Caesarean sections are essential to the healthy delivery of many babies. It involves removing the baby through an incision in the abdomen instead of the vaginal canal. Today, the procedure is more commonly termed c-section.
Welcoming a child into the world is a life-changing experience. From the minute you see that tiny heartbeat on a screen, you’re ready to do anything for them. After the excitement of the delivery comes the part for which you are not prepared. This is where you sacrifice your body in ways you never imagined – even beyond the pregnancy!
For those who have given birth naturally, the experience is no cake-walk. For those who have endured the aftermath of a c-section, they could tell you that labour and delivery was only the beginning. Many women cannot lift their children for several weeks or even lean into their crib to comfort them. Can you imagine? Trying to breastfeed a squirming newborn while balancing them atop a massive incision?
It is no wonder that, when the visible scars finally heal and the superficial pain subsides, it is met with a sigh of relief and a self-assuring “Thank God that’s over.” Unfortunately, sometimes it is only the beginning of a much longer and frustrating journey.
After the abdomen is prepared for surgery, two incisions are made. One is to open the superficial tissues to access the uterus, the other is made to the uterus itself. Usually the incisions are horizontal but can be vertical based on the baby’s position or the mother’s health concerns. The baby is pulled out through the incisions, umbilical cord clipped, and placenta removed shortly thereafter. You are then immediately stitched up.3 New Mom’s are usually home within a few days of having a c-section and often struggle to balance the responsibilities of life while adjusting to a new baby and healing – all at once. It can be daunting to say the least.
According to a study published in 2018, the number of C-Sections performed worldwide has doubled since the year 2000.1 This is both promising and concerning. On the upside, we are gaining greater access to more modern medical techniques on a global scale. On the downside, are we overusing this last resort (albeit valuable) surgical option? While they may be imperative in some cases, the 2018 study found it notable that C-Section surgeries were more common in the richest countries in low-obstetric risk births, especially in well-educated women.1
This begs the question: is this the result of technological advancement or desire for convenience? It’s not an easy question to answer; however, it may be an important one given the long-term complications that can result from such a procedure. The study findings markedly correspond with our clinical observation of the quantity of c-section scars we treat every day.
Your uterus is an organ, which requires a deep incision through the abdominal wall to gain access, not to mention the uterine scar itself. Our clinicians believe that scars leave lasting effects long after they heal. There is no expiry date on an injury; this includes surgical incisions.
C-Section scars often leave core muscles disengaged, forcing you to rely heavily on compensatory muscles to pick up the slack. This leads to imbalances and the development of other problems over time, usually in seemingly unrelated areas. The most common symptom is low back pain – but it is not the only one. Many clients reach out to us for pain that is going on 20 years but treating their back has never helped. When we see an abdominal scar, we have that “Ah ha!” moment. Maybe the painful area is not the cause of the problem.
Imagine walking into an appointment with a sore back and the first thing the therapist does is treat your stomach. What?! Crazy right? It is, in fact, exactly what we do with c-section scars. It is amazing to see the shock on a client’s face when you treat the scar and they notice change elsewhere.
Many are often skeptical of this approach until they see the results. Sometimes it is instant, other times it is over a few days or weeks. In almost every situation, the effect of treatment is profound and long-lasting. Of course, the therapist will always provide symptomatic treatment to give relief to the low back; however, the difference is that the source has been targeted above anything else.
Whether you are 2 days or 20 years post-delivery, we can help. Those who find us immediately after their c-section have reduced healing times, better return to functional norms and less long-term pain. Those who find us after 20 years have struggled longer, with more opportunity to get out of balance. The focus for these clients is still the c-section scar; however, there are other symptoms now present that must also be addressed.
Most clients require 3 treatments over 3 weeks, with a 4-6 week healing/rest period. A fourth follow-up session may be required. Many observe that the area around the treated scar begins to feel differently during this time. Some describe it as a feeling of “waking up” in the tissue. Where it may have had little feeling before there is now tingling or sensation to the touch. The overall effect of the treatment is reduced discoloration and adhesion in the scar tissue with an increase in smoothness and functionality. Painful symptoms resolve and range of motion and core strength return. One thing is certainly clear: if you’ve had a c-section at any time in your life, you could benefit from this unique treatment approach.
Kati Luknowsky, BKin