What Are Adhesions?

Adhesions are the result of the NORMAL repair process by the body. When an injury, trauma or inflammation occurs, the body lays down collagen cross-links as part of the healing process, resulting in adhesions.

Fascia is the white, slippery connective tissue that creates an envelope around organs and muscles. It is comprised of collagen and elastin (what makes up the tensile and supportive function of skin) and ground substance, which is like a gelatinous material between these fibers. During the healing process, the ground substance dehydrates and shrivels up like a raisin, resulting in tightness or pulling similar to a straight jacket (are these still used?). Adhesions are fascial restrictions; think stiff knee after surgery or how a scar across a knuckle limits the range of motion at the joint.

The pelvis is unique with 35 muscles attaching to it, each wrapped in a layer of fascia, making it more susceptible to adhesions than any other part of the body. Adhesions are more common in females than males most likely due to monthly menstrual cycles and inflammation and in certain individuals with each person's unique genetic makeup of collagen and elastin. It is why some people develop wrinkles or stretch marks more than others. Since fascia is highly innervated (lots of pain fibers), adhesions can cause pain and dysfunction, often in a remote area.

The same fascia that surrounds the organs is continuous with the muscles in the abdomen, pelvis and legs, which is why adhesions can disrupt normal organ mobility and muscle function. In addition, we have learned from osteopaths that adhesions are more likely on the right side of the abdomen and can travel into the hip joint, disrupting range of motion and muscle function further. 

According to WebMD, 93% of abdominal and reproductive surgeries result in adhesions. This means having a "minimally invasive" laparoscopy can lead to problems later. Often problems develop over time as our body learns to compensate. What starts as a hip issue such as "piriformis sydrome" or hip bursitis can lead to pelvic floor tightness and fascial restrictions that disrupts normal urinary and bowel patterns, menstruation or intimacy. Adhesions will not disappear on their own and require a mechanical load or stretch on them to deform and stay loose, much like pulling apart salt water taffy.The good news is that adhesions are treatable!
Visceral Mobilization For Adhesions
Visceral mobilization is a type of myofascial release performed by specially trained and qualified providers, such as physical therapists. It involves mechanically loading the fascia around the organs, or viscera, until the restriction is free. At Healthy Core, we mobilize the fascia around the respiratory and pelvic diaphragm, renal fascia (kidneys), colon, small intestine, bladder, urethra, tailbone and deep pelvic cavity. The treatment is therapeutic and relaxing, initially creating a rub burn sensation followed by heat and improved blood flow to the involved area. The result is increased range of motion in the hips and spine, improved breathing patterns (deeper breathing capacity) and improved core muscle activation.

Who benefits from visceral mobilization? (practically everyone)
1. athletes or individuals who have fallen or jarred the pelvis
2. women or men who have had abdominal or reproductive surgeries
3. women with heavy menstrual cycles or menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
4. individuals with pelvic or hip pain
5. individuals with urinary frequency or nighttime voiding (nocturia)
6. women with painful penetration (dyspareunia)
7. individuals who spend prolonged periods of time sitting
8. individuals who struggle to take a deep breath or struggle with endurance due to a restriction in the diaphragm
Patient Testimonial
"Healthy Core offers personalized care from someone who's 'been there, done that' which makes her empathetic, patient and good at what she does. She applies to herself what she teaches and practices."
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Thank you from the CORE! Enjoy a pain-free summer!

Janine Laughlin, PT, Clinic Owner
Healthy Core Wellness & Rehab, LTD.
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