Diastasis Rectus- Navigating the Ins & Outs: Part 3 - Preventing & Treating a DRA
Now that we know what diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA) is and the causes of DRA, it’s important to understand how DRA affects us and what we need to know before returning to the gym, studio, or running.
What can I do to prevent or heal DRA?
The movements and activities that heal a DRA are the same activities that prevent them. Here is a list of ways that may naturally prevent or heal DRA.
- Creating appropriate intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) and using the diaphragm synergistically with abdominal musculature and the pelvic floor helps stabilize the body and decreases undue pressure on the abdomen that can cause DRA.
- It is through the breath and inhaling into all aspects of the abdomen including the lower pelvis, sides and low back that our core is stabilized. It is the stabilization with the breath and IAP and breathing into all aspects of the abdomen that creates a canister of stabilization.
- Another way to focus on the breath is to relax. Stop clinching your butt cheeks together, stop sucking in the abdomen and let the belly and butt relax and move freely with the breath.
Avoid movements that put undue stress on the abdominal musculature.
- This includes all exercises listed in the ineffective exercise section and it also includes any movement that causes tenting or coning of the abdomen (this is unique for each person)
- One thing that can cause unnecessary stress on the pelvic floor and abs is straining when you use the restroom. One way to avoid this stress is to avoid constipation. You may like to try the Squatty Potty to help ease the flow. If you are regularly constipated, please seek out medical advice.
Mind your posture
- Neutral spine is key! We don’t want to be pulled into anterior pelvic tilt or posterior tilt as both put strain on the body in different ways.
- The goal is to keep your pelvic floor and your diaphragm aligned!
SLOW IS FAST
- Postpartum is forever and deserves to be respected. It’s not only OK to go slow, it is better in the long run! Going too fast too soon can actually slow down the healing process.
- Postpartum gives you an opportunity to slow down and allow your body to recover, rehabilitate, and rebuild.
- ALL babies are born with a DRA and it is through their normal childhood development that they naturally begin to close and close their DRA through movement.
- This is where Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) and BIRTHFIT come in as both are based on ontogenesis- the natural growth & development we go through as children. We do purposeful movements that can naturally help to heal a DRA.
See a pelvic floor physical therapist
- Sometimes pain and discomfort can come from weak muscles and sometimes it comes from tight muscles. The key is knowing what you are working with so it can be treated appropriately. One great way to know what needs work is to see a women’s health physical therapist in your area!
- If you are in the Chicagoland area, I highly recommend BodyGears (https://bodygears.com). They have three local locations - Wheaton, Oak Brook and Oak Park. It may be a little bit of a travel but they well worth the drive the support and knowledge you will receive!
The information by Dr. Lauren Keller of Elemental Chiropractic, Inc. is provided for general information only and should in no way be considered as a substitute for medical advice or information about any particular condition. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, Dr. Lauren Keller nor Elemental Chiropractic, Inc. make no warranties or representations as to its accuracy and accept no responsibility and cannot guarantee the consequences if individuals choose to rely upon these contents as their sole source of information about a condition and its rehabilitation. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter or think you may be suffering from any medical conditions, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.