What is Diastasis Rectus Abdominis?
Diastasis Rectus Abdominis is defined as a separation of the abdominal muscles which often can occur due to pregnancy or after prolonged abdominal loading with poor technique. The connective tissue where the abdominal muscles join in the midline is called the “linea alba”. The more this connective tissue is stretched sideways, the thinner and weaker it becomes. You may notice a bulge down the centre of your abdominals or that you can sink your fingers into the space in the midline of your tummy.
Benefits of Chartered Physiotherapy
At Galway Physio Clinic, we will do a comprehensive functional and real-time ultrasound examination ( http://galwayphysioclinic.ie/real-time-ultrasound-in-pelvic-health/ ) to determine the best treatment plan for restoring the function of your stretched abdominal wall and regain stability of your low back and pelvis. We will accurately measure the Inter-Recti Distance (IRD) with real-time ultrasound (this is the only way to accurately measure the separation) and monitor the IRD throughout your treatment program.
We aim to restore balance in your core muscles and re-educate the stretched connective tissue (linea alba) to facilitate tension across the abdominal wall. Exercises with optimal muscle recruitment are essential to restore the form and function of your abdominal wall. We use real-time ultrasound to help you visualise your diastasis rectus and muscle recruitment in order to facilitate your rehab.
When your abdominal muscles are stretched and separated, they are no longer able to adequately stabilise your low back and pelvis. Over time a diastasis can lead to other problems including lower back pain, pelvic instability, urinary incontinence/pelvic floor dysfunction, constipation and an increased risk of developing a hernia.
What the Research Says
100 Percent of women have a DRA by 35 weeks gestation and separation persists in 40 percent when measured at six months postpartum (Mota et al 2014)
115 postpartum women were followed and ultrasound imaging was used to measure separation between right and left rectus abdominus (known as the inter-recti distance (IRD)) at day 1 and months 2,6,12. IRD was wider in in the primiparous women compared to 69 age-matched nulliparous women in all four groups and these values plateaued at eight weeks postpartum not returning to those of the controls at 12 months (Caldron et al 2008).