Diastasis Recti (DRA)
What is Diastasis Rectus Abdominis?
DRA is a common condition that affects many women during the childbearing years. As a fetus grows within the uterus, the uterus expands, which places stress across the structures surrounding it, specifically the muscles. The primary abdominal muscle on the front side of the body is called the rectus abdominis. This muscle is divided into a left and right half by a thick band of connective tissue called the linea alba. You may hear people talk about “6-pack abs”; this is referring to the rectus abdominis. As the uterus expands, stretching across the rectus abdominis potentially could occur. In some cases, the weakening and stretching of the linea alba connective tissue creates a separation between the right and left sides of the muscle, or diastasis.
DRA may affect women during and after pregnancy. Typically, DRA develops in the second or third trimester. It is during this time that the fetus is growing most rapidly, and can result in the greatest increase in distance between the 2 sides of the muscle.
There are several factors that may make a woman more susceptible to developing DRA. These include age, being pregnant with multiple children (multiparity), and having many pregnancies. The abdominal muscles have many important functions within the body, including postural support, movement, breathing, and protection of the internal organs. Therefore, if their structure is affected by DRA, a woman may have difficulty controlling her posture, which may put her at an increased risk for injury. Additionally, for a woman juggling the many stresses of having a new baby, the discomfort, weakness, and changes to postural control that may result from DRA can negatively affect her quality of life.
During your DRA evaluation we will be educating you on postural training, myofascial release, spinal mobilization, stretching and bracing to reverse your DRA symptoms.
At ProTouch Physical Therapy we developed a 7 step protocol that has been 98% successful with addressing all of the dysfunctions of DRA.