Diastasis Recti Abdominis: What is it and how can physical therapy help!


What is it?

Diastasis recti abdominis (DRA) is a separation of the rectus abdominis muscle (better known as the “six-pack” muscle) from the linea alba, which consists of connective tissue above and below your umbilicus. This health issue is seen commonly in pregnant and postpartum women. There has been an association between having DRA and increased occurrences of low back pain in combination with dysfunctional pelvic floor muscles.

Why does it occur?

DRA usually starts to manifest within the second trimester of pregnancy and affects 66-100% of all women by the third trimester. Since the fetus is growing at such a rapid pace in combination with the release of relaxin, progesterone, and estrogen, there is a dramatic change within the structure of connective tissue of the abdomen. The abdominal wall is not only placed under an extreme amount of mechanical stress from the growing fetus, but the abdominal organs are being displaced, causing a separation of the rectus abdominis muscle. Studies have shown that up to 53% of women maintain the separation of the rectus abdominis after childbirth due to the traumatic stress that the body undergoes during delivery.

How can physical therapy help?

The separation of rectus abdominis does not usually resolve itself, and it can have adverse effects for years after the diastasis occurs. Due to the lack of stability caused by the separation of the rectus abdominis, there is often a change in posture and impaired pelvic stability that can lead to low back pain, urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, respiration deficits, and cosmetic defects to the abdomen. Training deep core stabilizers such as the transversus abdominis can begin to build back up the strength and stability to the pelvis and trunk, thus decreasing some of the symptoms listed above. At South Orange County Physical Therapy, a physical therapist will help you return to your prior level of function and improve your life quality. Call in today to regain your body back!

Our skilled professionals will provide the resources you need to recover faster and stay injury-free. Your health is our priority. Find specialized care and start your personalized treatment plan. Call us at (949) 597-0007 to book an appointment. There’s no prescription needed.

Schedule an appointment today! Let’s talk. There’s no prescription required, and we try to have same-day appointments available. Call us at (949) 597-0007

SouthOCPT April 30, 2021

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