Massage Therapy for Pain Relief from Scars

Last week we wrote generally about how sports massage therapy can help football players, stating that regular massage can help keep players fresh during long periods of training, as well as help players avoid or manage their injuries. Yet another way massage therapy can help all athletes – and especially football players – is in its ability to treat pain associated with scars.

Of course, everyone has the potential of receiving a scar, although football players have a higher probability of getting one due to the high number of surgeries associated with such a violent sport. Any kind of scar – even planned ones associated with medical procedures – have the potential to disrupt the body’s alignment and muscle movement, which can lead to inflexibility and pain.

A great example of the pain associated with scars, and how massage therapy can help, comes from the Winter, 2010 issue of the Massage Therapy Journal, in which a therapist from Daytona Beach, FL is profiled (Relieving the Pain of Scars). The article details a client who had a liver transplant with a scar that was affecting his back muscles, causing tightness and pain.

Through a methodical application of massage therapy that featured deep friction in muscle groups both surrounding the scar (under the client’s ribs) and on the client’s back, the therapist was able to provide pain relief in the first session. After the second session, the client reported being completely pain-free, and only ended up seeing the therapist a total of six times. He now comes in only infrequently for maintenance work.

What’s more amazing is that this client had been on medication for years and had even tried physical therapy for a few months, without much result from either. In this case, massage therapy proved more effective than medication at relieving the cause of the client’s pain, not just treating the symptoms causing the pain. Another reason why massage therapy is helpful for football players or anyone dealing with scars and the pain that can accompany them.

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