Are there benefits to c-section scar massage? Does scar tissue massage really help?
Could your c-section scar be the reason you have a nagging shoulder injury, hip pain, neck pain, or back pain?
The short answer to all these questions: Yes.
Keep reading, this is a must for my c-section mamas.
The Importance of C-Section Scar Massage
If you had a cesarean section, it’s so important to massage the skin around the scar. Even if it feels a little uncomfortable, it helps with scar healing and mobility.
That’s because scar tissue acts like a million little sticky spider webs. This is great for closing a wound, but it can also stick to other internal organs nearby. Because scar tissue is tight and fibrous, it is naturally “tight” and often limits mobility.
Think of it this way. Those “webs” of scar tissue are like having a shirt tucked in very tightly. This tightness would limit your range of motion and makes you more likely to experience injury.
Your body is a master compensator and will do what it needs to get the job done. It knows whether you are lifting your toddler into a swing, or leaning over to put the baby in the crib.
Massage can help to break up some of the tightness around your scar and reduce the appearance of your c-section shelf.
Additionally, c-section adhesions can increase the risk of bladder and bowel dysfunction. They can even be the culprit behind that stupid shoulder injury that won’t quite resolve.
Massaging the scar can help to reduce adhesions and “tightness.”
C-section scar massage can help with:
- Restoring elasticity to the tissue
- Reducing pain and sensitivity around your c-section scar
- Keeping the scar tissue from attaching to surrounding organs and other areas
How Does Massage Help with Bladder or Bowel Dysfunction?
Dense scar tissue adhesions can restrict blood flow or create blockages on organs in or near the pelvic floor area. This means the uterus, bladder, and intestines can all be affected. Massage helps reduce the chance of developing excess scar tissue, and improves pelvic health.
When to Start Scar Massage
Be sure to wait until the wound is FULLY healed (typically around six weeks).
How to Massage Your C-Section Scar
- Start by desensitizing the skin around the scar. Use a cotton swab or a cotton ball and simply touch the skin above and below your scar. Once you get used to that, you can begin work directly on and around the scar.
- Lie on your back and use two fingers with both hands to perform a gentle massage near the scar but not directly on it. Do an up and down motion, then a side to side motion. Do this above and below the scar.
- Once the scar is fully healed, you can place your fingertips directly on it. Use each finger to look for sticking points along that scar line.
- If you find a sticking point along the scar, use two fingers and apply a little extra pressure in a circular motion to try and loosen it up. If you can feel the direction the scar is pulling, try to pull in the opposite direction.
- For those sticking points, pinch the skin and roll the scar a little bit with your fingers, see if you can get it to lift up and unstick.
- Working on the muscle layers now, place your fingers on the scar and sink them in, using that up and down, side to side motion go from hip to hip. Work it in a clockwise motion and a counter-clockwise motion. Pay extra attention to those sticking points.
You’re going to progress and regress as needed. So if it feels like too much, back off, it should never hurt. It might feel weird, but it should not feel painful. Listen to your body, you’re looking for feedback signs as you do this.
Stretches That Help Reduce Lingering C-Section Scar Pain
You can also help combat c-section scar pain and improve tissue mobility by performing specific stretches.
Again, it is SO important to wait until your incision has fully healed. I do not recommend massaging a previous c-section scar while pregnant. These stretches, however, are great during pregnancy and postpartum:
When Is It Too Late To Massage Scar Tissue?
The best opportunity to prevent and reduce c-section scar tension and adhesions is within the first six months after birth.
That said, it is never too late – you can always use massage and stretches to improve and reduce the tension around the scar, even years later.