We have written about scar tissue (when the muscles are injured and do not heal properly) and trigger points (places in the muscle that remember pain due to injury or overuse) and how these reduce muscle plasticity (flexibility), meaning your range of motion is decreased and you likely experience discomfort and pain.
Most think yoga and other forms of stretching will solve the problem: since the issue is reduced flexibility, shouldn’t stretching mean more flexibility? Can’t I just re-stretch the muscles out to return to my normal range of motion? Not necessarily, depending on how much scar tissue your muscles have and how deep the trigger points are. And you could possibly do further damage by over-stretching in different poses.
Yoga has many benefits. It can stretch out the normal muscle, making problem areas easier to find, and it can bring you better body awareness of where and how deep those problem areas might be. But while yoga and other stretch-based activities are wonderful for healthy muscles, they will not break up trigger points nor smooth out toughened scar tissue.
We mostly use vibrational friction to effectively release trigger points, which yoga can’t mimic, but is effective at releasing trigger points and breaking up scar tissue to encourage muscles to return to their healthy state. Utilize both for optimum muscle health.