November 13, 2020
Have you ever noticed a coning or mountain type appearance between your stomach muscles while sitting up or exerting yourself? Do you have abdominal discomfort when you are exercising or lifting?
Diastasis Recti is a term describing an abnormal separation of the two rectus muscles of the muscular abdominal wall. While this can impact both men and women, it is often as a result of abdominal growth from rapid weight gain and the majority of cases in women are from pregnancies. This muscle separation cannot be prevented during pregnancy as it allows for the abdomen to expand to support the growing fetus.
This can be uncomfortable for women during pregnancy, but most notice or experience discomfort in the post-partum timeframe. Some women don’t have any discomfort at all, they just notice a deformity during activity and at rest in the middle of their stomach.
Typically, as muscles recover, this separation will heal itself with time. When diastasis starts to heal, it heals from the inside out, so most people will notice improvements with depth before noticing changes in separation. In more severe cases, the muscles may not fully recover or heal back together. In very severe cases, surgery may be necessary to bring the muscles back together.
How can you help get the muscles back together? Move. Moving is the most important thing. Walking, running or doing squats, deadlifts, yoga and pilates are all good options to activate your muscles and get the body working together again. At this time, research has not identified any particular protocol to be the most effective or even activities to avoid if you have a diastasis. In general, maintain a neutral spine, straight line from your head to your tail, while moving in space, avoid pain and remember to breathe.
Prevea has physical therapists who are trained to work on these muscles, so if you are not noticing an improvement in the separation or the function of the muscles, or if you are experiencing pain, consider contacting Prevea Therapy to learn more.