C-section Tips: Dealing with shoulder pain post C-section

You have just had your abdomen cut open and yet here you are, a few hours or days post C-section, and you have an awful pain in your shoulder.  Of course, your shoulder is the last place you expect to feel any pain so you could be left scratching your head about what could possibly be the cause, especially when the incision is on the other side of you body, much lower down.

Unfortunately shoulder pain is relatively common post C-section and is in fact referred pain from irritation in and around the abdominal and diaphragm area.  It is often from trapped air but also other irritants in the peritoneal cavity such as blood and fluid.

Gas build up post C-section is very common and can be extremley painful in the shoulder area. Like all other gas issues it does eventually ease but if you want to give it a little helping hand here are a few tips to send it on its way.

Flavoured teas

Drinking herbal or flavoured teas can help to ease the pain at the root cause by dealing with the excess gas in your system.  Peppermint tea is considered a great one for any stomach issues and may help your digestive system get back to normal after the surgery.



Getting up and about is a great way to disperse any gas lurking inside.  While post C-section walking can be difficult or even a bit painful just take it slow and try if you can to get a little bit of gentle walking done each day; even if just around the house.  It will certainly help with moving the gas along more quickly.


Hot compress

Holding a hot compress across your belly and indeed across your shoulder can help to soothe any aches and pains.

Gentle stomach massage

A gentle stomach massage can help to break up pockets of gas but after a C-section great care should be taken due to the nearby incision which you do not want to injure of irritate.

Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is often taken by those wanting to reduce levels of gas in their system.  While activated charcoal (or carbon) is generally used for those with levels of poisoning it is also commonly used for those with gastrointestinal issues including flatulence.

Keep your bowels moving

An issue for many C-section Mums post C-section is getting their bowels back in working order again.  The surgery, as well as strong pain medication, can make things a little sluggish.  If your bowels are slow or causing pain or discomfort make sure to take an appropriate laxative and get yourself back into a proper toilet rhythm again.

Take some pain relief

As with any pain you may be experiencing after your C-section it is so important to keep on top of pain relief and not let the pain take hold.  Even if the only pain you have is in your shoulder ease it with some pain relief; whether prescription strength from your medical practitioner or over the counter medication.


Disclaimer: This is not a substitute for medical advice.  If you have any concerns post surgery please discuss them with your medical practitioner. The usual C-section Mums disclaimer applies 

Did you have shoulder pain after your C-section?  Did you have any other ways to ease it?  If you have any other suggestions please do share them in the comments below.

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