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