Diastasis recti is a separation of the abdominal wall where the connective tissue that runs directly down the center of your tummy – the linea alba – is stretched and weak. While diastasis recti is a diagnosis, it is also a symptom of something larger. When you have a weak internal corset muscle (known as your transverse abdominis) and are unaware of chronic movements and postures that consistently create forward forceful pressure on the linea alba, it can create a diastasis. When the muscles of the abdominal wall are not firmly connected and strong, the body suffers.
Most people do not realize that many of the common ailments and physical conditions we all struggle with could be related to a separated abdominal wall and a weakened corset muscle.
Here are three of the most common symptoms presented with diastasis recti:
1. Low Back Pain
Low back pain is so common in our culture that many people consider it normal and do not realize that they may be able to eliminate it altogether. When the internal abdominal wall is weak and a diastasis creates more disconnection, the lack of support for the spine causes the body to collapse. This places the spine in a rounded and strained position contributing to that achy low back. In addition, a separated abdominal wall decreases the stability of the pelvis which contributes to sacroiliac instability – a very common cause of low back pain. Then, because of this collapsed posture and pelvic instability, the posterior hip muscles tend to overcompensate which contributes to sciatica (another common low back complaint).
2. Bulging Tummy
Whether we are talking about that postpartum tummy that lasts far beyond the expectation, or the tummy that does not seem to go away even when you lose weight or spend hours on traditional ab workouts, it is likely from diastasis recti. Diastasis recti weakens the abdominal wall and the thin connective tissue provides little to no support for the abdominal organs. Without the strong support, the organs protrude outward creating that stubborn poochy tummy. In addition, those well-intended abdominal exercises are likely causing the tummy to bulge more by putting more pressure on the connective tissue. Traditional ab exercises tend to minimize the proper activation of the internal core muscles which help elongate and flatten your tummy.
3. Pelvic Floor Issues
The media has influenced us to believe that stress incontinence (leaking urine unintentionally when you jump, sneeze or run) is not only normal, but something to joke about. The mass number of feminine incontinence products on the market tells you how common this issue has become. What most people do not realize is how a weak pelvic floor is directly connected to a weak internal core and poor pelvic alignment. Diastasis recti contributes to the inability of the transverse abdominis to effectively support the abdominal organs, allowing them to rest too low in the pelvic bowl. This extra pressure combined with common compensation strategies – like holding the breath and bracing – pushes down on the pelvic floor placing too much demand on the sphincters responsible for controlling the flow of urine. Pelvic organ prolapse, painful intercourse in women, and inflamed prostate in men are also connected to diastasis recti and core weakness.
While we’ve highlighted just three symptoms here, diastasis recti can also contribute to: mid back and upper back pain, chronic rib instability, constipation and intestinal issues, and poor fetal alignment and childbirth complications. A functionally strong and connected core is essential to your overall health. Understanding how diastasis recti can contribute to common, frustrating physical ailments could be the key in helping you feel better and live an active, pain-free life.
The Tummy Team specializes in reversing diastasis recti while rebuilding your true core strength to help you live the life you were meant to live. We have various effective online courses, or you can come to see is in our clinic located in Camas, WA. Restore your core today!