Diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA), also known as Diastasis recti, is a physical condition in pregnant women that affects the two adjoining layers of the abdominal muscle as a result of stretching of the tissues that make up the muscle area. This is a condition typically associated with women during or after their pregnancy period.
Diastasis recti is hardly ever dealt with using a single type of exercise. At Oklahoma Physical Therapy, we take a holistic approach to helping women heal and correct diastasis recti.
During pregnancy, the muscles that make up the rectus abdominis are stretched apart as the fetus begins to develop inside the uterus. Diastasis recti often occurs in the second or third trimester of pregnancy as it is during this period that the growth of the baby rapidly accelerates.
Symptoms of diastasis recti
More often than not, symptoms of diastasis recti develop gradually throughout the pregnancy period and may linger sometime after delivery. The following are some of the common symptoms of this condition:
- Muscle dysfunction of the woman’s pelvic floor – this causes bowel and urinary problems like constipation, leakage, and incontinence
- A palpable (you can detect it by touch) and visible separation of the rectus abdominis muscle
- A “bloated” feeling in the lower abdomen
- Poor posture
- Hip, pelvic, or lower back pain
- Experiencing pain during sexual activity
- Feelings of weakness through the midsection
Risk factors of diastasis recti
Some women are at a higher risk of suffering from diastasis recti. Some of the factors that increase the risk include:
- Multiple pregnancies
- Multiparity (being pregnant with more than one child)
How we can help
The physical therapists at Oklahoma Physical Therapy have extensive experience helping women suffering from this condition find relief from pain and healing. We take a multiple-angle approach to treating this condition. Our technique includes:
- Pelvic floor therapy
- Breath-work and behavior modification
- Bodywork and fascial release
- Total body conditioning exercises
- Manual techniques to close the “gap”