C-Sections: What you need to know
Approximately 28% of births in Canada occur through a surgical procedure called a Cesarean section or sometimes better known as a C-section. The baby is delivered through an incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. The incision generally is across the lower abdomen near the pubic hairline but it can be vertical at mid-line.
Whenever an incision is made, a scar forms as part of the healing process. The initial stages of healing involve a temporary scab formed by the body to close the edges of the incision. The body then creates scar tissue from collagen (a tough fibrous protein), which takes the place of the scab. In the initial stages of healing the body is focused on sealing the opening in the skin so often the tissue is laid down in an irregular pattern. The irregular pattern creates a denser tissue that is not as strong or forgiving with reduced elasticity and mobility of the tissue. Scar tissue formed with C-sections or other surgeries, is not only present on the surface but often extends into the deeper layers below the skin.
Due to the nature of this tissue it can create a wide variety of problems for mothers including (but not limited to):
- Pain/sensitivity at and around the scar.
- Reduced mobility and elasticity; making bending forward and lifting uncomfortable.
- Feeling like that area is being pulled/tugged on, when standing up straight and reaching overhead, which can affect posture.
- Low back pain from compromised/weakened abdominal muscles.
- Myofascial trigger points in abdominal muscles that can refer pain to the urethra and clitoris.
- Superficial nerve irritation surrounding the area of the scar.
- Pelvic floor tension/pain.
- Urinary urgency and frequency.
If scar tissue is left untreated, it can sometimes result in symptoms experienced years later.
Good news though, although this list may sound daunting, physiotherapy is effective in addressing any pain, restriction or dysfunction associated with the scar tissue. Myofascial release and visceral mobilization are treatment techniques that utilize slow sustained pressure to treat restrictions and tension in the involved muscles, connective tissue, ligaments and fasciae surrounding the pelvic organs. It’s never too late to start treatment.
Be proactive! Address the c-section scar before a problem develops!
Stay tuned for our next post on “Tips for a Happy Heart!”