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Scar Desensitization Physiotherapy And Hand Therapy

Scar desensitization is one of the sub-treatment modalities that our senior physiotherapists and hand therapists do for scar treatment and management, and is closely related with scar sensory re-education.

Scar desensitization refers typically to decreasing scar hypersensitivity; whereas sensory re-education is moreso to normalizing abnormal sensory perception.

What happens is with any injuries or surgical procedures, there is almost always scarring (scarring being a normal bodily healing process). With any surgery and incision, there is always superficial nerve ends that can be damaged, causing hypersensitivity and abnormal sensation - even mild brushes against cloth fibers or even accidentally scratching the scar can cause very sharp, jolting pain that lasts a split-second.

When the wounds heal and scar forms for the first time, the early scars can be very soft and pliable. However, as scar matures over time, the scar tissues may thicken and toughen due to more and more collagen fibers that are deposited in the wound / surgical site.

These collagen fibers are very strong and secure the healed wound, and that's great but there will be two scar-related superficial issues:

  1. hypersensitive scarring which cause abnormal pain to light touch, pressure, temperature etc
  2. one-wound-one-scar phenomenon, where the scar tightens up so much that it impedes or blocks movement

What our senior physiotherapists and senior hand therapists will do is to do targeted scar massage and management techniques that though a little uncomfortable, it will result in

  1. increasing the scar flexibility
  2. increasing the scar pliability
  3. increasing smoothness / quality of movement
  4. increasing range of motion
  5. decrease hypersensitivity
  6. decrease the visibility and height of the scar

scar desensitization home exercises

  1. Scar Massage:

    Using a thick Dermefface scar removal cream lotion, apply circular and criss-cross massaging pressure to the scar in a firm motion for 5 minutes each session, at least 3 times a day.

  2. How To Decrease Scar Hypersensitivity:

    a. Start by just tapping the length of the scar with your fingers.
    b. Then start introducing more gentle but firm painful surfaces to the scar length, such as finger nails, combs, table edge, etc - be careful NOT to break the skin. The goal is to gradually expose the hypersensitive scar to more and different textures and sensations to the scar to normalize the pain experience.

  3. See Our Senior Physiotherapists And Hand Therapists

    It sometimes seem uncertain and scary but once the injured parts are medically stable, getting to our senior physiotherapists and hand therapists to start your rehabilitation process will start you to move your injured joints and body parts as soon as possible, as well as deal with the scarring and pain.

    This will accelerate your recovery process, and get you back to life, work and play as soon as you can.

  4. Start Using Your Injured Limbs More

    Yes, it may be painful uncomfortable, stiff and even painful as you first start to move the healed and stiffed parts, but frankly the more you use your injured parts (once the injuries is medically stable, our senior physiotherapists and hand therapists will inform you), the faster you will get better.