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A Physiotherapist’s Guide to Diastasis Recti

Diastasis recti is a condition in which the rectus abdominis muscle, also known as the “six-pack muscle,” separates along the midline, causing a gap that can weaken the core and lead to pain or dysfunction. This condition is common among pregnant women and can also occur in men and non-pregnant women.

In this blog, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for diastasis recti from a physiotherapy perspective.

Causes:

  • Pregnancy: the abdominal muscles stretch during pregnancy to accommodate the growing uterus. This can lead to the separation of the rectus abdominis muscle.
  • Abdominal obesity: excess weight puts pressure on the abdominal muscles, causing them to separate.
  • Poor posture: poor posture can cause repetitive strain on the abdominal muscles, leading to separation.

Symptoms:

  • A bulge in the midline of the abdomen, especially when straining or doing abdominal exercises
  • Lower back pain
  • Poor posture and balance
  • Weakness in the abdominal muscles

Treatment:

  • Physiotherapy: physiotherapy can help to improve the function of the abdominal muscles and restore proper alignment and stability. This includes exercises to improve posture, core strength, and stability.
  • Corrective exercises: a physiotherapist will design a personalized exercise program to target the specific needs of the patient. This may include exercises to improve posture, activate the transverse abdominis, and strengthen the rectus abdominis. 
  • Exercises to avoid: the following exercises are to be avoided if you have been diagnosed with Diastasis Recti:
    • Crunches or Sit-ups
    • Planks
    • Leg Lifts
    • V- Sits

It’s important to consult with your Physiotherapist to have a personalized treatment plan designed for your specific condition. They can include:

  • Manual therapy: Manual therapy techniques such as soft tissue mobilization, massage, and trigger point release can be used to improve muscle function and reduce pain.
  • Education: The physiotherapist will educate the patient on proper posture, body mechanics, and exercises to avoid that may worsen diastasis recti.

In conclusion, diastasis recti is a common condition that can be effectively managed with physiotherapy. The physiotherapist will assess the patient’s symptoms, causes, and individual needs and design a personalized treatment plan to help restore core stability and reduce pain. If you are experiencing symptoms of diastasis recti, please call us at our CURAVITA Glebe Clinic at 613-237-9000 or our CURAVITA Byward Clinic at 613-860-8600 to book an assessment with one of our Physiotherapists.

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[…] These hormones can stay in your body for several months after pregnancy. Another potential issue is diastasis recti; the separation of the abdominal muscles. This can be a contributing factor the lower back, hip or […]

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