Abdominal muscle separation, also known as diastasis recti, is a condition that occurs when the muscles of the abdomen stretch and separate during pregnancy. The muscles of the abdomen, known as the rectus abdominis, are responsible for helping to support the spine and pelvis, as well as assisting in movements such as bending and lifting. These muscles are held together by a band of connective tissue called the linea alba.
During pregnancy, the growing uterus can put extra strain on the abdominal muscles, causing them to stretch and separate. This separation can range from a few millimetres to several centimetres, and it can occur along the entire length of the abdominal muscles or just in certain areas. In some cases, the separation may resolve on its own after pregnancy, but in other cases, it may persist and cause symptoms such as back pain, abdominal discomfort, and difficulty with certain physical activities.
Abdominal muscle separation can also occur in men and non-pregnant women due to factors such as obesity, rapid weight gain, or certain medical conditions that increase abdominal pressure.
Treating abdominal muscle separation
Learn how to do specific exercises such as pelvic tilts and planks which can help strengthen the muscles of the abdomen and back.
- Having good posture can help take pressure off of the abdominal muscles and allow them to heal. Try to stand up straight with your shoulders back.
- Avoid high-impact exercises, such as running and jumping which can put extra strain on the abdominal muscles and should be avoided until the muscle separation has healed.
- Wearing a support belt can help provide additional support to the abdominal muscles and reduce strain on the muscles, but it shouldn’t be relied upon.
- Abdominal muscle separation can be a difficult condition to treat, and it may take several weeks or months to see improvement. It is important to be patient and consistent with your treatment plan.
How can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy is a common treatment option for abdominal muscle separation. Our physios can help you create a personalised treatment plan that may include a combination of the following:
- Exercise – Specific exercises can help strengthen the muscles of the abdomen and back, which can help close the gap between the separated muscles. These may include pelvic tilts, planks, and other core strengthening exercises.
- Education: They can provide education on proper posture and body mechanics, which can help reduce strain on the abdominal muscles and facilitate healing.
The physiotherapist may use techniques such as heat, ice, or electrical stimulation to help reduce pain and inflammation if this is present. Taping can be used to provide support to the abdominal muscles and facilitate healing.
It is important to note that the length and duration of physiotherapy treatment for abdominal muscle separation will depend on the severity of the muscle separation and the individual’s response to treatment. At Home Physio Group, our physiotherapists can help determine the appropriate treatment plan and timeline.
For more information please contact us on 0330 335 1016 or alternatively please fill out our contact sheet and we will get back to you.