If you still look pregnant months after giving birth or losing weight, you may have a diastasis recti. That's what they call it when the rectus abdominis muscles in your abdomen separate during pregnancy, or due to obesity, leaving a gap that allows your belly to pooch out. Physical therapy is a very effective way to manage symptoms and improve functional capacity when DRA is diagnosed.
Your physical therapist may help you with:
Postural Training: At Busybody we will teach you to consider how you sit, stand, carry babies, lift weights, bend, squat, and carry car seats. It isn’t about “exercising” the core but rather about ‘re-training’ the core. Your physical therapist will show you how to perform daily activities, such as lifting and carrying your baby, while using proper posture.
Stretching: When certain muscles become weak and overstretched, other muscles may become overactive and tight. Your physical therapist will help you learn which of your muscles needs to be gently stretched to improve your strength and posture.
Bracing: Taping or bracing of the low back and abdominal region can help by providing external support for women with DRA. It can also help teach you the proper position for your midsection, as it provides support and decreases any pain you may be feeling.
Education: At Busybody we believe in educating each patient on their condition and giving the real life solutions. There are factors that you may not even know about relating to your pain or movement challenges that your physical therapist can help resolve. Your physical therapist can help you understand the movements or activities that are best to avoid, as you recover from DRA.
For instance did you know if you have a DR, you will need to avoid the following activities as they can create further separation of the abdominal muscles:
• abdominal sit-ups
• oblique curls
• double leg lifts
• upper body twisting exercises
• exercises that include backbends over an exercise ball
• yoga postures that stretch the abs, such as “cow” pose and “up-dog” pose
• pilates exercises that require the head to be lifted off the floor
• lifting and carrying heavy objects
• intense coughing without abdominal support
Basically, you will need to avoid any exercise that causes your abdominal wall to bulge out upon exertion. Once the DR is closed, you can gradually add these activities back in.
A person with DRA may experience any number of the following symptoms:
A visible and separation they can feel of the rectus abdominis muscle.
Feelings of “flabbiness” in the abdominal muscles.
Pelvic-floor muscle dysfunction that may cause incontinence, leakage, constipation, among other issues
Low back or pelvic or hip pain
Feeling weak through the midsection
We urge anyone who suspects they have DR to talk to a physical therapist, which should be covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare, workers’ compensation and private insurers. Give us a call at 832-584-9657 or visit https://www.busybodyrehab.com/contact-us to talk to one of our highly trained PT’s today!