Why You Need C-section Scar Massage; This week’s featured blog post is by guest author Lynn Schulte-Leech, PT. Visit Lynn at Intuitive Hands PT
When Should You Begin Massaging Your C-Section Scar?
Once you get the okay from your doctor that your scar is well healed, usually at your six-week check up, you will want to begin massaging your surgical scar. If you are having pain before then, you can do gentle massaging around the scar area while it is healing, but not on top of the scar tissue. Loosening up the surrounding tissues can help ease your pain. After you have clearance, however, don’t delay working directly on the scar to garner maximum benefits! Also note, whether it has been months or even years since your c-section, it isn’t too late to achieve improvements.
Why Should You Massage Your C-Section (surgical) Scar?
When scar tissue forms it lays its fibers down very haphazardly in all different directions. It also may adhere to tissues you don’t want it to, mainly the fascia and organs. The fascia is a band of connective tissues covering or binding together parts of the body, such as muscles or organs.In the abdomen it can cause adhesions. Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that bind together body parts that are normally unconnected. Any tissue it comes into contact with may stick to it. With c-sections it’s very common to have an adhesion on your colon, ovary or between your bladder and uterus. Think of these fibers as a tangled mess of yarn that has bounced around your room, wrapped around everything but where it should be! Scar tissue needs to be shown how to lie down properly. What is the training method? Watch the video below:
Watch the Video
What Happens If I Don’t Massage My Scar?
Many women were never told to massage their surgical incision. “Healing” instructions are often limited to the outer appearance — to avoid redness, watch for signs of infection, etc. Years down the road these same women may endure numerous medical concerns. Without having a more in-depth physical exam, they may not even associate it with their previous c-section.
The most common issue is lower back and pelvic pain. The scar tissue adheres to all the tissues directly in front of the sacrum. The sacrum is the triangular bone located at the base of your spine that joins to a hip bone on each side and forms part of the pelvis. The sacrum needs to be able to bend forward and backwards with all of our movements.
There is fascia that runs from the pubic bone around the bladder, uterus and colon and attaches back to the sacrum. There is also an uterosacral ligament, (another major ligament of the uterus), that can get tight from scar tissue that inhibits the sacrum from moving as freely as it needs to when we bend, twist and walk. This restricted tissue mobility causes limited sacral mobility and is what leads to low back pain. In layman’s terms: Ouch!
C-section scarring can cause frequency of urination. Unbelievably, this symptom can delay until 10 to 15 years after your surgery! You will find yourself feeling like you have to pee every 15-20 minutes, even though you just urinated. Relatively young women may be horrified at this loss of bladder control and stressed by their need to either stay within a fast dash to the toilet or wear Depends™.
So what’s happening? The scar tissue from your surgical incision in the lower abdomen is inhibiting the bladder from expanding fully. Once the bladder tries to expand and it hits the scar tissue it sends a signal up to the brain telling it you need to empty your bladder. The more scar tissue you have, the less the bladder can expand, and the more you will have to go, go, go!
Don’t give up hope. This isn’t like that extensive exercise routine that you can’t seem to become motivated to do. A few minutes of effort on your part of good scar tissue release work will have you back to urinating normally, which is every two to three hours.
Two of the most painful difficulties scar tissue creates are pelvic pain and pain with intercourse. Adhesion on the organs in the pelvis generates tremendous pain. Our organs are very sensitive structures. When their mobility is limited, pain is inevitable. With intercourse the uterus needs to move superiorly out of the way. If scar tissue inhibits this motion, deep thrusting during intercourse can be downright agonizing. This often leads to almost complete avoidance which is likely to cause a strain on the best of relationships for both parties involved.
While massaging your c-section scar may not prevent all instances of these issues, it is shown to lessen the risks and/or impact of these matters for your future health in both long and short term! In other words, what are you waiting for?
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About the Author
Lynn Schulte-Leech is a Women’s Health Physical Therapist who has a private practice in Boulder, CO, Intuitive Hands Physical Therapy. She specializes in prenatal and post partum therapies and helping women recover from the traumas and stresses of childbirth. Using her training in Craniosacral therapy and Visceral Manipulation along with intuitive healing, Leech has helped hundreds of women prepare their bodies for childbirth and reconnect with their body afterwards. Lynn is author of the forthcoming book: Bellies, Boobs, Backs and Bottoms: Protecting your Body for an Easier Birth and a Faster Recovery Visit Lynn at www.IntuitiveHandsPT.com