C-Section - Is It Bothering Your Body?
At Focus Physio Cairns we have been working with women after a C Section surgery for some time. Personally I have been interested in the effects Caesarean scar have on the body for over 10 years. It is interesting to note how many women forget to mention this surgery when asked if they have had surgery anywhere in their body. A C-Section is a major surgery that is often treated like a minor one in so many regards. Perhaps it is because it is one of the oldest open surgeries performed it gets overlooked.
My interest in Caesareans peaked when I had to have my first emergency C-Section. My experience was traumatic. I recall the obstetrician coming in the room the next day and advising me to seek therapy to help overcome the trauma. I was told what I could lift and what I could not, how to care for the wound in the first weeks and even advised when I could next be pregnant even though this was far from my mind at the time.
2 years later I found myself back on the operating table for another emergency C-Section, however I felt more prepared for the aftermath this time around. As I worked through my experience and the scar tissue I began to develop so much more awareness of the impacts on my body. Some impacts were obvious and many subtle. I was grateful to have acquired some appreciation for the impacts prior to my first surgery. I was very precise and specific on my rehabilitation in order to achieve the results I wanted. I was acutely aware of all the compensations my body was throwing at the problem and as time passed I needed to be more on the ball to prevent those strategies becoming stronger than my rehab strategies.
I put together my own protocol to assess and address the tension and restrictions left behind by the surgery. I searched for what others had created to help heal after the surgery; Sadly I found they fell well short of what I felt was needed for a good recovery. The material was basic on many levels and there was no appreciation for how the surgery changes the body dynamics that you may achieve through an exercise but only through compensations around the scar and affected tissue. So my goal is to eventually bring what I learnt in this process to the wider world.
Symptoms You May Experience After a C-Section
A few symptoms a woman may notice after a C-Section could include some or any of the following (this is a basic list and there are many other issues that can arise post Ceaser.
- Tension in the neck and shoulders that even with massage keeps creeping back
- Poor glute activation – you may feel when you look in the mirror you have lost some perk to your backside… but I tell you its not just a change in activity level
- Lower back pain. This often presents as a tired back or deep ache which is likely to get worse around menstruation
- An increase in menstrual or ovulation pain
- Difficulty taking big breaths
- Shoulder pain or shoulders feeling tired easily when holding arms overhead
Visceral Manipulation and C Section Scar Care
Focus Physio Cairns therapists look to address all aspects of a Caesar from a physical standpoint. This includes taking into account the after effects of an epidural to the spinal area, surrounding blood vessels and nerves in close proximity to the scar. As a clinic we also practice (at varying levels) Visceral Manipulation. I find Visceral integral to really being able to take a Caesarean scar to the next level. Remember the surgeon cuts through many layers of tissue; skin, fascia, muscle, peritoneum and Uterus. Using Visceral skills we are able to assist the pelvic organs to move to their most optimal position and function. If you are unsure how Visceral Manipulation works or its benefit I highly recommend reading our blog or going to the Barral institute website to learn more.
Caesarean Scar and Post Surgical Adhesions
What many are not told before or after a Cesarean is that there is circa 80% likelihood to develop post surgical adhesions. These adhesions could lead to abdominal pain or hinder normal mobility of the organs and therefore impact function. This increases to 95% with the second surgery. A Caesarean can lead to challenges in fertility for the future along with many other concerns.
Our Cairns Physiotherapists Can Help
In conclusion I highly recommend you find a practitioner that acknowledges the body working as a whole. Most people do not suspect the Caesarean scar to be creating the drama in other parts of their body but a highly trained practitioner will be able to detect this and assist in either prevention of side effects or help in mopping them up.