For all of my fellow C-section moms…this post is for you! Most of us moms know that when it comes to finding information or advice on healing the body postpartum it can be either very vague or very confusing. And when it comes to postpartum healing advice for C-section moms…it’s even worse! Most of us are told to wait around for 6 weeks or more post-birth for the incision area to heal and then it’s okay to resume all normal activity. However, the method for healing from a C-section runs much deeper (quite literally) than waiting for the scar on the surface of your belly to heal.
Recently a randomized control trial was published in the September/December 2018 issue of the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy that proved soft tissue mobilization on and around the incision area helped to relieve C-section related pain and dysfunction.
The authors of this study stated that of the 1.27 million+ cesarean sections (C-sections) performed every year in the United States, up to 18 percent of them will result in chronic pain. That’s potentially almost a quarter of a million new moms dealing with chronic pain and dysfunction every year!
The researchers involved in the study wanted to see whether or not soft tissue mobilization (aka various massage techniques) helped to reduce pain and improve function and scar mobility for C-section moms. The women who participated in the study were divided into two groups:
- Group 1 received superficial abdominal and lumbothoracic massage superficial skin rolling of the painful scar
- Group 2 received the above techniques plus abdominal myofascial release and direct deep scar tissue mobilization (meaning they received scar tissue mobilization or the deeper tissues of the abdomen, not just the surface layer where the scar can be seen).
After four treatment sessions, both groups saw statistically significant improvements in pain and scar mobility. The authors of the study concluded that the trial demonstrates that 4 sessions of soft tissue therapy techniques are effective in reducing stable chronic pain following a C-section, and the use of soft tissue mobilization interventions is a valuable and cost-effective treatment option for the many moms with chronic C-section–related pain.
It gets me so excited to see more therapists, researchers, and scientists doing more research on important topics like this because it’s so badly needed in the world of postpartum recovery and care. I am only aware of the importance of soft tissue mobilization myself because of all of the learning, researching, and studying I have done on my own for my own benefit and for that of my clients. It’s great to finally see more time and attention being dedicated to this by researchers because this only means a better standard of care for C-sections moms is beginning to emerge!
The women in the study only underwent four sessions of soft tissue work, so it makes me think just how much more improvement could be seen after additional sessions and if these women were taught how to do it on their own at home.
It’s exciting to think about, and it’s a HUGE reason why I covered this topic in my Restore My Core C-Section plan. Soft tissue work is a big part of the puzzle for better C-section recovery, and one that is never made any mention of by a new mom’s OBGYN.
Even the simplest at-home tissue work routine can reduce C-section pain, improve scar mobility, eliminate the dreaded C-section shelf, and significantly improve a mom’s core and pelvic floor function and health.
However, like I mentioned above, it isn’t just about doing soft tissue work on the visible tissue of the abdomen. We also have to address the deeper tissues, deeper core muscles, and organs that are affected by a C-section incision because scar tissue builds up deep within the core as well.
I show you how to perform soft tissue work for both the superficial and deeper layers of the core in Restore Restore My Core C-Section: Soft Tissue Guide. We go into ALLLLL sorts of detail about this in the program, and I:
- Explain the many (surprising) ways your external AND internal scarring is likely affecting your health (and your sex life, and your gut, and your lymphatic system, and your body image, etc.)
- When and how to self-mobilize both superficial AND deep layers
- When to consult with a physical therapist or other women’s health professional for extra help
- Topical treatments, nutrition, and other tools that you can use to optimize your healing and recover from the trauma of a cesarean delivery.
Interested in learning more? Get in touch with me and with your questions and be sure to check out my one-of-a-kind C-section recovery program. It has already helped many C-section moms, and I’d be honored if it found its way into your recovery corner.