Fibrosis is defined as an abnormal formation of fibrous tissue and usually occurs as a reparative process following tissue damage & inflammation.
The process can also be described as a reactive mechanism , for instance, as a result of repetitive strains to the tissue.
Because skeletal muscle cells are mostly unable to multiply by mitosis, any injury or degeneration of the muscle fibre will lead to replacement by fibrosis tissue composed mainly of collagen.
Once these changes take place they are practically irreversible, and the muscle loses its full elasticity and contractibility.
Fibrosis is common in postural muscles such as those of the back. This usually results from overuse or mechanical stress associated with postural patterns.
Massage is indicated to prevent the onset of fibrosis. As already noted, fibrosis can develop in cases of muscle overuse and postural imbalances.
Massage is therefore used to improve the function of the muscles and to correct imbalances in the postural muscles.
Tightness in the muscles is reduced and by-products of muscle activity removed.
Effleurage and petrissage are used to increase the circulation and to loosen up adhesion’s within muscles.
Passive stretching is also applied to muscles to secure full extensibility.
In the early stages of fibrosis, massage is indicated in an attempt to arrest the tissue changes by improving the local circulation and by stretching.
In chronic fibrosis, massage is indicated to reduce the nodules that are also likely to be present. Deep friction or thumb effleurage are applied to stretch the fibres transversely. Bodywork techniques such as the NMT are also applicable. These are followed by passive stretching.