Diastasis Recti : What is It & Who Can it Affect?

In pelvic floor physical therapy, Pelvic Health, Pelvic Pain, Pregnancy and Postpartum Pelvic Health by Stephanie PrendergastLeave a Comment

By Stephanie A. Prendergast, MPT, Cofounder, PHRC Los Angeles

Some people with diastasis recti (DR) also report urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and myofascial pelvic pain. HOWEVER, it is not the presence of diastasis alone that leads to these things. Longer term problems from unresolved DR can (but don’t always) include:

  • back pain
  • poor posture
  • pelvic floor dysfunction
  • GI issues

Many people have diastasis with no other symptoms. Why are some people with DR symptomatic and other people not? This is thought to be tied to a person’s overall strength, endurance, and neuromuscular control of the pelvic floor and girdle muscles. Asymptomatic persons with DR are more likely to have sufficient neuromuscular function whereas symptomatic persons with DR may not.

 

This is why having a PT is so important! We not only have to think about closing the gap for aesthetic purposes, but work towards developing motor control and a better length tension relationship within our core to support our organs and musculoskeletal structures. This is what’s most important and what actually prevents the above listed symptoms as it is proven through the most recent research!

DR- who can it affect

You may have thought that diastasis recti only affected pregnant people, but we are here to say that it can affect much more than just that population!

 

If you suffer from a DR and have not been assessed by a physical therapist, start there! During their evaluation, the physical therapist will be able to identify both functional & structural impairments that may be contributing to ongoing symptoms. They can then either help you to continue to improve your function, or have the resources to refer you to a surgeon if conservative approaches have been exhausted.

DR types

Diastasis Recti can occur anywhere along the Linea Alba. Having DRA in one location is not necessarily better than having it in another. What matters most is your ability to functionally close the gap and manage changes in abdominal pressures.

 

This means having strong deep stabilizing muscles, practicing good posture and mechanics always, addressing weaknesses in the diaphragm and breath, and knowing how to check your diastasis regularly so that you can identify when it is safe for you to progress through certain activities.

 

Working with a pelvic floor physical therapist will help you safely progress and heal. Everybody and every body heals at different rates and thrives under different approaches. Having an individualized plan is always best! 

 

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Are you unable to come see us in person in the Bay Area, Southern California or New England?  We offer virtual physical therapy appointments too!

 

Virtual sessions are available with PHRC pelvic floor physical therapists via our video platform, Zoom, or via phone. For more information and to schedule, please visit our digital healthcare page.

In addition to virtual consultation with our physical therapists, we also offer integrative health services with Jandra Mueller, DPT, MS. Jandra is a pelvic floor physical therapist who also has her Master’s degree in Integrative Health and Nutrition. She offers services such as hormone testing via the DUTCH test, comprehensive stool testing for gastrointestinal health concerns, and integrative health coaching and meal planning. For more information about her services and to schedule, please visit our Integrative Health website page

Melissa Patrick is a certified yoga instructor and meditation teacher and is also available virtually to help, for more information please visit our therapeutic yoga page

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