After an injury such as a back sprain or strain, the injured ligaments, tendons, and muscles that connect to the spine are repaired by the body with tissue called scar tissue that is less flexible and more rigid than the normal tissue that existed previously. Without proper rehabilitation to restore flexibility, the tissue will remain contracted with less flexibility putting abnormal stress on the injured side of the spinal column. Because of this unilateral stress on the spinal column, problems such as spinal arthritis and disc degeneration will occur.
Scar tissue. Adhesion. Fibrosis. The words are different, but the concepts are the same. This dense, fibrous tissue is an underlying factor in many injuries. Scar tissue binds up tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker. Tension on tendons causes tendinosis. Nerves can become trapped. Ligaments become less flexible and constricted. All these problems can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain as well as tingling, numbness, and weakness. When these problems occur in the soft tissue, (muscles, tendons, and ligaments), it also adversely affects the joints these soft tissues are connected to such as spinal joints, sacroiliac joints, knees, ankles, wrists, etc.
Scar tissue forms two different ways. First, if a muscle, tendon, or ligament is torn or crushed, the body creates scar tissue to 'glue' the torn pieces together. This is a necessary part of the healing process. The second, more common way for scar tissue to form is by soft tissue in the body not receiving enough oxygen (hypoxia) and nutrients. Hypoxia is more common than one may think. Poor posture, athletic pursuits, repeated use, and sustained pressure (as in sitting) all increase muscle tension and result in hypoxic conditions. When muscle tension is increased, blood supply to the area is reduced. A healthy blood flow is so important because blood carries oxygen and nutrients to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Left unchecked, soft tissue scar tissue will eventually lead to spinal & other joint arthritis.