Abdominal separation or Rectus Abdominis Diastasis, is one of the most common problems pregnant and post-natal women seek our help.
As many as 2 in every 3 women have some degree of abdominal separation, but what is normal?
Holly from SquareOne Physio is going to explain how to test your own abdominal separation.
A separation occurs when the rectus abdominus, or “the 6 pack muscles” separate at the midline during pregnancy to accommodate the growing uterus and baby. These muscles often remain separated after birth, and this is when abdominal support of the trunk is reduced, and can be a possible contributor to other problems down the track such low back pain, pelvic pain, and pelvic floor dysfunction. One of the main complaints is also how is affects us cosmetically.
If you have had a separation in the past or are unsure, we can test your abdominals to determine the size of your abdominal separation, understand how it’s functioning and design you a specifically tailored treatment plan depending on the severity.
Our main aim is to improve your abdominal function to transmit force through your body and maintaining optimum pressure in your thorax for stability, breathing and pelvic floor function. We consider the following:
1. Width of the separation
2. Length of the separation
3. Depth of the separation
4. Linea alba integrity and tension
5. Deep abdominal activation
How you can determine if you have a separation:
-Lay on your back with your knees bent up and feet on the floor.
-Place your fingers in the midline just above your belly button.
-As you continue to breathe normally, gently tuck your chin to the chest and lift your head and shoulder blades off the bed, feeling for a gap between the edges of the abdominal muscle.
-A gap of 3 of more fingers width means the separation is significant and we would suggest you will need to see a physiotherapist for a tailored approach to managing the problem.\
What should you do if you have abdominal separation?
Treatment will include specific strengthening exercises for the core muscles, pelvic floor muscles and abdominal muscles. It will also focus on postural awareness and correction and initially in the early days you may benefit from a compression garment. This combination will often achieve the best results possible.
So, if you’ve read this and realise that you need help to assess or treat your separation, book online now or give us a call and book a consultation at SquareOne Physio on 9968 3424.