Posted on Dec 04, 2020
Diastasis Recti Abdominus (DRA), often referred to as abdominal separation, is a common condition that many women face during or following pregnancy. It can lead to discomfort in daily activities and changes in body appearance which can cause frustration in postpartum recovery. DRA is defined as the separation of the rectus abdominus, also known as the “six pack”, that runs along the abdominal wall. Certain factors in a woman’s pregnancy can also play a role in the likelihood of developing this condition. These risk factors include:
DRA is most prevalent in pregnant women and postpartum women, but this condition can also occur in infants, postmenopausal women, and men. It is usually seen as a bulging around, above or below the midline of the abdomen. Lower back pain, constipation, or bloating can also be indicators of the abdominal separation occurring. DRA is most noticeable when engaging in activities, like something as simple as getting out of bed, where the abdominal muscles are used.
Women, actively pregnant or postpartum, are more susceptible to DRA as the baby develops and the body adapts via internal organ movement or expansion (like the uterus) and the stretching of nearby muscles. In an article from Healthline, “One study found that up to 60 percent of women may experience diastasis recti during pregnancy or postpartum”. Symptoms of DRA can follow a new mother long after the birth of her child which can incite complications and irregularities in daily functioning.
Supporting your body during pregnancy and after birth is essential in maintaining the natural flow of your body mechanics. Regular exercise during pregnancy is one way in which a mother can prepare her body for the changes that pregnancy demands, and it also has the added benefit of reducing the chance of developing DRA. Should a woman develop DRA during their pregnancy or after the birth of their child, then physical therapy is the next important step in your recovery. PT can help reduce the effects of DRA, like a bulging abdomen or discomfort, which can help return your body back to its prior level.
Although abdominal support bracing and binders are additional ways to help ease the effects, it is not enough to just manage your DRA. A specialized abdominal program will significantly transform the outlook of your diagnosis. Our physical therapists have developed abdominal training guidelines that will be tailored to your body. There are three key features in our program which dramatically reduce DRA:
If symptoms and separation do not improve after consecutive physical therapy treatments, then surgical intervention, often considered an elective surgery, may be an option. At Peak Performance, our physical therapists will ensure you receive the best possible care to reduce the effects that DRA has on your body. Your mobility, your health, and your comfort are our top priorities.
Contact us today to see if physical therapy is right for you!