pain so that she can return to her normal activities/life and function on a daily basis.

  48. Matthew Roos

    Hello, I am interested in learning all I can about scar tissue. I am a chronic pain suffer from Adhesive Arachnoiditis from ether several SCI’s or from 4 back surgeries. I am not concerned with how, why or when I developed Arachnoiditis or who maybe responsible for it because I ultimately am.
    I know that it is scar tissue trapping and in tangled the nerves in my lower spine L4-S1 where I am also fused. I have constant pain with shooting sharp pain in my left leg lower back to toes and lower back to knee right leg.
    I have been told my body forms more than average scar tissue, based on what I don’t know.
    I guess what I am wanting to know is… does the scar tissue inside of my lower back possibility continue to grow or can everyday activities cause stretching and tearing of the scar tissue causing more scaring ??

    • Hello Matthew,

      I just had a similar conversation in the office yesterday. I do believe that some people are not only more injury prone than others because of differences in Connective Tissue. I also know that everyone heals differently. As to what is going on in your particular situation, it would be tough to venture a guess. Were I you I would definitely look into COLD LASER THERAPY.

      Dr. Russ

  49. Rosanne

    Dear Dr. Russ,

    I had a hysterectomy 4 weeks ago and everything related to the procedure is healing well, However on the left side of my groin I have been receiving numbness, soreness and most importantly a very sharp localized pain in the area. My doctor said that it is deferred pain from scar tissue resting or growing around a nerve. Can you tell me if this pain will go away once I have been fully healed, will it take longer to heal or is this something that I will have to live with for a very long time (or the rest of my life)? Is there a solution for this problem?


  50. Mary Strong-Spaid

    Interesting. I am told I have interstitial cystitis. Lots of scarring on inner bladder wall. No one seems to know exactly what caused it. Doctor wants to do a “hydrodistention” to break the scars and bring the bladder back to a more normal (larger) size. I am afraid to let the doctor do this, because it doesn’t make sense to me. If scars are forcibly broken open, when it heals…won’t it make even bigger scars?

  51. Carolyn Smits

    I have been reading that scar tissue can be 1000 times more sensitive to pain than normal tissue. Causing Supersensivity to pain. My 40yr old partner has had 3 operations on his hip. The last one was a Tendon Release. He’s now in more pain than ever & unable to sit, stand or walk for more than 20mins. His surgeon now thinks he has nerve damage – Can any thing be done to help him ?

  52. Laural

    Hi; I know of this tissue first hand. I had received 5 c-sections in my life. When I had my second c-section the old scar was removed and I had no problems. But on my third, fourth and fifth they never removed the old scars. They had cut along my “fold” as well. I ended up with three scars at different angles that crossed over each other. Periodically I would have such intense pain in one specific spot that it would cause me to double over in a fetal position until it would subside. It had nothing to do with any certain movement or anything it would just do it without warning.
    When i would go in to talk about this problem with my doctor they would always assume I was just trying to get a tummy tuck… so the doctor finally said I will do a scar revision but I will not do a tummy tuck. I said I don’t care about that just make the pain stop.
    I went in for the surgery (I was to be awake and given drugs to relax me and they used lidocaine injections around the site to numb it. With a laser knife they began cutting away the tissue. Everything was fine until they reach that spot where the pain would be. I felt EVERYTHING. He tried to numb me again and it did not work. I felt every cut in that area. It was the worst pain I had ever felt in my life.
    I know that some military wives would go in and make bogus claims in order to receive plastic surgeries but they should never assume that everyone is lying. I am now experiencing the pain again but I am scared to even discuss it with my doctor. I do not want a repeat of what happened.
    What is this type of scar tissue called? Since I am creating it in my outer scars could there be some of this tissue inside as well causing the pains I feel so deeply? (I have also had 2 laparoscopic procedures, a nephrectomy and a nephropexy).

  53. Nicholas Henchal

    Dr. Schierling, Could scar tissue cause extremely high values on a nerve conduction study test? I saw that you mentioned pain impulses could travel faster, could general electrical impulses be carried faster as well?

  54. Reial

    Well we have been dealing with our daughters issue of pain due to an injury to her foot over 2 years ago. The razor sharp edge of a cafe table sliced down and through just shy of the bone in her pinky toe,removing a small chunk of flesh. We took her to urgent care but they could not stitch it up because they said there was not enough flesh to close it, so we would have to wait for it to heal with new skin.
    Well she has had swelling every since and pain in her foot, ankle, knees, hips and even back. She has been going to Chiropractor, DPM, PT and nothing seem to make this go away. If she stand for more than an hour there is swelling and pain.
    We have bought custom orthotics,tons of compression socks, she has taken water pills, takes ibuprofen, she goes to PT and see an LMT. We even took her to a vascular surgeon and they did the venogram and they could not find the cause of the swelling. He gave us a loose answer that it may be lymphedema or secondary lymphedema, but he was not sure. We are so irritated because one doctor says it could be May Thurner Syndrome but a very mild case. It’s like every one is guessing and know one understands the pathology of the injury. This happened on her 20th birthday and she never ever had a history of swelling prior to this.
    But even if she did have any of the above diagnosis via hereditary placement, would she be at higher risk of having increased swelling and slower healing?
    The area on the top of her toe is hard as a stone. I think that may be scar tissue that is pressuring her nerves and maybe blocking the blood flow. The store and manufacture of the table stated that her injury could not be causing her problems. So we have had to pay for all of her treatments. They did offer us a $50 in store gift card. We just want her to be able to fix this issue so she can lead a normal life.
    Most doctors are not into the holistic aspect nor pathology of a condition. It is all about, surgery or drug treatment.

    • Wow, how generous. A $50 certificate. Honestly Reial, it is tough to tell you anything about this without looking at her, but it certainly could be scar tissue blocking neuro / vascular tissues. Cold Laser or Tissue Remodeling would be good ways to go if this is the case.

      • Reial

        Thank you for your direction this will help us present some alternatives to her doctors. Everyone is stumped and we just want to see if we can stop the swelling.

  55. jOEY


  56. Tom

    I thought scar tissue didn’t have nerves in it and was numb. Where can I read about this super sensitivity scar tissue has?

    • Hello Tom,

      You are very correct that Scar Tissue can be numb or present with other paresthesias. Most of the time, these are from visible scars that are caused by injuries, accidents, or even burns. Sometimes, however, the Scar Tissue is super-sensitive. Although I do not see severe cases of this on a daily basis, they are more common than you think. Look at JILL’S RECENT TESTIMONIAL. She could literally not stand to be touched or she would be in severe pain for 2-3 days. There is lots and lots of information in the scientific literature about this. The first time I heard of it was from the venerable Dr. Dan Murphy —- one of the world’s foremost experts on whiplash injuries.

  57. This is good information if it’s true and I believe it is. However, it’s not about me, but about a friend who had a breast reconstruction operation because of breast cancer. The cancer is gone but the pain from the operation began about a year after the operation. The scar tissue is terrible and sits against her chest wall against her right rib cage. I saw it and was shocked. It’s like a cluster of scars impacting one another in something resembling a skewed target and flat against bone. She was given Oxycontin for several years and the pain got no better and scared her until she was finally taking 360 Oxycondone a month, 15 mgs per pill plus 120 Morphine at 60 mgs per pill. She wasn’t getting better and the pain wasn’t going away until finally the reduction in drugs which Washington State insists upon was worse than the chest wall pain. Your article gives her hope and she was amazed. I thought an operation to remove much of the scar tissue and somehow integrating health tissue into the operation, but that would take a true medical artist, obviously the plastic surgeon who did the initial operation was more a butcher than an one who practiced medical arts.

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