Diastasis rectus abdominis or DRA is a term used to describe separation of the abdominal muscles at the center of the stomach. This can happen to both men and women but more frequently occurs in women. The rectus abdominis is the specific muscle that separates. This muscle is commonly known as the muscle to create the “six-pack” appearance.
What causes the rectus abdominis muscle to separate? Usually pregnancy and delivery. When women are pregnant their stomachs grow at a fast rate and the body releases hormones to allow the muscles and ligaments to stretch without damage. When women deliver their children the muscles take some time returning to their original positions. Since the rectus abdominis muscle is at the center of movement of the body it’s constantly under forces that inhibit its ability to come back together. This can result in permanent separation. Many women also perform a lot of crunches after delivering a baby to try to regain their pre-baby figure and this is not always the best option to allow for healing of the abdominal separation.
When someone has separation of their abdominals they may report pain anywhere around their abdominals or pelvis. They may also report a bulging appearance of their abdominals. Pain is not always present however, and people can have separation of their abdominals without any apparent symptoms. Whether there are symptoms or not the abdominal muscles are still weak and unable to provide the stability the body requires during daily demands. This can lead to long term dysfunction contributing to other complications in the future such as back pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, urinary incontinence, difficulty with bowel movements, and intolerance to exercise.
Call our office today at 207.990.2050, if you have ever delivered a child or are concerned that you have abdominal separation. Learn about what we can offer you and take charge in regaining your body’s full potential.
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"Teri Carr and the crew at Pouzol's Physical Therapy have been extremely helpful with dealing with my health issues. The Pelvic Floor therapy for my abdominal pain has increased my quality of life twofold and when I had back issues last year Teri helped me with pre and post surgery pain and recovery. The atmosphere there is a place of healing and the people are all very friendly and I consider them as friends. I would recommend them to everyone and come to think of it I have.
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