Understanding and promoting healing for Diastasis Recti |12 December 2020
A common condition during and following pregnancy is Diastasis Recti – a partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis (six pack) muscles, often leaving many women in search of the best treatments.
In light of this, Seychelles NATION met with and spoke to Physio Selva who is based at Dr Murthy’s Clinic in Victoria, to learn more about this condition and to obtain his advice on its treatment.
Physio Selva has completed a Master’s Degree, specialising in Orthopedic Physiotherapy and has been practicing since 2001.
Over the years, he has treated different kinds of physiotherapeutic conditions especially neuro, orthopedic and sports related injuries. He has been working in Seychelles for a decade and has treated both Seychellois and foreigners at the clinic.
Physio Selva explains that Diastasis Recti can occur during and after pregnancy because the uterus stretches the midline of the muscles in the abdomen to accommodate the growing baby. Women who have more than one child are more likely to be affected by this condition. For different reasons however, Diastasis Recti can also occur in men and premature babies.
Signs and symptoms that can be experienced with Diastasis Recti include lower back pain, constipation, a bulge in the stomach, urine leaking, poor posture and bloating.
There is an assessment that people can perform on themselves to check whether they have Diastasis Recti. Below are the steps for the self-assessment:
- Lie on the back with the knees bent and the soles of the feet flat on the floor
- Place your palms on your stomach with the fingers on the belly button
- Gently and slightly lift the head and neck off the floor, moving the ribcage closer to the pelvis, and simultaneously press your fingers down.
If a gap of more than about 3cm is felt along the middle of the stomach, this can indicate the condition of Diastasis Recti
- Perform this test again, this time with the fingers placed just above and just below the belly button, again checking for any gaps.
Below are some simple exercises which are recommended for women as from 4 weeks onwards after giving birth, to help build abdominal strength over time.
Exercises that involve any planks and crunches are not recommended until strength has been rebuilt in the abdominals and the gap has started to close.
- Contract the core
- Begin in a seated position with the hands on the abdominals
- Take small, controlled breaths and as you do so, contract the abdominal muscles (drawing them in towards the spine)
- Hold the contractions for about 30 seconds
- Perform 10 repetitions
- Knee Elbow Taps
- On hands and knees (all 4s), exhale and draw the core up towards the spine
- Maintain this core contraction as you inhale and reach your right arm ahead and left leg straight behind you, at about hip height
- Exhale, tap your right elbow with your left knee
- Inhale, extend both limbs out again and return to neutral
- Alternate sides and perform 10 repetitions on each side
- Squats against the wall
- With your back against the wall in standing position, slowly lower the body until the knees are bent at a 90 degree angle
- As you go back up into a standing position, contract the abdominals towards your spine
- Perform 20 repetitions
- Toe Taps
- Lie flat on the back and bring the legs into a 90 degree angle, ensuring the knees are directly over the hips, and that your spine and pelvis are in a neutral position
- Inhale, exhale and tap one heel down to the floor, keeping the core drawn in and keeping the pelvis in a neutral position
- Inhale as you return to neutral
- Perform 10 repetitions on each side
- Heel Slides
- Lie flat on the back with the hands on the hip bones
- Inhale, exhale and slowly extend one leg out straight, hovering it above the floor, keeping the pelvis completely stable
- Inhale to bend the leg back in
- Perform 10 repetitions on each side
For more information, contact Physio Selva:
Telephone: 2 764 848