Did You Massage Your C-Section Scar?

I have ran into many questions lately regarding c-section scars and the ability for women to get back to a flat belly.  But it’s not all about a flat belly!  I tend to ask further questions on if they are having any pain or pulling in their abdomen or low back as it may be a sign of adhesions from the scar tissue.  Often, by working on myofascial adhesions and correcting muscle function, women find they are able to use all layers of the abdominal muscles with greater function which in turn may create a flatter belly as a side effect.

Here is an amazing article describing the importance of massaging your c-section scar whether right after surgery or years later.

I have been doing this on myself for nearly 6 years (since my daughter was born) and I also work with my massage therapy clients with past c-sections as well.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions.  With more involved cases I suggest doing a search in your area for a Massage Therapist specialized in Myofascial Massage or Maya Abdominal Massage.

This article can be found at pregnancy.org here.

Massage Your C-Section Scar

by Lynn Leech

Much of the recovery process after a c-section birth feels out of your control. Really, other than “taking it easy,” patients are given little information on how they can help avoid painful issues down the road. However, despite getting very little press from physicians or other resources, there is one simple activity that can aid in both your recovery and long term prognosis — massaging your surgical scar.

When Should You Begin Massaging Your Scar?

Once you get the okay from your doctor that your scar is well healed, usually at your six-week check up, you will want to begin massaging your surgical scar. Beginning sooner may slow the healing process and is not advised. After you have clearance, however, don’t delay to garner maximum benefits! Also note, whether it has been months or even years since your c-section, it isn’t too late to achieve improvements. Trust, this is worth your time to learn more.

Why Should You Massage Your Surgical Scar?

When scar tissue forms it lays its fibers down very haphazardly in all different directions. It also may adhere to tissues you don’t want it to, mainly the fascia and organs. The fascia is a band of connective tissues covering or binding together parts of the body, such as muscles or organs.

In the abdomen it can cause adhesions. Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that bind together body parts that are normally unconnected. Any tissue it comes into contact with may stick to it. With c-sections it’s very common to have an adhesion on your colon, ovary or between your bladder and uterus. Think of these fibers as a tangled mess of yarn that has bounced around your room, wrapped around everything but where it should be! Scar tissue needs to be shown how to lie down properly.

The “training method?” Massage your surgical scar!

 What Happens If I Don’t Massage My Scar?

Many women were never told to massage their surgical incision. “Healing” instructions are often limited to the outer appearance — to avoid redness, watch for signs of infection, etc. Years down the road these same women may endure numerous medical concerns. Without having a more in-depth physical exam, they may not even associate it with their previous c-section.

The most common issue is lower back and pelvic pain. The scar tissue adheres to all the tissues directly in front of the sacrum. The sacrum is the triangular bone located at the base of your spine that joins to a hip bone on each side and forms part of the pelvis. The sacrum needs to be able to bend forward and backwards with all of our movements.

There is fascia that runs from the pubic bone around the bladder, uterus and colon and attaches back to the sacrum. There is also an uterosacral ligament, (another major ligament of the uterus), that can get tight from scar tissue that inhibits the sacrum from moving as freely as it needs to when we bend, twist and walk. This restricted tissue mobility causes limited sacral mobility and is what leads to low back pain. In layman’s terms: Ouch!

C-section scarring can cause frequency of urination. Unbelievably, this symptom can delay until 10 to 15 years after your surgery! You will find yourself feeling like you have to pee every 15-20 minutes, even though you just urinated. Relatively young women may be horrified at this loss of bladder control and stressed by their need to either stay within a fast dash to the toilet or wear Depends™.

So what’s happening? The scar tissue from your surgical incision in the lower abdomen is inhibiting the bladder from expanding fully. Once the bladder tries to expand and it hits the scar tissue it sends a signal up to the brain telling it you need to empty your bladder. The more scar tissue you have, the less the bladder can expand, and the more you will have to go, go, go!

Don’t give up hope! This isn’t like that extensive exercise routine that you can’t seem to become motivated to do. A few minutes of effort on your part of good scar tissue release work will have you back to urinating normally, which is every two to three hours.

Two of the most painful difficulties scar tissue creates are pelvic pain and pain with intercourse. Adhesion on the organs in the pelvis generates tremendous pain. Our organs are very sensitive structures. When their mobility is limited, pain is inevitable. With intercourse the uterus needs to move superiorly out of the way. If scar tissue inhibits this motion, deep thrusting during intercourse can be downright agonizing. This often leads to almost complete avoidance which is likely to cause a strain on the best of relationships for both parties involved.

Infertility issues: Finally, of grave concern to those desiring more children in the future, they may discover that these adhesions have produced infertility issues. Hopes are often dashed on providing a sibling without surgical intervention that may or may not work.

While massaging your c-section scar may not prevent all instances of these issues, it is shown to lessen the risks and/or impact of these matters for your future health in both long and short term! In other words, what are you waiting for?

How does massaging Your Scar Tissue Work?

When you massage your scar you help the scar tissues learn where to lie down and relieve it from growing in unwanted places like on the fascia and surrounding organs. Massage can facilitate increased blood flow, which is beneficial for healing the area. Massage aids in smoothing out thick scars and can help stop the scar from growing larger during the initial phase of healing.

A scar heals in two phases. The first phase, immature, the scar has just initially formed and healed together. During this phase the scar can be itchy, painful or sensitive as the nerve endings within the tissue heal. While the scar will look red initially, it eventually will fade to normal flesh color with maturation. You can get the most effect with exercise, massage and heat application during this phase.

The second phase is a mature scar. With c-sections, scar tissue can form for up to two years. When scar tissue is no longer being produced then the scar is considered mature. At this point, massaging is still beneficial but requires a more disciplined and vigorous approach. Remember, it is never too late to gain some benefit from massaging your surgical scar!

What is the Best Way to Massage Your Surgical Scar?

As soon as the scar is no longer open and considered well healed you can begin gentle massaging. While the scar is in its immature phase you will want to take a mild approach when massaging. Initially the scar may be really tender, red and painful. In this stage it may be best to work around the scar, focusing on the tissues immediately above and below it. As the scar becomes less sensitive you can follow this procedure with your fingers on top of the scar.

Place your fingertips so the pads of your fingers lay just above your scar line. You will want to think of the abdomen as having three layers, though there are many more but we are simplifying things here.

The first layer is the superficial skin. You lightly put your fingers on the skin and see how mobile the skin is in moving up and down and side to side. Think about placing your fingers on a keyboard and you’re checking to see if all the keys move equally in all directions.

Work in the direction of resistance. You may feel it moves down more than it does up so you will want to work more in the upward direction to regain movement in that area. Does it move easier to one side than the other? If so, work more in the direction of resistance, taking the skin till you feel a gentle stretching in the tissue. Hold it there until you feel a release or the tissues melting.

To recap, the movements you want to do are up, down, side to side and also little circles. Start by working the tissues around the scar and, in time, progress to doing it on top of the scar as your pain and tenderness allows. Eventually you will want to be able to roll the scar between your fingertips.

The second layer just below the skin is the muscular layer. Allow your fingers to melt deeper into your abdomen where you feel the abdominal muscles. Check to see how this layer of the tissues moves. Does one side move less than the other side?

I usually find one end of the scar is more restricted than the other side. My theory, which I haven’t proven yet, is the more restricted side is the side the surgeon stood on during the operation. Does that hold true for you?

Repeat the same movements as with the skin — up, down, side to side, and circles. Once again, you want to do it all around the scar and even on top of the scar as pain/tenderness allows.

Feel free to work the entire lower abdomen. Adhesions can form way over on the colon located near your hipbones.

Once more, if you feel an area or direction that doesn’t move very well, encourage in that direction. Gently take the tissues to where they don’t want to go and carefully hold them there. You may feel a slight burning sensation, which is normal for stretching tissues. Hold the tissue at their end range of motion until you feel a softening or melting of the tissues. That is scar tissue releasing. It feels like butter melting under your fingertips.

If you work respectfully with your tissues, not forcing but encouraging the tissue to have more freedom of movement, you can attain that release or melting feeling. Avoid forcing, as the tissue may fight back and never release.

The third layer is the deepest layer working down at the organ level. Right below your scar line lies the small intestines where it rests on top of the uterus and bladder. The bladder sits right behind the pubic bone; the uterus behind and a little up from there.

To reach this level you need to be lying down with your knees bent up to allow the lower abdominal tissues to slacken. This lets your fingers dive deeper into the tissues and abdominal cavity. Not only do you want to do this massaging at your scar level but also lower near the pubic bone, you want to sink below the muscles and see if you can move these deeper tissues side to side and up and down.

This deeper level needs to be released to ensure you don’t develop low back pain or frequency of urination in years to come. Make sure one side feels as mobile as the other side. If it does not, focus your attention to increase mobility in the area of most resistance until you can’t move it any further. Gently hold this position until you feel the tissues melting and releasing under your fingers. Continue to recheck the tissues mobility and see if it matches from side to side.

How Long Do I Need to Continue Scar Massaging?

Initially, massage regularly until your tissues are freely moving in all directions within all three layers. Once you’ve achieved that mobility you will want to check in with the area every so often, whether it’s every other week to once a month for the first year or two after your surgery. If you find the tissues getting tight again return to a more regular massaging routine.

Whether your c-section scar is new, several months, or years old, performing this massage can help you avoid problems down the road. It may sound like a lot of work but spending just five minutes a day can do great things in releasing scar tissue and increasing mobility in your lower abdomen. If you have difficulties doing this or notice your tissues don’t seem to be responding to your efforts, then you should seek out a Women’s Health physical therapist for treatment.

Lynn Leech is a physical therapist with nearly 20 years of experience. She specializes in Women’s Health and Visceral Manipulation. If you’d like to talk to her about your issue or set up an appointment on her website.

Copyright © Lynn Leech. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org.

79 thoughts on “Did You Massage Your C-Section Scar?

  1. Pingback: Massage Advice for Abdominal Scars | Functional Movement Training

  2. I would like to set up a phone appt to discuss treatment for abdominal swelling. I have had 4 C-Sections last one 3/16/2005. IHave had issues since then. I just had a Vaginal Hysterectomy on 12/11/15 and would like to know how to care for myself during recovery. I look foward to hearing from you soon.i


      • Wow!! I’m thinking I may have a hernia;because I’m having pain in lower right side of back,swollen in right side of pelvic area.It has been like this for a few months now. I had a c section six years ago.What should I do???

  4. Thank you for this information. Do you have suggestions as to what to massage with, i.e., certain essential oils, just your basic lotion.

  5. I have a question. I have endometriosis a chiropractor used to massage and forcefully yank my uterus and ovaries back to where they should be. Later a surgeon told me I was soo bunched up he scraped for 9 hours from my navel to bowels uterine tissue and removed my uterus and cervix. Two years later I have painless bulges . He checked me and said I was fine. I believe it is scarred muscle or bunched up muscles . Do you know what massage techniques I can use to smooth those areas?

  6. Such great information. Thank you so much!
    I hope it’s not too late for me to get results and relief from these massages. I am 39 yrs old, I had a C-Section 19 yrs ago and another 17 yrs ago, then 13 yrs later had scar tissue/adhesions/endo removed from around my scar. I have so much leg pain, low back pain, and pelvic pain that I see a pain doctor. Something has to change because obviously I can’t live on it for the rest of my life. The pain is low pelvic(I guess?) and theres a large knot on the left right above scar again EXACTLY where they’ve removed it before. My doctor says the thing about ppl with Endometriosis removing scar tissue, among other things such as organs lol, is that endo will cause abnormal growth around scar tissue. I guess surgery is not even an option for me. Hopefully I can find massage therapist around McKinney, Texas (Dallas area). Thanks for your suggestions.

  7. Wow. Very informative. I’ve been searching for answers now and this has been helpful. I’ve seen so many drs (neurologists, pain specialists, ER visits, etc) and no one seems to help me. I’ve been having severe pain about 1-2 inches above my incision directly above stretching all the way almost to my hips. This was immediate post csection. Shortly after, I’ve been having severe back pain (mid especially but also lower). Also a pain about 2 inches under my breast. I’ve honestly been feeling so defeated because I can hardly hold my baby I’ve been in so much pain.
    My family dr thinks I may have adhesions. Wants to possibly do procedure where they insert camera to check. I’m scared to get cut at all again. I’m seeing physical therapist also. If I do have adhesions, (I’m 3 months post csection and still in sooo much pain to the touch) if I do not get them surgically removed, will this create an issue?
    I’m feeling very defeated.

    • Hi Rose,
      Thanks for sharing your situation. Your family doc and Physical Therapist (PT) know your situation the best, but you could maybe search out a massage therapist with experience in post C-section massage as PTs sometimes go too aggressive with Manual Therapy. Is your PT working with you on core strength and coordination? Breathing exercises? There are so many variables to consider in your situation so it’s hard to give solid advice online.
      If it were me, I would try and find an experienced massage therapist and get work done far away from the point of pain and then work towards it slowly. For the pain in your mid-back, you may consider your posture as a source. Breast feeding, holding the baby and changing the baby do not encourage proper posture. If you think it may be posture, try some gentle back strengtheners (bungee row) and chest opening stretches (try this one http://youtu.be/vvPMb1FWF9c)
      Keep me posted on what helps your pain and feel free to ask other questions!

  8. Hello, I just came across this blog wish I’d known about it years ago after my C-section I’ve had 4 the last one was 6 years ago, just wondering if the Adhesions/Scarring are redudced by messaging and or Acupuncture can I have more C-Sections, because my doctor told me with my last that my lining of uterus was paper thin and lots of scarring??????

    • Adhesions and scarring can be reduced with massage. Of course there are many variables for each individual case. Since I’m not an acupuncturist, I can’t speak on the success of it, but I would recommend trying it. Both acupuncture and massage therapy can be effective, but your doctor holds the most information because of working with you directly.

  9. I had a c-section 16 years ago and didn’t do any massage afterward. Before my c-section I never had menstrual cramps, but afterward I did. Four years ago I had another c-section. The surgeon said that there was scar tissue connecting my uterus to my abdominal wall, and he cleaned it up. Since then, no menstrual cramps! The massage sounds like a fantastic idea, I wish I’d heard of it sooner, but better late than never!

  10. 2 months after my third csection I started getting pain down my leg…that turned into painful spasms in my leg and butt….this turned into a siatica problem….so for an entire month I have no stood up straight. The physical therapist started massaging my scar and almost immediatly I could stand up straight for about a minute…my foot evenutal went to sleep so I sat down. So last night I had a fever of 103 …but when I woke up I could stand substaincially straighter without but spasms …but now I am peeing my self every five minutes. I dont understand if I have done something …I was going three days a week to get scar mesaaged and I woul masage in between sessions. Some of my skin around incision is also red and irritaed but dr says it not infected.

  11. Thanx for the info. Ive had my daughter 2 years ago via c-section, and I have been busting my behind dieting and exercising trying to loose weight since! I cant seem to see progress in my abdomen because of my protruding belly! Will the hanging gut above my pelvis ever pick up, and will me massaging my scar gradually help loosen the muscles making it easier to burn the fat!? Please tips and advice needed!!

    • Bad news: Burning fat is solely about your metabolism. It’s not possible to spot burn or reduce. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.
      Good news: the massage may help with greater muscle activation and help build core strength as a whole. You can also find my Facebook page (Lori Frederic CSCS) and get more tips there.

  12. Pingback: Pelvic Floor Function through Squats, Not Kegels | Balance Biomechanics

  13. Thank you for the information I had a c section three months ago and I ve never been told of massaging it.at the moment its itchy .will definately start with the massaging.

  14. I had a keloid scar pretty badly from the time of my c section. I have been using the Dr max Powers Scar Serum twice a day on the scar, and 18 weeks later the scar is very small and the right side is starting to fade. 

  15. Thank you for this info! I have had 2 c-sections, the second with twins and a ventral hernia repair w/ abdominoplasty. My last surgery was 10 years ago. I have always been active, running a half marathon and working with a trainer, but recently I started a new circuit training resistance class. My c-setion scar has been burning, pulling and feels as though it is tearing. I have worked my abdominal muscles in the past, but always felt as though I had nerve damage and couldn’t really “feel” the area around the c section incision. Now I am a little concerned. Do you think this is adhesion pain? Is it common for these symptoms to pop up so many years later? I have already started massaging the area, any further thoughts?
    Thanks!, jenny

    • Me too, my last section was 9yrs ago. I’ve also been fairly active as well and I’m experiencing the same types of pain and discomfort. What types of treatment did u find useful? Thanks from Rebecca feeling debilitated…

  16. I have had 4 c sections and am just now finding out about the importance of massaging the scar tissue. I have a lump running along my scar that I thought was probably the scar tissue. I have had no pain with the scar or the tissue but have started the massage sine it seems there is tissue build up and it seemed worth it to massage. It has been 4 months since my last c section. I have started massaging briefly and it does not hurt to massage but I have certainly been sore ever since I started. Is that common? I would like to keep working the tissue if that is going to promote. Better healing but I don’t know if I am doing something wrong that is causing the soreness.

    • Meredith,
      Where are you sore?
      It is common to have muscle soreness (like after a good workout sore) because releasing scar tissue and fascia adhesions often creates new muscle function. This may be in the abdomen, gluteals, hip flexors or others. Remember, it has only been 4 months and your body is still getting back to it’s “normal” so some muscle soreness may also be from that.
      However, long term soreness (more than 1 week)after you stop massaging isn’t normal and it is wise to check it with your doctor.

      • I am no longer sore which is great. It was more of a muscle soreness like you mentioned above. However, how often should I massage and for how long? I remember about every other day or so and do it for a few minutes. should I devote more time? I feel like I have kind of given up that the bump and lopsidedness of my abdomen will ever look normal again but if you say it may go away I will keep at it! Any advice?

  17. Hi, I had a csection 6 weeks ago. I’ve been experiencing severe pubic/pelvic pain. The pain is not constant, I only experience it when I stand up after being in a sitting position for long. The pain is so severe that I can hardly walk. But it does subside after like 15 mins or so. Is this normal? Also i have a decreased urine flow… Is this common after a csection? Please help.

    • Hi Ammara, I must first say that I cannot say what is normal because I don’t know YOUR normal. It’s different for everyone.
      However, the pain after sitting may be related to all the changes to the abdominal muscles and pelvic complex from pregnancy and now post-pregnancy. It takes time for all the accommodations for baby to get back to “normal”. You might want to try gentle core exercises while you are sitting. For example, just exhaling to completion or pelvic tilts/motion (possibly on a fit ball).
      As far as the decreased urine flow, I do not know as that is not my area of specialty. I would suggest asking your OBGYN. On some occasions scar tissue from the C-section can affect the bladder so after you check with your doctor, you can try some of the gentle massage to see if it helps.

  18. Dear April, I had a c-section 9 years ago. In 2009 started getting chronic bladder infections. After a while I still was in pain but didn’t test positive for any infections, I was told that I have Interstitial Cystitis, I also started having a lot of food allergies at the same time. None of the conventional treatments for IC worked.
    Following an IC and gluten/dairy free diet helps with some of the bladder symptoms but I’m unable to wear pants or have intercourse. This will cause a bladder/vaginal pelvic flare with swelling which will last days. Last month, while on vacation I got an opinion from a new PT who told me that my C-section was slightly too low.
    I’ve been doing the c-section massages and my pain is getting worse deep into the c-section and also throughout my bladder, lower back pain and pelvis as well as deep vagina pain. Could the diagnosis of scar tissue and adhesion be finally the answer to my last five years of chronic pain?
    Any suggestions why my pain is considerably worse after the massages and last for several weeks and what are your thoughts about a too low incision?
    Thank you so much!

    • If you have severe pain that lasts for weeks then you need to get it checked out. Pain from releasing scar tissue shouldn’t last that long. Sometimes there is muscle soreness after the release as it changes the muscle function of the core muscles. If you are currently seeing a Physical Therapist you can ask there.
      I’m sorry, I haven’t heard of a scar too low and without seeing you, I can’t make a proper opinion.

  19. I had my cesarean about 5 months ago and tried the massage yesterday. Today I am so sore! We’re talking severe cramp-like pain in the lower andominal area. Did I do something wrong? I’m afraid that something may be wrong!

    • April, you are the best judge of YOUR body. If you think something is wrong, please go see your doctor. Once you have more information, it’s possible to figure out why you got so sore.

  20. Thank you for this post!! I looked online after my Caesarian and could not find any directions on how to message my scar. So happy I stumbled upon your post. I talked to OB after the Caesarian and she said that the more tender side of the scar is the side they put the knots in.

  21. Hello and thank you for your amazing website and knowledge. It is unfortunate that OBs don’t advise us about the necessity of postoperative massage.
    I had an emergency hysterectomy in November which left me with constant pain and disfigured scar area, not to mention bladder problems. I had a second surgery to remove remaining ovary due to pathology tests. My pain and bladder problems got worse.
    Last Thursday I had a surgery to rectify the scar adhesion problems. I’m very hopeful and now, thanks to your website I know I have to perform the scar massage.
    My question is, how soon should I start the three-layered massage to prevent another scar adhesion?
    Thank you. The

  22. Correction to my post above. The Dr wanted me to go on medication to treat my hyper bladder as that he thought was a problem

  23. Hello. Thank you for this amazing website and knowledge. Finally something informative after a long search.
    I had a hysterectomy in November and was never told anything about massaging the scar. Within weeks my scar adhered to tissues below and I started experiencing bladder issues, urgency…… Dr wanted me to go on message treating hyper bladder, but me research revealed sides effects such as depression, so I didn’t take it. Oher symptoms included back pain and pelvic pain…not to mention horrible appearance of the scar area.
    Last Thursday I had a surgery to remove the scar tissues from superficial and deeper layers. I’m very hopeful and thanks to this website I know about the need for massage. Thank you
    My question is, how soon can I start massaging my scar?
    Thank you again.

  24. I think I have the worst yet. My last C section was 25 years ago. I started having bladder urgency and frequency about 18 years ago. I have taken medication I.e Detrol, acupuncture , Botox injections, and nerve simulations through my leg and nothing has help. It really is getting worse. I have gone from light panty shields to very large pads. I feel hopeless. Now I am being treated for IC and don’t think it is working. I will look for a physical therapist in my area. Any other suggestion ?

    • Where is your area Gail? Maybe someone knows a good massage therapist already, and I can check my sources as well. In the meantime, try the self massage. Begin at the public bone if you’re able as the bladder is behind it.

  25. Ok I am completely pain free after 4 visits to the acupunture/chiroprator I am healing great…I really do believe in alternative meds. and massage it works Im living proof

    • Hi Gina

      Do you still feel good without any pain? Do you have to do anything after those 4 sessions on regular basis?
      I have had c section 5 years ago and I still have pain around periods, while sneezing, coughing. If it gets worse then I can’t even stretch / exercise.

      • No pain on the scar or lower back. I have not felt any pain and my scar returned back to natural color of my skin. My chiroprator is amazing Love that man

  26. Samantha & Amanda – you might want to consider the possibility of a “dissolvable” suture or stitch that never dissolved. I have a bump that is like a little bead close to a scar from my knee reconstruction. I massage it in circles, press firmly on it and try to roll the skin around it. It is stubborn and painful. For me, there has never been any redness or swelling to indicate an infection so I figure it has just encapsulated itself. I continue to make sure the tissue around it isn’t adhering together.
    The great thing about massage Amanda is that you can always try it out gently and work on progressing your pressure and manipulation. If you ever have pain that does not subside or you become inflamed or red in the area, then you need to get it checked out.

  27. This sounds like it could help me. I had a c section 4 months ago. I have a lump above my scar on the right side that has not gone away. My doctor said its a mad muscle that should go away or could be removed with the next c section. I didn’t like that diagnosis! Do you think your massage technique can help? The muscle is pretty firm.

  28. Im seeing a acupuncture doctor is actually sticking needles in the scar for healing.Mine is 2 yrs old but recently had a issue with it, when lifting something heavy it turned purple and well it also caused really bad lower back pain that was so horrible I was in so much pain. after seeing only one time my back pain has decreased from a level 10 to a 2. Im going back tomorrow but what he told me
    to do is get a soft toothbrush and brush the scar. hopefully Ill be pain free soon

  29. Hi .

    I had an emergency c section 10 months ago. Since then I feel a pulling feeling and heavyness on the right side of my tummy. I also feel the pulling just below m belly button. This feelin gets worse after I have been rushing around, exercising or walking. When I press down I can feel hard lumps in those areas. Does anyone know what this could be? I have been seeing a consultant but she doesn,t really know either. I,m getting frustrated with it now as its holiding me back from loosing weight and I still look 6 months pregnant.

    • Great website! I had my third section end of Jan, I can feel the odd hard lump as I feel along my scar line & one a little higher, towards the right of my belly button. (And yes this is the side the surgeon worked on!) They feel a little tender too/bruise like sensation. Is this scar tissue?

      • I saw a different doctor a few days ago and she thinks I have an umbilical hernia, as after exercising or rushing around all day I start to feel a lump under my belly button and right side of it. The doc said I would need an op to remove it. I was hoping it would be scar tissue that I could massage. Has anyone else had this problem? I’m dreading another op.

      • Unfortunately, scar tissue doesn’t come and go depending on activity. And if it is a hernia, massage will not seal the tear and you would need to get it repaired. I’m not a fan of operations but a hernia repair is often minor and often successful. After the repair, massage is beneficial in preventing a reoccurrence. Hope that helps.

      • Hello Smantha,

        I had a baby girl in emergency c-section and i m having the same issue of hard lump below my belly. But when i press the stomach then i feel it there is no pain nothing! what happen to you lump?

  30. It’s been almost five years since I’ve had my C-Section and as years past I’ve had incidents where certain organs will pop out whether I’m just standing, bending over or even trying to exercise the ab area. Also, this week I started to experience a strain every time I sneeze or cough near the right or left side of my incision scar. I literally have to hold the area or brace myself so I do not feel that pull or strain in the area. Would that be caused by adhesions? Is this going to be a problem that stays with me or will massaging help? I really do not want it to come to surgery to solve the problem. I’d honestly would rather do the massaging or any other alternative. Thank your for any advice!

    • Josie, when you say “certain organs will pop out”, are you saying they protrude from the abdominal area by the scar? If so, that is not a symptom I am familiar with in regards to adhesions and scar tissue from a c-section.
      My husband had an abdominal hernia where there was a visible protrusion of fluid or possibly intestine that didn’t cause much pain but was more of an annoyance. He had a small procedure to insert a mesh patch ov er the area and has been fine ever since.
      I would suggest seeing a physician to rule anything like that out. The pain with sneezing/coughing is a familiar symptom of scar tissue and massage has been known to help in most cases.

      • Thank you for your response. Was just curious if you knew if C-sections weaken Ab area and may cause the hernia? I should have said hernia but I just said certain organs because I do not know if that’s what it is. I just feel something move and it ends up protruding and I usually put pressure on it till it goes back down.

        As for the massaging I shall try that and thank you again!

      • I’m not certain of any evidence of c-sections leading to hernias.
        In regards to massage, pretend there is a large circle around the hernia area and begin at the furthest points from it. Begin working your way towards the hernia and not too close to the edge as to not risk making it bigger.

  31. Hello!

    I’be been experiencing pain on my right side as well!!! It’s been 3 months, ran some tests, everything is normal so far. I had a c-section 6 years ago with my first child. Could it be scar tissues???? Well, I’m not sure what the symptoms are but I’be been having this pain ….when I touch my hip bone, it kills me …when I sit for a long time, I feel pain, too. I on’t have heavy beeing in my perio, I don’t have sever pain in my period and I don’t have pain uring intercourse…….
    I’m scared of the idea of surgery to remove tissues, I can’t even think about it…… Does massaging really help?????

    • If the source is scar tissue, then YES massage really helps. It is important to stay consistent. If you want to find a massage therapist to help, search for “myofascial massage” or “neuromuscular massage”

  32. This sounds fabulous thanks for your information. I found you while looking for massage to help heal scars. My daughter is going in for a spinal fusion procedure as yet we haven’t got a date and I totally forgot to ask about healing scar as she/we had so many other questions. Do you have any info, sites or help for our situation? She has started yoga to help strengthen etc and although this will be a long slow healing process at least being 16 she should heal quickly. Hearing what you say though – we will have to wait until its healed. I will hopefully be able to speak to consultant surgeon again but any information from yourself will be taken on board. Thank you so much!

    • I’m so happy you found me Karen. Yes, all scars have the same problems with scar tissue and adhesions. The scars around the spine are often tricky to work with as there isn’t as much space between all of the smaller intricate muscles and vertebrae.
      Have you exhausted all your options for your daughter? Spinal fusion at 16 sets her up for many compensations down the road, even though her scar will heal fast. I love that she is doing yoga. Hopefully with an experienced teacher to keep her spine safe. If you don’t know all of her options please let me know here in the comments and I’m happy to email you my number to discuss.
      I’ve seen many older clients who had spinal fusions many years ago and I must say its a wicked game of catch up with the scar tissue and muscle function.

  33. Pingback: C-section scar pain - after three years?

  34. Great article! This is a huge help. I have a horizontal c-section scar and a horizontal hysterectomy scar just below the c-section scar. The c-section scar is 28 years old and the hysterectomy scar is 9 years old. I never massaged either one. (I think the hysterectomy incision must have cut through the c-section scar tissue because the c-section scar got softer after the hysterectomy.) I began wondering if scar tissue from these surgeries could be causing my problems, went searching online, and found your article. I have been doing self massage for over a week with good results. However, the good results wear off and I must massage again, which is better than the alternative. I do yoga and am pretty aware of my body. It feels like there may be strands of scar tissue on both sides my public bone running to my hip bones. Any suggestions?

  35. Ana, it is great that you set a goal to massage your scar everyday. It is important to let pain be your guide. If you are able to get a good 10 minutes and find you are sore the next day, lay off for a day or two. But 10 minutes is a good guide to let the area warm up and let you in.

  36. I had my c-section 6 weeks ago André my flesh scar has an adhesion to the muscle layer. My doctor told me to massage it with oil. How many minutes should I do it for every day?

  37. Hopefully you can help – after my first c-section(2005) I had a pain in the groin. It usually came after a sneeze or cough. At my 6week check up my obstetrician said I was still tender and it would go away. 8 months later I was pregnant again the pain continued. After having to have another c-section I noticed the pain was worse and it did not go away like I was told. 7years later I still get the pain in the groin after sneezing/coughing but now the pain will literally drop me to the floor, I have pain in my right hip which extends into the buttock and down the right leg and I have a bit of lower back pain. I am now concerned with changes in bowel movements, everything from increase in frequency (upto 4 times a day) to it being hard, soft and in between. In the last couple of days I have noticed that when I use my bladder first thing in the morning I feel a discomfort from the bladder all the way down.
    I have read so many articles that tell me scar tissue can cause all this and more but I am a lconfused.
    Is anyone else experiencing any of these symptoms?
    My ob/gyn suggested surgery to cut out the scar tissue, but did mention risks associated with creating more scar tissue and perforating the bowel, not to mention the 2-3 week recovery.
    My physio did treat me with some massage to the groin (and you are correct it does come with a fair amount of pain) but I am not sure if all my symptoms are due to the scar tissue.
    I realize this forum is related to massage and not the symptoms but, this is the most current site I ave found.

  38. it has been 4 years and I still have little feeling in my stomach (sometimes almost like when your foot is asleep before the tingle), will this help with that too?

    • It’s hard to say from a distance. I can say that I consistently work on my lower abdominal area and have felt something similar to what you describe. Fair warning though, the area for me “unlocked” and was pretty intense all of the sudden but then I slowly worked through it.
      Keep me posted.

  39. I stumbled across your page in search of answers about my back pain and scar pain after c section so far you have given me more hope than any others out there. I have immediately started to massage and will have a talk with my gp. I have just been expecting that the pain would go away on its own but after 14 months its just getting worse. Thankyou Annalise NZ

  40. It’s been so reassuring reading everyone’s comments. I had a c section three years ago and for about 18 months or a bit longer i have had pain in my lower abdomen on my right side mainly. Sometimes it’s just a niggle and can spread along and under my whole scar. Other times it’s persistent pain which seems to reoccur in the same or similar spot. I have been back and forth to the doctor who keeps putting the pain down to a cyst. I feel ache’s in my low back, aching near pelvic floor area too. When I go to sit down I feel it as well as sometimes when I need to go to the toilet. Does this seem normal? Not once was I told to massage my scar but I will definitely make this part of my daily routine.

  41. V interesting. I had lower back pain before my pregnancy too. Its been 6 months since my c section, but i do feel lower abdominal pain occasionally and lower back pain quite frequently. i feel my skin is hypersensitive around certain areas of scar and palpation around it sometimes hurts. Do u suggest i should do all three layers at one time or take it slow, one layer at a time. how frequently do i need to do it initially?

    • Sorry for the delay.
      I would recommend you take things at a pace that doesn’t make you too sore. If you find you can do some scar work but get site soreness that affects your movement, then that is too much. However, there will be some discomfort when breaking up scar tissue and releasing fascia. One day of discomfort or a bruised feeling is a possible pain guide.
      In regards to your lotion question, I recommend light use. There needs to be enough traction to affect the underlying scar tissue but not so much that you have redness afterwards.

  42. I recommend doing a search for a specialist in Maya Abdominal Massage before you discuss removal of adhesions because yes, another procedure may only produce more adhesions and scarring. Start gently but know that breaking up scar tissue comes with plenty of discomfort, i.e. pain. If you deal with small areas initially, it should help.

  43. My last c section was 21 years ago. Finally this year a doc found adhesions all over abdominal area. I hav had very bad pain for 15 years. 24 hours a day. What about removing adhesions? I read that can cAn come back worse. And what kind of doctor should I see?

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