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Is Your C-Section Scar The Source Of Your Hip, Back Or Joint Pain?

Women who have C-sections tend to get by pretty okay for the first, 5 to 10 years. They might have a little low back pain, maybe some hip pain, and they attribute it to like not losing all the weight or maybe they’re pushing their body too much during exercise. But don’t want to slow down, and they don’t need to because the pain is just there and totally manageable. I mean, for goodness’ sakes, you’ve had abdominal surgery. So maybe your pain tolerance is really, really high. Important considerations post C-section, that are never talked about, are the effects in 10 years and beyond.

So what I see are, moms who had a C-section 5, 10, 20 years ago, who never, ever learned how to reuse their pelvic floor and their lower abdominal muscles. The lower abdominal muscle is cut during surgery and, oftentimes without the proper education and scar tissue work, it doesn’t kick back on.

So I meet people that effectively don’t use this muscle for 20 years. By that time, they might have a hip replacement, a knee replacement because that muscle is a shock absorber. If your core isn’t absorbing the forces, then you really get stuck with having a lot more wear on your joints. So even though they’re these little niggly aches and pains in your hip and knees in your 30’s and early 40’s, if they’re not addressed, they can really turn into more.

So that’s one of the major things I see,  a lot of women through their aging, who had C-sections, who show up for other things like, chronic knee pain or chronic hip pain, even shoulder pain. If their scar tissue in their core has never been addressed, this can be the root cause of the problem. So you could easily get your shoulder worked on by a PT, but maybe it comes back in a couple of months. If you’re not addressing the root cause of what is creating these issues, then that’s not great. So it’s essential, after a C-section to consult with a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist. If I’m completely honest, the scar tissue takes a little bit of time to resolve and take some intense work. You know, I wish there was an easy, quick fix.Someone might be like, “Oh, let’s put a laser on it. Let’s ultrasound it. Let’s do this, let’s do that to help break up the scar tissue.” But truly what this needs is  a lot of hands-on work and really getting the abdominal wall moving, and also getting the pelvic floor moving.

A lot of times post C-section I see women who have a really high tone pelvic floors. So the C-section scar has effectively lifted up the pelvic floor. So we would call that an over-engaged pelvic floor. I want to jspread the word about how important that is. So you’re not a woman showing up, you know, 10 years after a C-section on the verge of having a hip replacement. Or really struggling to live and pick up your kids and now take them to sports and do all that stuff because you’ve always wanted to be the super fit mom, but you’ve always struggled with, your back or your hips or your knees.

There’s so much we can do to really get to the root cause of these aches and pains that are affecting your life and your ability to really be with your kids.So I hope that’s helpful information. I’ll just be honest, I’m sharing it in order to help get people the information they need in case they’re experiencing this or suffering with these symptoms.Some people who have had C-sections 10-plus years ago end up having excruciatingly painful and super heavy periods. What can really help improve menstrual cycles is to get the C-section scar moving, even if it was 10 years ago, and just to get the uterus moving again. The uterus is a dynamic organ and it really does have to move within your body. If it’s not moving within your body, and every month during menstruation, you’re trying to slough the lining of the uterus, you have to have some contraction in order to do that. If the uterus can’t move, then its contractions are going to probably be more intense and more painful.

​If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, I just want you to know that there’s hope for you. And I also want you to know just how important it is to address that scar tissue after a C-section.


Allison Feldt

Body Motion Physical Therapy

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