What is it?
Diastasis recti is the separation of the abdominal muscles which run down the centre of the stomach. This occurs during pregnancy when your body releases muscle relaxing hormones, combined with an expanding uterus, which together cause the connective tissue which holds the abdominal muscles together, known as the lineus alba, to weaken and stretch.
How to test for it?
To conduct a self-test for diastasis recti:
Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. You should relax your head and shoulders and place your fingers above your belly button. Next, you will lift your head, neck and shoulder blades off the floor and press down with your fingertips, if you feel a gap there is diastasis. The test should then be repeated above the belly button and a few inches below the belly button.
To measure the diastasis recti gap, finger widths are used. If the gap is smaller than two finger widths it is within normal limits, anything beyond two finger widths is classified as diastasis recti. Another way of knowing if diastasis recti is present is by testing the lineus alba. You can apply pressure with your fingers to the midline and as you contract the abdominal muscles there should be tension felt. If there is little or no tension, the lineus alba is likely to have weakened and diastasis recti is likely to be responsible.
What to do if you have it?
See an Exercise Physiologist and Soft Tissue Occupational Therapist. Exercise Physiologists are experts in exercise prescription for the rehabilitation of injuries. They will provide you with an at home strengthening program to ensure that your abdominal separation is healed.
Occupational Therapists are health professionals who specialise in the musculoskeletal care of the body, treating conditions of the muscles, tendons and ligaments. An Occupational Therapist will help by providing a specialised care program for you. They will treat areas of tension in the muscles around the body resulting from the weakness of the abdominal muscles. This speeds up recovery and reduces any associated pain such as back pain, headaches and general muscular pain which are linked to diastasis recti.
At Urban Health HQ our highly trained Exercise Physiologists and Soft Tissue Occupational Therapists will use a variety of approaches to help treat your injuries, conditions or any concerns you may have. You can make an appointment today by calling 0411 563 391.