Why You Should Massage Your C-Section Scar

csect

With two C-sections under my belt, I can tell you that my doctors gave me little healing advice other than “take it easy at first.”  I really hate how typical western medicine is so textbook, so one-size-fits-all with little useful advice.  My doctors gave me the same generic instructions they tell everyone.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they weren’t so into cutting women open to birth their babies?  And if they absolutely had to, they would give them helpful advice to speed along healing like herbal tonics, homeopathic treatments or massage techniques to help the scar heal properly.  Obviously none of this was discussed.  They gave me a prescription for pain meds and told me to be careful.  See you later sucker – make sure you pay that hefty surgery bill!

I’m being cynical, but honestly why don’t OB/Gyn doctors focus on important things like telling women about the possibility of scar tissue causing adhesions, which can cause serious problems for women later in life.  The medical journal “Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology” published an article in late 2009 which stated,

“Most surgical procedures performed by obstetrician-gynecologists are associated with pelvic adhesions that cause subsequent serious sequelae [consequences], including small bowel obstruction, infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and difficulty in postoperative treatment, including complexity during subsequent surgical procedures.”

Up until recently, I had never heard of adhesions or the importance of massaging my C-section scars.  I came across the idea on a woman’s blog who just gave birth with the assistance of a doula.  Her doula told her all kinds of great things like the importance of chiropractic care in pregnancy, how to avoid testing positive for Strep B and the importance of massaging a C-section scar, among many other interesting things.  Read the post here.

I began looking into why scars should be massaged.  I discovered that as wounds heal and scar tissue is formed, it can expand inside the body and fuse to organs, attaching what is not normally stuck together.  The website Pregnancy.org explains:

When scar tissue forms it lays its fibers down very haphazardly in all different directions. It also may adhere to tissues you don’t want it to, mainly the fascia and organs. The fascia is a band of connective tissues covering or binding together parts of the body, such as muscles or organs.

In the abdomen it can cause adhesions. Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that bind together body parts that are normally unconnected. Any tissue it comes into contact with may stick to it. With c-sections it’s very common to have an adhesion on your colon, ovary or between your bladder and uterus. Think of these fibers as a tangled mess of yarn that has bounced around your room, wrapped around everything but where it should be! Scar tissue needs to be shown how to lie down properly.

What is worse is the statistics for women with repeat C-sections show that the chance of adhesions forming only rises with subsequent operations.  According to a 2007 study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology:  (Source)

  • Among women who underwent a second C-section, 46% (100 out of 217), developed pelvic adhesions.
  • Among women treated with a third C-section, 75% (48 out of 64) developed adhesions.
  • Among women treated with a fourth C-section, five out of six (83%) developed pelvic adhesions.

Why aren’t our doctors talking to us about this?  If women can do something as simple as massage the scar to prevent these problems, our doctors should be telling us.  Honestly, I don’t even like to think about my scars.  When I do I get grossed out.  The thought of touching it is super uncomfortable.  I have no feeling in that area anymore, when I touch it I can only feel it on my fingers and then inside below my skin.  Everything around the scar is still numb, two years after my second C-section.  But if massaging it will prevent small bowel obstruction, frequent urination and the other problems discussed above, I will gladly do it.

How to properly massage a scar.

I am working at getting through this video without shuddering… it seems very helpful and informative for anyone without C-section scar issues. (Which I must have! Ughh!)  I am going to keep trying to incorporate scar massage in my daily routine to help avoid problems.


Do you have any experience with scar massage or C-Section recovery?  I’m interested to learn more.  Please share in the comments below!

Massage that c-section scar to avoid adhesions - scar tissue which binds organs together causing serious problems.

Additional Sources:

http://www.pregnancy.org/article/massage-your-c-section-scar

http://www.obgyn.net/adhesions/adhesion-prevention-strategy-c-sections-focus-risk-reduction

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9 thoughts on “Why You Should Massage Your C-Section Scar

  1. Good read! I also found that video regarding massage. It made me nauseous (eek). I’m 8 months out from my second csection. I’m starting to read about adhesions etc. definitely wishing my Dr had given me information about masaging the area..

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  2. Hi there! Just came across this article on a MuTu post and was intrigued! I’m a mom of 3, all via c-section (2 of which were emergency) and had very bad adhesions with my middle child. NOT exciting at all! Long story short- my first section scar tissue adhered to my bladder, uterus, and several other lovelies meaning when the doc made the incision she panicked thinking she had cut into all of them. The adhesion was really big! Of course I didn’t find out any of this until after coming to in recovery and asking, “Did I fall asleep during the c-section?!” 😉 In the end my scar was about 16in. in length (hip-to-hip) and it took me a good 6 months to recover enough to even talk long walks for exercise. My doc was reeeeeally worried about my recovery and all I got told was to take it easy for the first 4 months or so. Sure would have been nice to know about massage, etc. to have avoided that awful experience! I still have a large ridge above my actual scar and my youngest is 3. Is it too late to try massaging you think?

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    • Hi Melissa, what an experience you have been through! Frightening! I do not think it is too late to start massaging your scar. It can’t hurt, right? I am not sure of the efficacy of massage in extreme cases of adhesions, which yours sounds like. I am not an expert so my opinion is just an opinion. I have been massaging my scar after two c-sections and most of the numbness has now gone away. Try it out and see if it helps! Good luck!

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    • Hi Ladies!
      First of all, to Janelle, thanks for passing on such wonderful info! I’ve been a massage therapist for 26 years and, although I do a lot of work on scar tissue and adhesions, I have never seen anyone talk publicly about C-Section scars, or their icked out feelings about them before! (How does that happen???)
      Onward… To Melissa and everyone else who is wondering, yes, you absolutely can and should work on the scar tissue no matter how many years you’ve had it. If it really bothers you to work on it yourself, my suggestion would be to find a massage therapist that practices Myofascial Release, peri and/or post operative massage, or scar tissue release techniques. A decent therapist will be able to help you get the adhesions broken down and then either teach you how to maintain them, or set up future appointments for maintenance.
      I know with a handful of kiddos it may seem hard to slip away and steal an hour or two just for yourself, and it may seem cost prohibitive. But keep in mind that a happy, healthy mommy is a better mommy all the way around… as far as cost, most areas have massage “memberships” – whether it’s through a chain/franchise massage clinic, spa, a private office or an individual therapist. Don’t buy before you try! Put out the extra 10 or 15 dollars to try an individual therapist and
      1. Make sure you like and are comfortable working with her (or him).
      2. That they are knowledgeable, understand and can meet your goals and
      3. Be sure you will be able to work with the same person everytime you come in (this can be a problem with the franchise clinics!)
      Good luck and thank you SO much for bringing my (and I’m sure others!) attention to this issue.
      If you have any questone that I can help with, please feel free to give me a yell at either the spa phone listed in the website or by email.
      Live, Love, Laugh,
      Michelle

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  3. I really wish this was told to me after I had my first c section. In 2013 I had my first son and he was via c section. When I got pregnant with my daughter I wanted to try for a VBAC. Unfortunately, she ended in an emergency c/s on April 13th of 2015. When my scar healed the first time I ended up with a lot of adhesions causing my bladder and uterus to fuse together. The Dr. ended up having to cut through my bladder to get to my uterus to get my daughter out. He did not repair the cut very well and I ended up with zero bladder control. I had a fistula and had to get surgery in July 2015 where she reopened my c section and repaired all the holes. I have now been told it is the Dr’s medical opinion that I do not have anymore children, the specialist said I would end up in the same situation or worse. I just started to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist and she has me massaging my scar. I am really hoping it helps with all the numbness and puckering of my scar.
    I am really sad that I cannot have anymore kids. I wish the Dr’s would have told me to do this before. I could have saved myself so much pain, discomfort and now the chances of being able to have anymore children.

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  4. I just came across your blog! Thanks for the info. Is 8 months to long to start? Had my baby is February and I’m just now able to touch it (still no feeling). ..

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  5. Thanks for sharing this blog.I had a C- section two months back and my doctor never said anything about massaging the scar. I do not have any complications though. May be I am just lucky. My sister had two abdominal surgeries a year back and her doctor recommended her to go for massage therapy. Her therapist at Dynamic Physiotherapy explained to her that if she doesn’t get proper massage it could lead to Adhesion’s and scar tissue. I had no clue it applies to C-section as well. Thanks again for sharing.

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