You can answer the question “Do I have diastasis recti?” pretty easily yourself. It is classified as a gap of roughly 2.7 cm WIDE (just over an inch) or greater between your abdominal muscles, which roughly equates to two fingertips. A gap of four to five fingertips is considered severe diastasis recti.
To Self test, Follow These Steps:
1. Lie on the back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
2. Place your fingers on your belly with the palm facing down on your belly button. Press down gently between the middle of your tummy muscles.
3. Lift your head off the ground and draw your chin to your chest, contracting your abdominal muscles.
4. Do you feel a gap of two finger-widths or more?
5. If so, you have diastasis.
6. Repeat this test above and below the belly button. The gap can vary.
Lower back pain is one symptom of the condition and one we see often. However other symptoms of diastasis recti include
• Low-back, hip, or pelvic pain
• Digestive issues like constipation or bloating
• Bulging belly
• Outie belly button
• Urine leaks
• Weakened pelvic alignment
• Poor posture
• Trouble breathing/moving
What you can do help alleviate the symptoms of diastasia recti?
You must work to heal your belly. Not exercising won’t help it heal and neither will training too much. You can limit your ab muscle separation by working to strengthen your core before you get pregnant and during the first trimester and as a way of healing the area male or female. Once healing has occurred , Pilates and other exercises can help to strengthen your deep core belly muscles.
You have 2 options available to you to help heal from the condition: 1.) you can repair diastasis recti without surgery, or 2.) you can have surgery to fix diastasis recti.
We like Option 1 as the preferred starting point because surgery is hard on the body and can lead to complications. Diastasis recti can usually be fixed without surgery. But if diastasis recti related therapy doesn’t work then your GP may recommend surgery in more extreme cases.
Some have success with the Tupler technique https://diastasisrehab.com/pages/diastasis-the-tupler-technique and similar methods where you do specific diastasis recti exercises to correct the separation while wearing an abdominal splint that protects and holds the abdominal muscles together. This program is aimed at both male and female patients of all ages.
Besides The Tupler Technique you should Use Good Posture!
Focus on walking tall and engaging the core by drawing in your tummy. Focusing on the male patients we originally referred to we had to look at the way they sat at the desk as this was the key reason for the issue developing in the first place. Our next post will focus on the correct way we wanted them to sit during the daytime at work and exercises we prescribed to promote this. Here we focus on what we wanted them to do outside of work.
Also focus on your deep core muscles! Welcome to the vacuum crunch!
The vacuum crunch in its many variations comes up again and again as one of the best exercises for diastasis recti since it engages your transverse abdominal muscles. See the video here https://youtu.be/YRWzsjP_HhE
Here are some instructions for doing it:
Vacuum Crunch: The Best Exercise for Diastasis Recti
1. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed and hands on your belly.
2. Take a big breath, letting your belly fully stretch and expand.
3. As you exhale, suck your belly muscles as far back as they’ll go toward the spine. Your tummy will be seen to sink towards the floor and your will fill the effort you have to apply for this to happen.
4. Hold there, and then take tiny breaths. With each exhale, push the stomach back further and tighter.
5. Try to do this exercise for 10 minutes each day
Try the Vacuum Crunch until our next post when will be returning to the case of the male diastasis patients and how we were able to help with their lower back pain.
We are always available to talk. Message us if you have any questions about this condition
Jason and the team @The Flying Physios