C-Section Scar Mobility & How Pelvic Floor Therapy Can Help
Updated: Mar 18, 2022
C-Section Scar Mobility & Your Pelvic Floor
Nearly half a million women in the US give birth by C-section per year. That’s over 500,000 women undergoing major surgery yearly! Naturally, large scars can cause discomfort, including tightness, limited mobility, or pain around the scar. Utilizing pelvic floor therapy can help you find tools to reduce C-Section scar pain and increase mobility. That’s right - even Cesarean births can cause pelvic floor issues. A pelvic floor therapist like myself can give you the tools to mobilize your scar tissue and help with sensation, which can also assist in pelvic floor function. By ignoring scar mobility and pelvic floor issues, you could start to experience pain in other areas of your body, like the back and hips. Sometimes even scar restrictions can refer pain to these areas. Getting your scar mobile is the first step in repairing your pelvic floor after Cesarean birth.
How Scars Form
During a C-section, an incision is made above the pubic bone, cutting through skin tissue and fat. The muscles are then separated by hand, with a further incision in the uterus. The fibers of all that tissue are normally oriented in the same direction, but an incision disrupts that. When scar tissue forms, it doesn’t connect the tissue the way it was before. Instead, new tissue is formed going in several directions, like a spider web connecting the cut tissue. Since the scar disrupts the tissue, it’s not able to move and function as usual, which affects your mobility. You could also experience nerve damage, pain during intercourse, and other pain and discomfort around the healed incision site. By finding the right tools to improve mobility, you'll save yourself from lasting pain and further damage.
Steps to Improve Mobility
If you’re experiencing any C-section scar tissue mobility issues, don’t worry! Know that you’re not alone, and there are things you can do to help. Whether you’re recently postpartum or have a years-old scar, these simple stretches can improve your mobility and reduce discomfort. Be sure to wait at least six weeks postpartum or until the incision is fully healed and consult your physician with any healing concerns prior to pelvic floor therapy.
Start about 2-3 inches above and below the incision site. Apply light pressure to the skin and start stretching the skin in different directions. Gently massage the scar’s perimeter using side to side, circular, and up and down movements with your fingers.
Once the area around your scar area is warmed up, start massaging the scar itself. Be mindful of tightness and overworking an area; consistency is more important than speed! However, you can apply a bit more pressure directly to the scar as you use the same motions as before to massage it.
The next technique is best after you’re comfortable with the less invasive methods. Pinch the scar between your thumb and index finger, then roll it between both fingers. Work your way up and down the scar, rolling as you go. This technique can be more intense, so start slow and work your way up to adding more pressure as you pull.
C-Section Scars and Your Pelvic Floor
By improving your C-section scar mobility, you could also improve the health and function of your pelvic floor. Most associate pelvic floor issues with vaginal delivery, but the stress of a C-section and the scarring that follows can also affect the pelvic floor. Scar tissue that limits your mobility can also limit the functionality of those muscles, causing them to get weak, stretch, or tighten. While your body is focused on healing after a C-section, you could be compensating with other muscles that, in turn, affect the pelvic floor muscles. While it’s not obvious at first glance, your C-section scar and its mobility can have immediate or lasting negative effects.
Does Pelvic Floor Therapy Help?
The answer is yes! I’ll give you an individual assessment focused on your concerns, including C-section scar mobility and sensation. Your assessment is tailored to you and your goals so we can get the most out of your physical therapy. I can assist in scar massage like the techniques I shared here, make a schedule with massage frequency, and provide pelvic floor exercises that you can do on your own. Before long, you’ll see improvement in both your scar’s mobility as well as your pelvic floor function. Your health and comfort are my top priority, so we’ll set up a schedule for regular evaluations and to check on your progress.
About Dr. Anjelica Martinez-Yoder
I’m a University of St. Augustine graduate with my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. My focus is women’s health, specializing in pelvic floor therapy. I’m here to empower you in your healing journey and set you on a path to being pain-free after giving birth. You deserve to focus on yourself, your health and, your happiness, and pelvic floor therapy can help. Curious about how Yoder Physical Therapy can help you? Contact me for a free consultation and follow me on Instagram for more helpful tips.