Message Us
Lost Password

Diastasis Recti versus Hernia

Diastasis Recti versus Hernia

Not sure whether you have a diastasis or a hernia?

You are in the right place.  Diastasis Recti will often be misdiagnosed as an abdominal hernia with the recommendation of surgery. It is important to understand what is going on with your body so you can make an informed decision.

We have effective comprehensive online rehab courses for everyone.

First, let’s define some important key terms:

Diastasis Recti: a midline separation of the abdominal wall due to the stretching of connective tissue

Abdominal Hernia: a protrusion of the abdominal contents through a damaged, torn or weak area of the abdominal wall


What does it look/feel like?

Diastasis Recti will look like a bulging or trench down the midline of your abdominals that worsens with holding your breath and bulging your tummy or straining. It might be tender but not painful. (Learn more about Diastasis Recti and Functional Core Weakness here).

A hernia will be smaller, bulging areas where it feels like tissue bulges through a hole and needs to be pushed back in. At times it is painful, sometimes sharp, sometimes causes nausea, can be discolored dark red, purple or grey.

If diastasis recti is left untreated, it is possible this could eventually turn into a hernia (tear in connective tissue). Some mild hernias can be managed with core rehab while others need surgical repair.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, take some time to take our short quiz to determine how severe your core issues are.

So how did this happen?

Diastasis Recti can happen to men and women, regardless of age, weight or fitness level.  When our internal core muscles are weak, deflated and inactive, our body is forced to live in collapsed postures or to use bracing or bearing down to stabilize our body. Consistent forward forceful pressure on the abdominal wall causes excessive stretching to the connective tissue that runs right down the middle. Typically this damage occurs over time from pushing out on on the tummy with chronic poor postures, traditional abdominal exercises like crunches, sit-ups or planks, chronic constipation, and habitual bracing or bearing down. Often the bracing and protective posturing of the abdominal wall is also connected to past core trauma and resulting emotional and physical disconnect.

Take a moment to check yourself for a diastasis.

When Should You Be Concerned?

hernia diagram, copyright, the tummy team

Abdominal hernias will typically appear in areas of weak or damaged connective tissue. When this weakened area of connective tissue tears and pressure against the abdominal wall continues (from poor body mechanics, improper lifting, or poor posture), then portions of the intestinal tract are at risk of bulging through that tear and causing strangulation. This requires urgent medical attention and often surgical repair.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of inconsistent views about surgical requirements. In general, if the bulging area is tender or painful, hot to touch, discolored or not along the midline of your abdomen – seek immediate medical attention.

However, if the bulging area is down the midline of the abdomen and is not hot, discolored, or painful, then you may actually be suffering from diastasis recti, or simply a detached belly button. Both of these will benefit from our Functional Core Rehabilitation

How do we fix this?


Prehab or Rehab

There are a few ways The Tummy Team can help you address your diastasis and hernia. Before surgery, after surgery or instead of surgery.

Sadly, hernia surgeries have a high failure rate due to not correcting the circumstances to created the hernia in the first place. When surgery is required but not considered urgent, we can provide pre-surgery rehabilitation (prehab). Rebuilding the muscles and improving your posture and habitual movement patterns will minimize the invasive nature of the procedure and will improve your odds for a successful surgical recovery.

In cases of a mild hernia that is not considered an emergency, Functional Core Rehabilitation can strengthen the abdominals, shrink the area of the hernia, and retrain your body to prevent the ongoing pressure that contributed to the weakened tissue in the first place. In most of these cases, clients are able to avoid surgery altogether by eliminating the bulging and herniation risk.

In the case of diastasis recti, Functional Core Rehabilitation can close the diastasis, strengthen the core, and create balance and stability in the core.

Your core is damaged and your muscles are ineffective, not just weak. 

You do not need another fitness routine and you might not need surgery. 

You need highly specialized functional core rehab approach.

Want to talk to our specialist first?

Check out our most popular functional core rehab courses:

Feeling lost? Book a FREE 15-minute phone consult with Kelly Dean, MPT HERE
Get up to 30% OFF on special Father's Day products through June 23! Visit Our Store HERE