Physical Therapy Exercises for Abdominal Adhesions

by Rachel Nall

About Rachel Nall

Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.

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An adhesion is another name for scar tissue. Abdominal adhesions most commonly form following abdominal surgery but can also be caused by inflammation related to appendicitis or infection in your organs. This scar tissue can be painful, causing you to experience cramping and even intestinal obstruction. If you experience abdominal adhesions, you can use physical therapy exercises to relieve symptoms and soften scar tissue. Obtain permission from your physician before beginning a stretching program to ensure you can stretch safely.

Cobra Pose

The cobra is a yoga pose that is very effective in stretching the abdominal wall. Begin by lying on your stomach, with your hands at your shoulders, palms facing down. Push your hands against the floor to lift your upper body. Your hipbones and pelvis should remain on the ground. Avoid letting your shoulders rise toward your earlobes. Take a few deep breaths as you feel the stretch in front of your abdomen and lower back. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat three times.

Side Twists

Twisting stretches can stretch your adhesions from a different angle. You can perform this stretch while seated or standing. Hold your arms out to your sides at shoulder height, with your palms down. Maintain your arms at shoulder level as you twist to your right, putting the left hand forward and right arm backward. Take deep breaths as you feel the stretch in your abdomen. Hold this position for 15 seconds, then rest and alternate to your opposite side. Repeat three times for each side.

Cat/Cow Stretch

The cat/cow exercise gently massages your abdominal walls to facilitate abdominal stretching. Begin on all fours, with your back straight and pelvis tucked slightly in. Slowly arch your back and round your shoulders to create a C-curve -- like a cat with its back arched -- in the spine. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Release the stretch to lower the back, creating a reversed U shape with your back. Your head should look forward. Hold for 10 seconds, then release the stretch. Repeat the cat/cow position three times through.

Supta Virasana

For more advanced exercisers, the supta virasana, or reclining hero pose, stretches the lower pelvic region. Start by kneeling, with your hands at your sides. Slowly lower your buttocks toward the ground while moving your feet outward until you are seated. Lean backward, and place your hands on the ground, walking them back until your entire torso is on the ground. You may wish to place a rolled-up towel or bolster pillow under your back for support. Hold your arms at your sides with your palms facing up as you stretch and breathe deeply. Remain in this position for one to five minutes. Use your arms to push your torso up, and then unfold your legs.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.