Diastasis recti occurs when the connective tissue between the outermost abdominal muscles is stretched too far. When the space between your left and right belly muscles is widened, it causes the belly to stick out. The condition is common among pregnant women although it can affect anyone: men, women, and children as well. If left untreated, diastasis recti can potentially lead to poor core stabilization, pelvic floor dysfunction, and back or pelvic pain.
What causes diastasis recti?
Diastasis recti occurs as a result of stretching; for pregnant women, it’s the product of the pressure on the belly being too much for the muscles in the front to keep their shape. Some of the factors that may make a woman more susceptible to diastasis recti include age and multiple pregnancies. Diastasis recti affects men in instances when weight is gained and lost in a short amount of time or from exercising improperly. Symptoms may include lower back pain, poor posture, constipation, and bladder incontinence.
When should I seek out diastasis recti treatment?
If you have a bulging belly and experience any of the symptoms associated with diastasis recti, it is a good idea to seek out treatment to be properly diagnosed and to heal the issue as efficiently as possible. Physical therapy is a good option to help manage symptoms and improve the function of your body when diastasis recti is present.
How can physical therapy help with diastasis recti?
Your physical therapist will go over your injury history and talk with you about any specific symptoms that you have, when those symptoms began, and how severely they’re affecting your daily life. They may include additional treatment techniques such as:.
• Postural training to help you stabilize your core muscles to maintain proper posture without overusing the rectus abdominus muscles.
• Custom stretches to target weakened muscle areas that have become overstretched as a result of secondary, overactive and tight muscles.
• Patient education to ensure that you understand where your pain is coming from and any movements or activities that should be avoided during your recovery.
Physical therapists can provide the necessary tools to treat diastasis recti, allowing you to return to your daily activities pain-free and stronger than ever. To learn more about diastasis recti or to eliminate any current discomfort, book a physical therapy assessment today.
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How To Check If You Have Ab Separation?
You can identify if you have a diastasis recti by doing a simple self-test.
• Lie down on your back with knees bent at 90 degrees and feet flat
• Place fingers of one hand horizontally across midline of abdomen at the belly button
• Slowly raise your head and shoulders a few inches off the floor
• If a separation exists your fingers will sink into a gap/ditch with your right and left muscles to the side
• Note the number of finger-widths that can be placed between the muscle bellies
• Check at your belly button, above, and below
If you feel a separation of 2 to 3 finger-widths or greater you are considered to have a mild Diastasis Recti, and 4 to 5 fingers width is a moderate to severe separation.