Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) is a condition that is common among women in their childbearing years. Up to 60% of women may experience it during or after a pregnancy. It is the partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis (known as “6-pack abs”).
As a fetus grows in the womb, the expansion will put a strain on the surrounding muscles leading to diastasis recti. This is why DRA cannot be prevented. The process is a natural consequence of pregnancy. However, with the right guidance, physical therapy can help reverse the condition.
What are the symptoms of Diastasis Recti?
The main symptoms of diastasis recti include:
- A visibly separated rectus abdominis
- A feeling of flabbiness in the abdominal region
- Lower back pain
- Painful sex
- Weakness in the midsection
- Poor posture
How Is Diastasis Recti Diagnosed?
Our first step in diagnosing diastasis recti is to review your medical history and ask questions relating to your condition. Some of the questions will concern your pregnancy, labor, type of delivery, and more. We’ll also find out when you first noticed symptoms of DRA and how your life has changed in that time. At the end of the consultation session, we will perform the primary diagnostic test, which involves a gentle abdominal examination. This process will highlight the extent of your abdominal muscle separation.
How Physical Therapy Can Help
At Oklahoma Physical Therapy, we help many women to develop exercises that will improve the diastasis recti and gradually get rid of it. Physical therapy involving exercises such as belly breathing, heel slides with alternating arms, quadruped abdominal, abdominal drawing in, and more have proven to be effective treatments.
We also advise our patients against practicing seemingly helpful exercise regimes that will only end up worsening the situation such as crunches and sit-ups. For such exercises to work, the rectus abdominis, the pelvic floor, and respiratory muscles have to be in sync. Achieving this without professional help is challenging.
Our physical therapists will develop the perfect program for your specific DRA situation incorporating postural training, bracing and stretching. Get in touch with us today.