Normal tissue in our bodies is aligned in a nice uniform direction. However, when scar tissue forms it is kind of like your toddler played pick up sticks and tossed them all over the floor. The tissue is laid down in haphazard directions. Most C-sections are performed using a horizontal incision or bikini cut over a mom’s lower abdominal. When the scar heals, just like any other scar, it lays down tissue in every different direction. The scar tissue can cause adhesions to the abdominals, pelvic floor and surrounding muscles.
This scar tissue can cause many more problems, beyond cosmetic. When the scar tissue impacts the muscles around it, it can cause issues with the deeper core muscles firing correctly, can cause issues with incontinence, can lead to back pain and pain with sexual intercourse. So often I find that moms think that once they have a C-section scar, it is what it is and there is not much they can do about it. There is hope mommas!
Scar tissue responds very well to mobilization. I know… big words… sounds fancy but it is quite easy to do on your own. Now… I will say, if you have a thick scar that is super tender and angry, or are dealing with issues with back pain, incontinence, or diastasis recti, please find a physical therapist/physiotherapist who specializes in Women’s Health. They will be able to address your scar and other issues and get you back to being super mom much more quickly than if you just do a simple scar tissue mobilization at home.
First, you need to let that scar heal all the way. Do not get over eager too early in the game… you can pull open your incision. Wait until your incision is fully healed. Then put your fingers down along the incision and move your incision/ scar in ever difference direction. Start gently. This may be uncomfortable. A little soreness is ok, but do not torture yourself! It does not matter if your scar is 4 weeks old or 10 years old. I have gotten scars to move that are decades old. It is never too late to work those scars!
Very often I find that soon after the scar is healed or is healing it can be very sensitive. You might not tolerate pants with a tighter waistband or even having your shirt brush against it. This is called “hypersensitivity” and is not normal. Your body is telling your brain that everything is causing damage even though it is not. We need to retrain your brain and desensitize that scar. You can start with just brushing your fingers over it and gently rubbing it if you can tolerate it. Then grab a washcloth and get it wet with warm water. Run it over your scar and then repeat with it cold. Play around with different textures that you can rub over your scar. If you consistently work on your scar, your sensitivity will improve!
Most scars respond very well to mobilization. If you are still having issues after trying to work on your scar at home, please find a Women’s Health PT. They have so many tricks and tools in their toolboxes and would love to help you achieve your goals.