At Starting Point, Dr. Heintze uses an integrative medicine approach to treat scars. Read more below about common treatment options.
Have painful scars? Consider Scar Therapy Treatments
Many of us have had a scar develop at some point in our lives. From a fall, sports injury, surgery, skin biopsy, or burn.
Scar tissue results after deep trauma, such as from surgery, burns. Interestingly to note, about 75 million people develop scars after surgery. Not all people experience pain in or around their scar but some found over time they may have distal pain develop, numbness or adhesions appear around the scar, or the scar changes color.
What are the current treatment for scars:
Current treatment for painful scars include corticosteroid injections, surgical manipulation, and radiotherapy. However, these may only provide temporary relief and in some cases provide more harm than good.
What are common types of scars?
Commonly, people experience residual scar pain or elect to reduce the appearance of their scars. These include:
- Surgical scars from knee surgery, hip replacement surgery, elbow and shoulder surgery, even scars along the spine from scoliosis and back surgery
- C-section scars
- Scars from trauma, cuts, and sports injuries
Theory behind scar pain
So, what really happens after surgery and when scars form?
Scar tissue may cause adhesions between layers of skin and connective tissue, resulting in disordered circulation around the scar and adjacent areas. If there is any abnormal or slow wound healing, this may also cause abnormal scars or keloid scars to develop. During normal wound healing, increase nerve density in and around the scar is normal to help repair/regenerate what was cut from the scar. Then as the wound is healing, the nerve density resumes to normal.
In some cases of people with chronically painful scars, they are found to have higher nerve density. This can in some cases lead to numbness around the scar, under the scar, and referred pain in areas adjacent to the scar. In addition, some people report pain in distal areas (not close to the scar) as being painful but the pain generator/origin of the pain maybe coming from the scar area.
How acupuncture and Scar Therapy Treatments can help
At Starting Point, Dr. Heintze uses an integrative medicine approach to treat scars. Common treatment options include acupuncture, cupping, and scar therapy injections. In some cases one or multiple modalities are used depending on the scar.
Acupuncture is used in the treatment of scar tissue in order to improve scar quality and reduce symptoms of pain and pruritus. Studies have shown that acupuncture may be used to reduce pain and reduce itchiness in abnormal scars. Scars treated with acupuncture showed improvement in thickness and color following treatment.
Benefits of scar injections
Other beneficial treatments includes what is called “neural therapy” which involves small injections of local anesthetics in and around the scar area. This has been reported to have a favorable effect on the painfulness of scars. One study stated, “The link between pain and inflammation has been described as “inflammatory reflex of the autonomic nervous system”. Interrupting this reflex with the injection of the anti-inflammatory local anesthetic procaine should help to restore the physiologic conditions of the tissue.”
If you have painful scars or looking to reduce the appearance of scars, contact our office at (425) 686-4498 to schedule your consult today with Dr. Heintze today!
Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Bothell, WA at her practice Starting Point Acupuncture. She is a pain specialist, seeing people who suffer from chronic pain, migraines, as well as digestive issues. Offering pain relief injections, acupuncture, facial rejuvenation, and nutrition consults. Most insurances accepted. Dr. Ellie Heintze is also the author of the book, A Starting Point Guide to Going Gluten-Free on Amazon.
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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc
- Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
- Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
- Master’s Degree in Chemistry
Northern Arizona University
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