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Scar pain: cause and therapy

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 458 views

Scar pain is noticeable in the form of pulling, stinging, itching, tingling or even numbness. But not every scar hurts. And those who hurt do so to varying degrees, and mostly for different reasons. Find out here why scar pain occurs and what can be done about it.

quick overview

  • Description : Scar pain is expressed as stinging, pulling, itching, tingling or numbness in the area of ​​the scar tissue.
  • Causes : including inflammation, weather changes, allergic reaction, scar hernia
  • When to the doctor? If the scar pain occurs regularly, becomes more frequent and/or worse.
  • Medical treatment : Depending on the cause of the scar pain, medication (e.g. scar gel, antibiotics, local anesthetic), cold or heat treatment, surgery.
  • You can do this yourself : e.g. B. Massage scar, apply lotion, protect against pressure and friction
  • Prevention : The best way to avoid scar pain is to take care of the scar right from the start.

Scar pain: causes

While some scars will hurt, itch, tingle, pull or feel numb, some scars will never be noticeable. Why this is so is not entirely clear to this day. A possible trigger for scar pain could be the contraction or hardening of the connective tissue that the body has used to fill up the skin injury that preceded the scar.

If a scar causes pain, this can also be due to the following reasons:

  • Allergic reaction : This can occur, for example, when the person concerned tries to cover the scar with make-up, the ingredients of which he does not tolerate. This can cause itching and redness.
  • Inflammation : Especially with fresh scars caused by surgery, it is normal for them to hurt for the first few days or even weeks. This can be because the scar tissue is (still) inflamed.
  • Foreign body : If fresh scars hurt, it can also be due to a foreign body in the tissue, eg sutures from an operation. The symptoms usually go away on their own after the foreign body is removed.
  • Tensile or Compressive Strain : Scars that have altered skin texture (e.g., lumps or lumps) are more likely to hurt when the tissue is under tension or compression.
  • Incisional hernia : An incisional hernia can occur after abdominal surgery in the area of ​​the surgical scar – even months or years after the operation. The scar area typically bulges slightly. The scar can hurt when you cough or have a bowel movement. However, not every scar hernia hurts.
  • Damage to nerve endings : When nerve endings are damaged in the area of ​​the scar, it can cause discomfort such as numbness or itching.
  • Weather : In some cases, the scar is only noticeable when the weather changes. Those affected usually report itching, sometimes also stinging or pulling in the scar area. Why scars can be sensitive to the weather has not yet been finally clarified.

Scar pain: treatment by the doctor

The doctor has several options to treat scar pain. Which one he chooses depends on the (suspected) cause of the symptoms. If the scar is inflamed, he can prescribe antibiotics, for example, to prevent a bacterial infection. An incisional hernia requires surgery. Even if the scar is injured, an operation may be necessary.

If the scar pain has lasted for a long time, if it is very severe and if there are no other complications, the doctor can inject a local anesthetic. It reduces the sensation of pain in the affected area.

A so-called electroacupuncture may help against scar pain after burns.

In the case of scar pain with a cause that cannot be clearly determined (e.g. scar pain caused by a change in the weather), it can help, for example, to apply a scar gel, to cool or warm the scar. It depends on what the patient feels most comfortable with.

Scar pain: you can do it yourself

You can also do something yourself to relieve scar pain – provided the doctor has previously ruled out inflammation, scar hernia and other causes that require treatment.

In addition to the heat or cold applications mentioned above and regular application of scar gel, you can try the following to deal with the pain of the scar:

  • Rub with oil : You can rub the painful scar with, for example, calendula oil, olive oil or wheat germ oil. This should make the skin supple and can, for example, reduce tension pain.
  • Aloe Vera : Preparations containing aloe vera are said to have anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties, which can soften scars and reduce irritation.
  • Onion Extract : The anti-inflammatory ingredients in onion can be applied to the scar area as a gel or compress.
  • Massage : Massaging the scar stimulates blood circulation and can make the scar tissue more elastic.
  • no tension or pressure : If possible, avoid anything that exerts tension or pressure on the scar. For example, do not wear tight, scratchy clothing in the scar area.
  • Alternative medicine : If you want to try homeopathy, you can use Hypericum , for example . Followers of Bach flower therapy often use Rescue Cream on scars.

Home remedies have their limits. The effectiveness of homeopathy and Bach flower therapy are controversial and not clearly proven by studies. If the symptoms persist over a longer period of time, do not improve or even get worse despite treatment, you should always consult a doctor.

Scar pain: when to see a doctor?

If you regularly have scar pain or if the symptoms become stronger and/or more frequent, you should have a doctor clarify the cause. In this case, a dermatologist is the right contact person.

Scar pain: investigations

The doctor will first talk to you to get an impression of your medical history (anamnesis). For example, he will ask how long the scar pain has existed, when it occurs and how it feels. Then he will look at the scar and feel it. In this way he can determine whether it is bulging (possibly a sign of hernia), inflamed or hardened. If an incisional hernia is suspected, the doctor can also use imaging methods such as ultrasound , magnetic resonance imaging (magnetic resonance imaging, MRI) or computer tomography (CT) for clarification.

prevent scar pain

Scars should be well cared for from the start . This means:

  • keep the scar clean so it doesn’t become infected
  • apply lotion and massage regularly to the scar to keep the tissue supple
  • do not expose the scar to direct sunlight
  • do not wear tight, rubbing clothing in the area of ​​the scar

The measures can make a significant contribution to preventing scar pain.

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