Purpose: Abdominal muscle strength decreases and fat ratio in the waist region increases following cesarean section. Kinesio taping (KT) is an easily applicable method and stimulates muscle activation. The aim of this pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to investigate the effects of KT combined with exercise in women with cesarean section on abdominal recovery compared to the exercise alone.
Methods: Twenty-four women in between the fourth and sixth postnatal months who had cesarean section were randomly assigned to KT + exercise (n = 12) group or exercise group (n = 12). KT was applied twice a week for 4 weeks on rectus abdominis, oblique abdominal muscles and cesarean incision. All women were instructed to carry out posterior pelvic tilt, core stabilization and abdominal correction exercises. Outcome measures were evaluated with the manual muscle test, sit-up test, abdominal endurance test, Visual Analog Scale (VAS), circumference measurements and Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ). Mann-Whitney U and Wilcoxon tests were used to analyze data. p < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.
Results: The improvement observed in the KT + exercise group was significantly greater compared to the exercise group in terms of the strength of the rectus abdominis muscle, sit-up test, VAS, measurements of the waist circumference and RMDQ (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: It appears that the addition of KT to abdominal exercises in the postnatal physiotherapy program provides greater benefit for the abdominal recovery in women with cesarean section. Further studies with larger sample sizes and long-term follow-up are needed to verify these results.
Keywords: Abdominal muscles; Cesarean section; Exercise; Pregnancy; Taping; Women’s health.