Core Dysfunction – A Beginner’s Guide To Diastasis Recti

In this article, I explore what Diastasis Recti (DR) is, how it affects people, who can be affected by it, how to know if you have it, and how you can get it fixed.

If you feel lost and are wondering what this is all about, I suggest you first start by familiarising yourself with what the core is on this post here. There is also more here, on DR and some myths associated with it.

The following image, from the lovely team over at Fit2B, gives a general overview of the different variations of DR, in comparison to normal abdomen muscles:

Image of different variations of diastasis recti
Photo Credit – Fit2B
What Is It?

Diastasis Recti Abdominis (or DRA), which we will refer to here simply as Diastasis Recti (or DR), is a midline separation at the Linea Alba of the recti muscles (six pack) of the abdominal wall.

Who Gets It?

Although DR is mostly described in relation to pregnancy, its main risk factors can also be associated with: people who are overweight in the abdominal area; people who lift heavy weights incorrectly; or people who perform excessive and inappropriate abdominal muscle exercises.

What About The Linea Alba?
Photo credit - Breaking Muscle
Linea Alba – vertical line in the middle of the trunk

Not only the abdominal muscles are affected by DR. The Linea Alba, a dense, fibrous structure of collagen connective tissue on the midline at the front of the abdomen gets stretched and becomes thin, allowing for the abdominal organs to push forward, contributing to a bulging tummy.

How Do I Know If I Have DR?

Some common symptoms that might give a clue as to whether one has DR include: chronic back pain and poor posture, constipation and bloating, pelvic pain and urinary stress incontinence, a tummy bulge that won’t shift and gets worse on exertion, an ‘outie’ belly button when one used to have an ‘innie’.

If you are worried you might have abdominal wall separation, then please watch the following short videos, by Wendy Powell, founder of MuTu System. They tell you all you need to know about Diastasis Recti in the first instance:

Symptoms of Diastasis Recti

How To Test Yourself For Diastasis Recti

How to Fix Diastasis Recti

Conclusion

The great news is that DR can be fixed. Sooner is better than later.

I remember having a lot of concern when I first knew I had DR, and even more so when I started researching it. I know it can be scary. I then shut down and went into denial for a long time after this initial shock, hoping it would go away.

It did not. Not even with a new bed, as I managed to convince myself my old bed was to blame for my pelvic pain (any excuse for a new bed, aha!).

Feeling the gap in my abdominal wall wasn’t nice at all. But the icky feeling I had touching my insides through my abdominal wall and thinned Linea Alba was overridden by my need to know how it felt.

I also wanted to know what to feel for once my rehabilitation programs were done, so I wasn’t guessing whether I had had any progress or not.

More great news – the Linea Alba has been observed to have elastic properties that help it return to its original shape and strength after being stretched. Full core rehabilitation of Diastasis Recti is possible. Our bodies are amazing!

But work needs doing on our end. We need to work towards healing ourselves, and it takes time and dedication, even an attitude shift (please learn to be kind to your bodies). False starts? I know all about those. But hey, progress is what matters, not perfection.

And here’s even more wonderful news – the exercises are dynamic, progressive, and healing. Short and to the point. No punishing schedules. No ‘should’s.

Any questions, please do reach out. Leave a comment here. Reach out on GooglePlus, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. And if you like this post, please share far and wide. Let’s spread the word, so others know as well, so they can help themselves.

I shall be back with more soon, but for now, till next time.

Your friend in core wellness,

Jacquie

 

12 thoughts on “Core Dysfunction – A Beginner’s Guide To Diastasis Recti”

  1. THat sounds pretty scary as I am overweight myself. I have heard that the body can have such a problem, but I just never knew that the name is known as diastasis recti. I am alright if the abdominal muscles are a little stretched but if it’s to the point where I can feel my internal organs then that’s definitely the bottom line I don’t want to cross. I like how the exercises you mentioned are gentle and can fulfill the purpose of returning everything to normal. I might not have any problems now like back pain and constipatipn but it’s good to know just in case.

    1. Hi Win,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Please do not be scared! The good things is that DR is rapairable, with the right support. When we know better, we do better.

      As someone who has felt their organs through the tummy gap, yes, I agree, if you can stop that experience do so. But if it happens, rest assured it is very much fixable. The DR exercises are great for anyone that is healthy, and they are so gentle and easy – definitely worth checking out the recovery / rehab programs if you feel you might benefit from them.

  2. How scary! I have only heard of this condition in passing and didn’t really know what it was. The body is a seriously incredible thing! It really does want to get better and be healthy. It seems to be all about finding the right tools to help get it there. I definitely understand how hard it is to be persistent about treatments as I’ve been living with Lyme and Celiac disease for the past five years. I really appreciate your blip at the end there where you say it’s about progress not being perfect. How true!

    Thanks for the good read,

    xx

    Helen

    1. Hi Helen,

      Thank you for stopping by.

      Yes, the body is truly amazing! It works so hard and healing and repairing wear and tear to keep us going, and all it needs are the right tools to carry on serving us well.

      So sorry re Lyme’s and Celiac disease, hope you’ve found a way to live with them.

      And yeah, progress, not perfection is the goal.

  3. Hi friend,

    Thanks a lot for this article. In actual fact today is the first time I am hearing this name, Diastasis. I never knew there such a scary problem that can be developed in the body.

    It is good I read your content today. You have taught me to be very careful about my body. And I know know the symptoms of this strange body dysfunction.

    Now if I ever feel and of these symptoms or know of a friend suffering from such problems, I know exactly what I can do to help.

    Thanks a lot for sharing with us about this health problem. It is much appreciated.

    1. Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Please do not be scared! This is all about awareness, and yes, please spread the word! Refer any friends to my website too, so they can find information on self-testing, and even solutions to the problem if they do have diastasis.

  4. Thank you for the informative post. I like that you have included also videos as it makes it easier to get the point. My uncle used to have diastasis recti but he managed to deal with this problem with the help of exercises. Now the problem is solved but he still keeps doing the exercises. He has lost a lot of weight and he always tells us that diastasis recti has changed his life to the good.

    1. Hi Arta,
      Yes, the correct exercises will fix diastasis recti. Even if the muscles stay a little open, the linea alba could still be strengthened, so that one still has ‘functional diastasis’, but it isn’t causing issues.
      And yes, weight loss can be a good side effect of exercise when one has weight to lose!
      Glad your uncle is doing much better and is happier.

  5. This is a very helpful article. I was not aware of this split muscle problem but it certainly seems logical as so many of us are overweight and stressing out our bodies to the max.

    What a relief that the muscles can be rehabbed by exercises and weight control. It is good to know the symptoms and the measures to take to control this problem in case it occurs for me or a friend in the future.

    1. Hi Susan,

      Yeah, not many are aware of this fairly common condition, and as such, a lot is done that causes more damage to the body, thus causing pain in the long run.

      Our bodies are pretty tough and great at regenerating though, which is great, considering the amount of wear they go through.

  6. I am only just realising this is fixable 17 years too late? Have I left it too long?

    1. Hi Julie,

      Nope, not too late, you can still get it fixed!

      I’d suggest you see a women’s health physiotherapist for a proper assessment, so you know your baseline and exactly what you’re working on. I recently saw one, and although my diastasis has narrowed down drastically and all is well there, it turns out my alignment is completely off and is what is causing me back pain!

      But yeah, you can get diastasis fixed fairly easily with the right exercises, even many, many years after.

      Not to overwhelm you, but here’s a list of my favourite three resources, all whose programs I am currently using. You don’t have to do as I am, you can choose one to start with. Check out the websites, email, even contact them via social media if you need questions answered, they are all lovely!

      Wishing you well, get yourself fixed, it is still very possible.

      MuTu – One-off program purchase. Wendy, the founder is lovely and very easily accessible: https://aboutthatcore.org/mutuhomepage

      Fit2B – Monthly subscription access to a library of workouts. Awesome support network. Beth, the founder is fab, and accessible on the support group on a daily basis: https://aboutthatcore.org/fit2bhomepage

      TummyTeam – various rehab programs for core issues by licensed physical therapists, led by the lovely Kelly, who again, is very accessible and helpful: https://aboutthatcore.org/TummyTeam

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