Tips for healing a C-Section (the “no exercise” approaches)
Recovering from a Caesarean fully will require exercise…rehabilitation and stability…. BUT there’s lots you can do that don’t require you to move at all to make a big difference.
There is a huge neurological impact after any major surgery – requiring the re-growing of nerves, and then proper rehabilitation to get train the nervous system to interact properly with the muscles and joints once again.
There are 3 things that can improve and speed up rehabilitation dramatically – through activating the nervous system rather than worrying about working the muscles.
1. Stimulate the sensory nerves and dermatomes in the skin
After a caesarean a large portion of the abdomen feels numb. By scratching the skin on your stomach, or gently using a body brush – it brings the attention of the nervous system to the area -and can speed up healing. It can also be a great self assessment tool – because you can gauge when sensitivity returns to the area.
2 .Massage the scar site
In order to avoid scar tissue causing adhesions, which can inhibit correct activation of the abdominal muscles, give it a gentle rub each day for a few minutes (no pain should be felt). You can also get a qualified therapist to massage the scar tissue. They can assess the quality of healing and can feel superficial adhesions, as well as prevent the surrounding fascia from becoming sticky (technical term) which can make it harder to activate the core musculature.
3. Wear a specifically designed compression garment
It can take time to properly activate your abdominals to be able to create stability for your spine and other join complexes. While my first preference is always to build this stability internally, this isn’t immediately possible post surgery. Support garments can be both pain relieving and aid a quicker recovery. Products like SRC shorts can be great for providing support post surgery (once your body is ready – best to consult the doc on this one). I prefer the shorts to physio tubing only because you can put them on under your clothes and move around easily – tubing can roll up a little, which may limit what you can wear and what activities you can do when wearing it.
Bonus tip: Add some high waisted items to your wardrobe
Once you’re done with the compression garment, high waisted tights are your new best friend. It can take a year to fully repair neurologically (and sometimes if there are other health issues that the body is prioritising I’ve seen it take as long as 2 ). High waisted tights give you a little bit of support (so they are a ‘progression’ from SRC shorts) while your body is doing an amazing job of healing. It makes getting back into exercise during this healing period so much easier, because your body will have that external support while you re-gain full core control.
C-sections are often unplanned, and there can be an emotional journey that goes along with that, as well as the physical recovery. It can feel like there’s an urgency to recover immediately in order to workout and go hard, often this is the last thing we need during this time. Enjoy your baby, celebrate being an amazing mum who brought that precious life into the world, and try these simple things while you get back into exercise at your own pace.