Diastasis Rectus Abdominis (DRA) is the separation of the rectus abdominus abdominal muscles. While Diastasis Rectus Abdominisis common in women post-childbirth, it also happens to women of any age, even if they have never been pregnant.
So, who can get Diastasis Rectus Abdominis and what causes it?
Two thirds of pregnant women will end up with a Diastasis Rectus Abdominis. Sometimes, newborn babies can be born with it, but it usually goes away on its own.
Any person who is obese is at greater risk of Diastasis Rectus Abdominis, because the excess fat deposits put additional pressure on the stomach muscles.
Incorrect exercise form, especially weightlifting or doing sit ups incorrectly can cause Diastasis Rectus Abdominis.
How does Diastasis Rectus Abdominis cause lower back pain?
Lower back pain is a common side effect of having Diastasis Rectus Abdominis. The abdominal wall muscles work with the pelvic floor muscles to help stabilize the lower back. When Diastasis Rectus Abdominis is present and the abdominal wall integrity is lost (typically due to increased intra-abdominal pressure), the muscles of the lower back muscle work harder to keep the body stabilized. This added strain results in lower back pain.
How can a Diastasis Rectus Abdominis be fixed?
Doctors will sometimes recommend surgery to fix Diastasis Rectus Abdominis. However, there is a lot that can be done to reduce a Diastasis Rectus Abdominis without going under the knife.
Maintaining a proper body weight is essential for all women, especially those with Diastasis Rectus Abdominis. If you are overweight, losing weight can have the simple effect of decreasing the intra-abdominal pressure, which caused the muscles to separate in the first place.
Don’t strain when on the toilet. This can increase intra-abdominal pressure.
Be cautious when lifting anything heavy.
Train your pelvic core with Pelacore. Core training exercises focuses on restoring the timing and sequencing of the deep muscles. For the lumbopelvic region, these muscles include the transverse abdominis, multifidus, the pelvic floor and breathing diaphragm.
Which exercises should I avoid when I have Diastasis Rectus Abdominis?
Any exercise that increases the intra-abdominal pressure should be avoided when one has Diastasis Rectus Abdominis. Crunches, sit-ups, pushups, press-ups and front planks can all make abdominal separation worse.
How do I know if I have abdominal separation or Diastasis Rectus Abdominis?
If you feel or see a separation, make an appointment with your primary care physician or physical therapist for a proper evaluation and treatment recommendation.