Scarred for Life

on February 14, 2011 in Misc

Oh crap.

The ligament at the top of my left thigh is hurting again.

I just want this sucker to HEAL.    I want it to stop making painful twinges when I walk, sit down, exercise, stretch – hell, when I  MOVE my leg.

You know, this is a recurring problem for us physically active, wannabe action heroes:   REPEAT INJURIES and PAIN!

On Thursday I went to see my chiropractor.   It was my second visit in only a month and for the same problem – my right thigh was hurting and so was the ligament in my left leg.   I knew from experience what this meant:  my coccyx (a.k.a. tailbone) was once again out of whack.   In only a couple minutes the guy put it back in whack.   The pain vanished.   But now the ligament seems to be acting up on its lonesome.

WHY OH WHY, I wailed to the good doc, does my body keep breaking down in the same spot?  It’s because you’re over thirty-five, he explained.  When people in their teens or twenties have soft tissue injuries in, say, muscles or tendon or that ligament at the top of my thigh, the healing process is rapid.  Soft tissue will heal pretty much in the same pattern as the tissue and will still be able to stretch and move in the same direction. But when you’re older, healed soft tissue is scar tissue that looks like a plate of spaghetti – it’s a mess, which makes the area vulnerable to repeat injuries and it also now has lots of nerve endings, which makes the area more sensitive.

Granted, I’m only sloppily quoting my chiropractor.  But you get the idea.  If you have a weak or injured point in your body (and what action hero doesn’t?), as you get older that special little twinge can become a big pain.  So I looked up this whole scar tissue issue.  Here are a few facts:

  • Scar tissue is made from a tough, inflexible fibrous material that binds itself to the damaged soft tissue fibers in an effort to draw the damaged fibers back together.   This can result in a bulky mass of fibrous scar tissue that surrounds the injury site.
  • When scar tissue forms around an injury site, it is never as strong as the tissue it replaces.
  • It also can contract and deform the surrounding tissues; this diminishes the strength of the tissue and compromises its flexibility.
  • Untreated scar tissue is the major cause of re-injury.

Okay, now for some kinda good news:  apparently you can get rid of at least some scar tissue with treatments like a deep tissue sports massage.    I had something like that several years ago, and WOW did it hurt!   But I was better.    So maybe in the coming weeks when I can afford it I’ll book a session with some sports body sadist expert.

I let you know how it goes.   In the meantime, may your own body behave itself.

6 Responses to “Scarred for Life”

  1. Rich says:

    Pain, pain did you say?! Scar tissue aside, it’s all in your mind! What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve, including performance unhampered by pain. Remember that Bruce Lee movie quote (from Enter the Dragon), “We forge our bodies in the fire of our will!!”
    Hot Damn, I just got a paper cut!! OWWWWWWW! I’m too old to be handling paper! i think I gotta go….I’m bleeding….I’m about to pass out……….
    But first HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, my Love!!!!

  2. Helena says:

    Rich — Oh, suck it up about the paper cut! Make like Bruce Lee!
    And happy belated Valentine’s Day to you too, handsome.

  3. Hart says:

    Urgh! Sorry about the repeat injuries! And I’ve never thought about those BIG muscle injuries and scar tissue. About 2 years ago I broke a little bone in my hand and the PT was adament about massaging it to break down the scar tissue–said it was the only way to get back my range of motion… Makes me think I need someone to do my back daily for a while!

  4. Helena says:

    Hart — Getting a daily back massage sounds good. And a finger you can massage in public. But with me, we’re talking about that ligament at the top of my inner thigh. Definitely something to massage in private.

  5. Chet says:

    Hey, I stumbled upon your awesome blog while googeling the things i enjoy, I haven’t been able to just sit down and read it from beginning to end, but i do take time, read through a post between other things, treating it as my little island of relaxation and peace in an otherwise active and packed day.

    I find myself picking through a few locks, gazing and reading as i listen to something relaxing, enjoying your writing, pushing “The Compass Novel” and “Layla Daltry” through google time and time again hoping to find a way to email and just say i think you, and your work are both awesome.

    I’m hoping things are looking better to you than they were two days ago, and no matter how the world can be at times, what it throws at you, how hard or easy something can be never give up, the things you apply yourself to are well worth your time, and you’re doing something that many people would love to do but could never even start on the path of due to so many reasons ranging from self doubt to complacency.

    I’m guessing you’ll see my email when you approve/deny this post, and if so i’m hoping we can talk as you continue being a BAMF =P

    Take care, and always the best of wishes,
    Chet.

  6. Helena says:

    Chet — Welcome! Things are definitely looking better now for me. Sounds as if your days are as busy and hectic as mine., and like me you simply try to relax whenever you can.