Caesarean Section Scar Massage
Scar massage can be an effective tool to keep the skin and connective tissue healthy as you recover from your C-section surgery.
It may help to reduce pain through desensitising the nervous system, as well as prevent abnormal stiffness down the track by maintaining flexibility and preventing adhesions of the skin layers.
Dysfunctions around the scar tissue can lead to pain, altered movement of the abdominal wall and trunk and altered breathing which can in turn lead to a myriad of musculoskeletal issues.
Scar massage should only commence once the wound has healed and the dressings have been removed.
***This is usually from around 8-12 weeks after surgery ***
Do not commence scar massage if there is any sign of infection or any opening of the wound.
If you are unsure, please check with your medical provider for more information.
Scar Massage for flexibility
- Start by lying on your back in a relaxed position with your head, shoulders and knees supported by pillows so you are in semi-propped position. Alternatively you may choose to be in a supported sitting position.
- Using your fingers gently test how well the tissue of the scar moves from side to side, up and down. You may feel that there is more resistance and or discomfort in one direction.
- Using gentle pressure of your fingertips directly over or to the side of the scar, stretch toward the side of the scar that you feel is more resistant to being moved.
- Your pressure needs to be deep enough to move the overlying skin with your fingers and NOT to simply slide your fingers over the skin.
- When you feel the tissue will no longer stretch using comfortable pressure, hold the tissue at that barrier until it releases. You will know it has released when the tissue ‘gives’ or softens under your fingers or you no longer feel a stretching sensation. Remember this should not be painful.
- This can take up to (and sometimes even more) than ninety seconds, so be patient.
- When you feel a release, you can stretch more, sometimes having your fingers find a slightly different direction or path.
- Once you feel you have released the tissue as much as you are comfortable with, gently release the pressure provided by your fingers.
- With a longer or more resistant scar you may need to divide the scar into 2 or 3 parts, working each segment on it’s own. That way it is also easier to keep track of any change.
- As the scar tissue releases you can increase your finger pressure in small increments, allowing a release of deeper tissue, below the original release.
- Repeat the above until you no longer feel any discomfort with deep finger pressure and stretching.
Remember the technique should not be painful and like any flexibility exercises you should feel a comfortable stretching sensation only.
If the scar and the surrounding skin are really sensitive to touch, it may be necessary to commence a modified version of scar massage initially, which focuses on desensitization.
Please seek help and guidance from your Women’s Health Physiotherapist.
Jane Rothe, Associate Women’s Health Physiotherapist – Payneham & O&G