Can A Diastasis Recti Be Healed?

For many people, an abdominal separation can be greatly reduced and a flat tummy can be achieved once the deep core muscles begin to function properly and are appropriately strengthened. In the case of very large diastases and hernias, surgery may be required if exercise alone is not sufficiently effective. In any case, the best way to lessen (and prevent) an abdominal separation is to solve the underlying problem of improperly channeled intra-abdominal pressure and a weak inner core. By doing this, you can also heal and prevent back pain.

In the case of pregnancy, while prevention of a diastasis recti may not be possible, appropriate exercise choices and a strong transversus abdominis and inner core before and during pregnancy can lessen the extent to which the connective tissue stretches.

Connecting to and strengthening your inner core muscles requires careful intentional work and cannot be 'muscled through'. It demands a deep connection between mind and body as well as good overall body awareness. Many popular forms of exercise, while great for building strength in larger muscle groups, are too intense for those who wish to rehabilitate stretched out or dysfunctional deep core muscles. Every movement we do, in our daily life and when we exercise, requires a well functioning inner core. Often, intense abdominal exercise after pregnancy can widen an abdominal separation that would otherwise heal on its own. It is only after reconnection and strengthening of these deep stabilizers that more intense exercise is appropriate. This principle applies both to those with a diastasis recti and anyone with weak core muscles or back pain.

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What Causes A Diastasis Recti?

A Diastasis Recti is a symptom of intra-abdominal pressure that the abdominal wall is unable to contain. It is common during pregnancy, as the growing baby places natural pressure outward (and downward) stretching out the abdominals. If the baby grows beyond the rectus abdominis’ ability to stretch, a stretching and thinning of the connective tissue provide the additional space required.

However, not just pregnant and postpartum women deal with this condition. Anyone can get an abdominal separation, carrying a baby is not a requirement. It is caused by uncontained pressure, so quick weight gain in the tummy area, bearing down too hard when using the restroom or weak abdominals combined with an intense coughing or sneezing bout could also cause a separation at the linea alba.

Finally, intense exercise can also increase the pressure in your abdominal cavity and over time, if the deep core muscles aren’t properly engaged when bearing down during weight lifting, crunches or any intense movement, a separation can occur. Therefore, when beginning an exercise program it is very important to ensure that the inner core (transversus abdominis and pelvic floor muscles) are functioning well before engaging in intense movements.