by Guest Contributor Allan Guenther LMT
One of the main goals of my practice is to help women to avoid C-sections. In most situations, this means giving the pelvis more mobility. You see, if the pelvis can move properly, the baby can make his way through the birth canal with relative ease. The sacrum (tail-bone) can pivot, the ilium (hip bones) can widen, the pubic symphysis can open up, tearing is reduced (or eliminated) and mom’s recovery can take place naturally.
But sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Sometimes a C-section is the best option. What are some of the common effects that accompany a C-section and what can be done about it?
The scar is one of the most significant side effects of the C-section. I don’t mean the outward scar. Usually the scar on the outside is a small, white or red line that is easily covered up by a swimsuit. No, I mean the scar that is on the inside. This is where the real problems can occur.
The most obvious trouble with a C-section scar is the pain in the area of the scar. Of course there is going to be pain right after the surgery but I am referring to pain that is still there long after the healing should have completed. This can be evident when mom tries to use her lower abs when she is sitting up. It can be present itself when a child wants to sit on her lap. It can lead to discomfort during intercourse, it may cause her monthly cycle to be more painful, or it can mean significant discomfort during subsequent pregnancies.
In addition to the more obvious trouble, there are a number of more distant issues that are not quite so readily associated with the surgery. The first is neck pain. At first, this might seem quite improbable but there is a significant connection here. You see, when the scar forms, it is intended to lock down and stabilize the area of the injury. This means less mobility in the muscles and fascia that surround the scar. In this case, the abdominal muscles have a constant pull on them. The effect is that the chest is pulled closer to the pubic bone and the head is pulled forward. Our body doesn’t like this. If everything else stayed the same, we would be walking with our head slightly tilted toward the ground. But we can’t do that so we compensate. The compensation is done by the neck. It tightens up in order to bring the head back to level and to bear the extra weight placed on it by the head-forward posture.
Another area often affected by a C-section is the bladder. Of course, the bladder is designed to expand and contract as necessary but the scarring in the area can mean more frequent urination, or it can be one of the contributing factors of stress incontinence.
So what can we do about this? What options are available to minimize the effects of the C-section? There are a few things that I have found that help quite significantly. They include castor oil packs, neurostim, and manual therapy.
The castor oil packs help because they physically soften the scar tissue. When the castor oil is applied with a heating pad, the scar tissue is softened and is much easier to work with. When we go to do the manual work, we find the scar to be more pliable, less tender, and generally easier and more comfortable to work with.
The neurostim therapy also adds a significant benefit to the work. This unit uses direct microcurrent to make physical changes to the scar tissue on a cellular level. Because your body already produces and uses its own microcurrent, this therapy can be particularly helpful because it is augmenting something that your body already recognizes as good and helpful and natural.
As with all of the therapy, it is important that we do this work with the body and not to the body. This means that both the client and I will work simultaneously to attain functionality and full range of motion of the tissue. We want the scar tissue to be strong but we also want it to be organized. We want the scar to enhance and strengthen the area of the incision and not simply lock the area down.
Even when a C-section was the best option, there will be side effects but those side effects don’t have to be just simply accepted and dealt with. There are significant and often permanent results that can be enjoyed by a woman who is willing to be proactive in her health.
Once we have softened the scar with the castor oil and done some neurostim work to change the scar at a cellular level, it is time to do some manual therapy. This involves working physically with the scar tissue and with the surrounding tissue. As the scar tissue develops, it will tend to affect the muscles and other organs in the pelvis. We want to make sure that the scar tissue stays more local to the original incision rather than generally tightening everything up in the pelvis.
About the writer:
Allan is the owner of Motility Bodywork in Tulsa, OK. A bit about Allan’s approach from his website: “We are not simply a composition of many parts but we are a whole being that needs to be treated as such. We have a history that includes our birth, the type of work that we do, accidents, emotional trauma, abuse, stress, and even our eating habits. We cannot simply look at a small part of the body and say that this part works in isolation from the others. When a wholistic approach is used, I am able to better perceive the core issues. When the core issues are addressed, this work is usually significant and permanent.”
Visit Allan’s website here to learn more or schedule a consultation: Prenatal Massage Tulsa | 918-641-4410 | Motility Bodywork Tulsa