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C-section: prevent scar adhesions and

regain abdominal strength

What is C-section and common post C-section symptoms?

Cesarean birth or C-section is the delivery of a baby through incisions made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus.

Superficial and deep C-section scars, if left untreated, can cause pelvic pain, increased menstrual pain, abdominal cramps, and pain in the area of the scar itself. These symptoms might be caused by possible nerve irritation in the scar area, scar tissue compromising the nearby pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, small intestine, large intestine), and scar tissue tightness, and can be addressed by a women's health physical therapist. 

Other common post C-section symptoms include pain with positional changes, pain lifting up your child, low back pain, and urinary incontinence. These symptoms are caused by core, abdominal, and pelvic floor muscle weakness and should also be addressed by your physical therapist.

How long should I wait before I seek treatment after a C-section?

Allow 6-8 weeks for your body to heal before starting physical therapy after you had a C-section.

How can physical therapy help me restore after C-section?

Your physical therapist will perform a detailed examination to identify the causes of your symptoms. Your therapist also will determine whether you should be referred to a physician for additional tests.  

The treatment after C-section will focus on manual therapy (scar mobilization, myofascial release, visceral manipulation, connective tissue manipulation, SI joint adjustments), as well as on core, abdominal, and pelvic floor muscle strengthening. We will also provide education on how to modify your every day activities to prevent symptom worsening. This may include lifting techniques, protection techniques with sneezing, coughing, getting up from a chair. 

Depending on your symptoms and level of discomfort, your physical therapist may use biofeedback to make you aware of how your pelvic-floor muscles work and how you can control them better. Electrodes attached vaginally or rectally will provide measurements of muscle activity and display them on a monitor, and the therapist will work with you to help you understand and change those readings. The therapist also may use electrical stimulation to improve your awareness of your muscles and increase muscle strength.

How soon can I expect to see improvements?

Each patient is unique, so this time frame can vary greatly. Research shows that depending on the severity of your condition, it takes from 2 weeks to a few months of treatment to improve symptoms of dispareniria. We most often request a frequency of 2-3 times a week for 12 total visits. That is why our office staff will ask you to schedule all 12 of your sessions before starting therapy. If you need more than 12 sessions, your therapist will discuss this with you after you have completed 12 visits and you will decide together whether continuing with therapy would benefit you or not. If so, your therapist will reevaluate you and send a progress note to your physician requesting an extension.

What are the credentials of my uro-gynecologycal physical therapist?

Uro-gynecological physical therapists have been trained in internal vaginal and rectal evaluation and treatment techniques and are by our state license legally allowed and qualified to perform these procedures.

All licensed physical therapists have had to apply and be selected to attend Physical Therapy school. It is a very competitive process and only those will the highest grades and best potential are selected. Doctors of physical therapy have invested a minimum of 7 years into their undergraduate and graduate training at universities. Once they graduate, they have to sit for a State Board Exam and pass to receive their license to practice. In order to keep their license active, they must dedicate a certain number of hours to continuing education each year.

At Anchor Physical Therapy we also require that therapists attend multiple post-graduate continuing education courses every year to stay up to date with latest research and continuously enhance their treatment skills in order to achieve the best possible treatment outcomes for our patients.

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