Monday, October 11, 2010
You know what I’m talking about, right? Those permanent, raggedy marks that can occur in the skin in the arm pit or groin; or on the abdomen, thigh, breast, or buttock.
(Photo of pregnant belly with "tear" marks courtesy of BarelyFitz from Flickr Creative Commons)
Did it ever dawn on you that they are not “stretch” marks? They are “tear” marks! Keep in mind that when a fabric, or your skin is expanded in length or size, and then due to its elastic nature, returns to its previous size and shape, we call that stretching. When that same fabric or skin loses its structural integrity, does not return to its original form, and instead is left with a permanent mark along a line in which continuity was lost, we call that tearing.
What you and I have are “tear” marks.
It is reasonable to assume that those of us with “tear” marks have connective tissue in our skin that is poorly constructed. It is also reasonable to assume that the poor construction of our connective tissue may be related to a lack of necessary building materials (nutrients). Further, it is not unreasonable to assume that if ones skin is poorly constructed, that other tissues and structures in the body may also be poorly constructed and at greater risk to failure.
At age 13 my first tear marks showed up as striations on my buttocks. I kept it to myself.
After surfing one day at age 15 I realized that I had a large tear in my left armpit. Before long I realized that I had similar large tears in my right armpit and in my groin both left and right.
Most people believe that these marks are caused by pregnancy or by being overweight. But here is the problem with that belief; it is not true. While granted that increased stretching of skin due to pregnancy or weight gain are often associated with “tear” marks, it is important to understand that there are many individuals who have never been heavy nor ever been pregnant and they still have “tear” marks. Additionally, it is common knowledge among women that some women can gain very little size with their pregnancy and still develop multiple tears, while other women can become very large with their pregnancy and never have a mark on them.
The health history form that all new patients fill out in my chiropractic office, asks if they have stretch marks (they don’t yet know them by their more accurate name). In 28 years of practice, no patient has ever indicated that they have been asked this question in any other healthcare office. Apparently, most physicians have either not thought much about “tear” marks, or think that incompetent skin structure is of little or no importance.
Let me assure you, the integrity of your skin and connective tissue is extremely important.
We’ll talk more. Be thinking about the people that you know that have “tear” marks, and give thought to their health status.