Yesterday I had a long and very enlightening discussion with an experienced massage therapist. We talked about the plastic wrap sensation I have in my back still. He explained to me that after surgery sometimes adhesions form in the connective of fascia tissue.
An adhesion is a band of scar tissue that binds two parts of your tissue together. They should remain separate. Adhesions may appear as thin sheets of tissue similar to plastic wrap or as thick fibrous bands. The tissue develops when the body’s repair mechanisms respond to any tissue disturbance, such as surgery, infection, trauma, or radiation.
The massage therapist explained that he had dealt with adhesions before and they appear as described above: cable-like or thin sheets like mine. He talked about a deep tissue massage technique that is used with great success. it is called cross fiber friction massage.
In this technique the fascia, a strong connective tissue which performs a number of functions, including enveloping and isolating the muscles of the body, providing structural support and protection is manipulated in order to break up the adhesions.
Cross-fiber friction involves doing transverse movements to the connective tissues, like tendons and ligaments, in order to loosen up their fibers.This can be performed by opposing thumbs or the heal of the hand, especially on the iliotibial band, a band of muscle in the thigh.
So basically a trained massage therapist uses deep tissue massage going across the grain of the adhesions in order to break them up. This takes quite a few sessions. According to an article in Massage and Bodyworks Magazine, the therapist should keep your pain level at around a 6 on the 1-10 pain scale for 20-30 minutes per session.
The therapist I spoke to explained that yes, it IS uncomfortable and there is a great deal of deep breathing involved in a session. But once the adhesions are broken down it is easier for your body to heal. You will have better range of motion and, best of all, no more plastic wrap feeling!
Because the therapist I spoke to is so far away, I’m going to look into finding someone close by who has the experience to handle this. But before I go, I’m going to call Dr. Elliott’s office and talk to his nurse, Patti. I want a medical opinion on this before I go and do something that may cause me more harm than good.
As usual, I’ll let you all know how it goes.