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5 signs that you have scar tissue in your neck (and how PT can help you)

Scar Tissue In Neck
3 minutes, 23 seconds

Many people are used to seeing scars on their skin. From falling off the playground when you were a kid to sustaining a deep cut from broken glass, most people have a visible scar or two. But it’s actually possible to have scarring inside your body as well, like developing internal scar tissue. People with internal scar tissue can experience pain in many areas of the body, such as the neck. 

It’s incredibly common for people to experience neck pain from time to time. In fact, neck pain has an annual prevalence rate of up to 50%, with prevalence being higher in the female population than the male population. Chronic neck pain often comes from the formation of scar tissue.

Read on to learn the ins and outs of scar tissue, how it can form in the neck and potential signs of scar tissue in the neck that you should be aware of. We’ll also share information about physical therapy methods that can help your neck pain that’s caused by scar tissue.

The basics of scar tissue

Scar tissue refers to collagen and cells that create thick tissue to replace healthy tissue that has been damaged, and it can form for a variety of reasons. While some of these reasons cause exterior scar tissue that’s visible due to redness and inflammation, others cause internal scar tissue that isn’t always easy to identify.

Potential causes of scar tissue include:

  • Acne.
  • Insect bites.
  • Chickenpox.
  • Tattoos.
  • Piercing.
  • Surgery.
  • Injury.
  • Medical conditions.

How scar tissue can form in the neck

While surface scar tissue often stems from burns or scratching at chicken pox when you were a child, neck scar tissue normally forms due to reasons that don’t have visible symptoms. Internal scar tissue on the muscles, or fibrosis, will often form in your neck due to an injury or medical condition. 

Fibrosis can develop in your neck for a few reasons including:

  • Neck tendinitis.
  • Arthritis.
  • Whiplash.
  • Poor posture over a long period of time.

5 potential signs and symptoms of scar tissue in the neck

Most chronic neck pain can be attributed to scar tissue, but that can also be partnered with a variety of other symptoms. If you’re experiencing discomfort and decreased neck mobility, you should be aware of the symptoms that can signal scar tissue in your neck.

Here are five signs of scar tissue in the neck:

  • Persistent and worsening pain.
  • Sensitive to the touch.
  • Consistent tightness that limits your range of motion.
  • Headaches.
  • A neck crease due to poor posture.

3 physical therapy methods that can help neck pain caused by scar tissue

The neck pain that comes from scar tissue can make it difficult to do everyday tasks, like lifting your head to look for an item on a high shelf. Physical therapy can help you not only help separate the scar tissue, but it can also increase your neck’s overall mobility to prevent future injuries that could cause more scar tissue to form.

  1. Soft tissue mobilization — Manual therapy techniques can be very beneficial for helping reduce neck pain. Soft tissue mobilization refers to a physical therapist using their hands in massage-like movements on your neck, allowing them to find and break up scar tissue to release the tension.
  2. IASTM — Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization is a similar technique to soft tissue mobilization, as it also involves the physical therapist doing massage-like movements on your neck. But this technique includes the usage of contoured stainless steel rods. The tools not only break up the scar tissue, but they also help to stimulate blood circulation.
  3. Stretching exercises — One of the best ways to tackle neck pain is through safe and effective stretching exercises. A physical therapist can show you exercises that will increase the flexibility and mobility of your neck muscles. The stretches will also help reduce the risk of future injury.

Alliance PTP can connect you with a great physical therapy practice for scar tissue in your neck

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. 

Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you address scar tissue in your neck. 

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform. 

Come find help for your injury or chronic condition today!


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