Surgery, especially in the abdominal area, guarantees a big certainty with it. You can be certain that you will have c-section nerve damage. You can’t slice into this area without cutting through a few nerves.
As such, this is why it’s a pain – literally – as you recover.
Nerve regeneration after a c-section happens, though, and it’s just a matter of being patient as you recover. If you’ve got burning nerve pain after your c-section, keep reading to find out more about c-section nerve damage treatment, what’s normal, and when you should worry.
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Can you get nerve damage after C-section?
Yes, as I just mentioned, you can. You can also get nerve damage from any abdominal surgery. It goes with the territory.
However, long-term nerve damage is incredibly rare. So if you’re feeling funky post c-section, try not to panic and let your body heal.
The human body is an amazing machine, really. It will heal, and you’ll be back to your old self in most cases. Sometimes, injured nerves don’t heal correctly, though. As such, you might wind up with a few short-term or long-term symptoms.
Knowing what to look for can help you have a conversation with your doctor to see if you still just need to be patient or if you’re among the rarer set of people with c-section nerve damage.
With a c-section, if you feel some pain around the edges of your scar. It may feel hypersensitive or like a burning sensation. Some get an electric shock type of feeling. It’s the result of your nerves and could indicate that the genitofemoral, ilioinguinal, or iliohypogastric nerves have been affected.
But if you put pressure on that area and it doesn’t create that pain, then it’s not nerve damage. Likely, it is just some bruising or slight injury. It could also be trapped in scar tissue.
So, these painful sensations are good news in that you should heal up soon. An indication of nerve damage is generally numbness.
But what if you get a weird pain in your shoulders? That would be phrenic nerve pain after a c-section. Your bowels get a bit more sluggish after your c-section, which means gas can push on your diaphragm. When that happens, it triggers the phrenic nerve, making you feel pain in your shoulders.
It is usually sharp and shooting, tending to be on your right side. Anti-gas medications and moving around can generally help you feel better with this. Sometimes, shoulder pain is caused by referred pain that comes from another part of your body yet is felt elsewhere. This will also dissipate shortly after birth. If it happens while you’re in the hospital, make sure to tell your doctor and nurses.
If it happens once you’ve been healing at home, make sure you call the doctor if it persists.
What are the signs of nerve damage after a C-section?
Again, I want to reassure you that long-term nerve damage is exceptionally uncommon. Nerves heal all on their own in most cases. If you feel any weirdness, it is not an indication that something was done improperly during your procedure either, though you should keep an eye on things so your doctor can look out for your best interests.
So, how do you know if there’s a problem or you’re just a nervous nelly?
The signs of nerve damage can include:
- Pain in the form of burning, stabbing, shooting, shocking, or even searing around your scar, in your groin area, or on the inner thighs.
- Pain caused by something like water falling on your skin from the shower.
- Feelings of numbness, burning or tingling on your outer thigh and down to your knees.
- Having tenderness on the sides of your abdomen.
- Pain that seems to wrap around your body, emanating from that c-section scar and your back.
Now, it’s important to rest up and heal as the doctor tells you to before that postpartum checkup. With each passing week, you should notice that you feel more normal and can move more freely. However, if these symptoms don’t improve after 6 months, you will definitely want to have things checked out.
How do you fix nerve damage after C-section?
Try not to worry because what you’re feeling is most likely temporary. If it isn’t, though, your doctor can give you medications to help stabilize the nerves. You may also get non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, topical patches, or creams.
However, it’s best to let your doctor check things out. Again, this nerve stuff usually resolves itself in time, but if it doesn’t, your doctor will be able to help.
How long does it take for nerves to heal after C-section?
Please remember, Mama, it takes time for your whole body to heal. That includes your nerves. You must allow proper recovery time for your body.
Through the process of c-section surgery, you will have some nerves cut. It may take up to 6 months for these nerves to completely heal again. Some of you may feel just fine after a few weeks. Others of you may need several months before you feel normal again.
I felt mostly better after about 4 to 6 weeks with my first. By the time I went for my postpartum checkup, I felt normal (except for that lack of sleep that comes with having a newborn). After my second, I felt like it took me a bit longer for my midsection to feel normal. Looking back, it was about 8 weeks on that recovery.
So, in short, just pay attention to the symptoms. Know that some weird feelings are very normal as your body regenerates and heals. And if you feel like something isn’t right, it’s always ok to call your doctor and ask rather than worry yourself unnecessarily.
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs. She loves eating too much sushi, exercise, and jamming out on her Fender.