The medical term 'adhesions' refers to bands of scar tissue that form in the abdomen between organs, following surgery in the abdominal area.
They can develop following any type of pelvic surgery, from a C-section or cyst removal to exploratory laparoscopic procedures. The bands of fibrous tissues typically act as a scab and dissolve when they're no longer needed.
When they don't, pain and discomfort is significant. Physical therapy helps reduce pain and improve quality of life. The condition is common in women who have undergone a hysterectomy. The body's immune system tries to repair the damage, but the process makes the underlying problem worse. This is a challenging condition to diagnose, as the adhesions and symptoms may appear within a few weeks or even years after the surgery.
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Adhesions can cause mild to moderate pain and cannot be traced to a recent injury or surgical procedure, making them extremely difficult to diagnose.
They can mimic other conditions that include appendicitis. Some women may even shrug off symptoms, hoping that it's a 'passing pain' if discomfort is mild. The inability to render a quick diagnosis often causes anxiety, frustration and depression.
Therapeutic massage is an important, yet overlooked treatment for the condition. It is effective for pain relief, and helps loosens adhesions with more intense techniques. It is also used for rehabilitation if surgery is required. Massage increases circulation while accelerating the healing process. Clinical pilates and exercise programs are also effective and preferred by some individuals. Exercises are specifically designed to build strength in the core and pelvic floor, which eases pain and can alleviate the need for surgery in many instances.
Adhesions like this are a common complication of hysterectomies. Adhesions can also occur as a result of C-sections and interfere with future fertility. The adhesions bond together tissues and organs that are meant to exist separately. In fact, they are the most common causes of intestinal blockages and bowel obstructions, both of which can become life threatening.
Physical therapy can help to break down pelvic and abdominal adhesions and aid in increased mobility of the connective tissue and of the muscles. This in turn can decrease pelvic pain. It is also possible that this can help with infertility and bowel or bladder obstructions.
Physical therapy can provide an effective alternative to surgery that relieves pain and loosens adhesions without the use of medications. Massage and clinical pilates both have additional benefits, like aiding individuals to increase their fitness level and improving overall mood for a better quality of life.