What is Abdominal Separation & How Can Physio Help?

Our Women's Health Physio, Sophie, explains Rectus Abdominis Separation and how physio can help.

cRectus Abdominis Diastasis (RAD), often referred to as abdominal separation, is a common condition among pregnant women and also individuals who engage in intense abdominal exercises without proper guidance. 

RAD is characterised by the widening of the linea alba, the connective tissue that runs down the centre of the abdomen, separating the left and right sides of the rectus abdominis muscles. This separation can lead to various symptoms, including a visible gap or bulge in the abdominal area, abdominal pain and a weakened core.

How Physiotherapy Can Help?

Assessment and Individualised treatment plans: Physiotherapists play a crucial role in assessing the severity of RAD and tailoring treatment plans to meet the specific needs of each patient. Through a comprehensive evaluation, including measurements of the diastasis width, tissue compliance and muscle strength, physiotherapists can design a personalised rehabilitation program.

Targeted Core Strengthening Exercises: Physiotherapy focuses on gentle, targeted exercises to strengthen the deep core muscles, including the transverse abdominis and pelvic floor muscles. These exercises may help to gradually close the gap in the rectus abdominis and restore abdominal muscle function. Common exercises initially may include pelvic tilts, abdominal compressions, and controlled breathing techniques gradually progressing to a variety of higher load and more functional exercises.

Posture and Body Mechanics Education: Physiotherapists educate individuals with RAD on proper posture and body mechanics to reduce strain on the abdominal muscles during daily activities. This includes guidance on lifting techniques, sitting posture, and optimal body alignment to promote healing and prevent further stress on the weakened area.

Progress Monitoring and Adaptation: Physiotherapyinvolves continuous monitoring of progress and adapting the treatment plan accordingly. As the diastasis narrows and core strength improves, physiotherapists can introduce more challenging exercises to further enhance muscle function and overall stability.

Use of Supportive Devices: In some cases, physiotherapists may recommend the use of abdominal binders or support belts to provide external support to the weakened muscles, facilitating the healing process. These supportive devices are typically used in conjunction with targeted exercises and lifestyle modifications.

Rectus Abdominis Diastasis can have a significant impact on someone’s quality of life by affecting both their appearance and functional abilities. With the guidance of a skilled physiotherapist and commitment to a tailored program, individuals with rectus abdominis diastasis can embark on a journey to restore core strength, alleviate symptoms, and regain confidence in their body’s functionality, improving over-all well-being and resilience. 

If you are experiencing concerns about a possible RAD, book an assessment with Sophie, our women’s and men’s health physiotherapist. 

About us

Physiotherapy treatment and rehabilitation clinic located in Albany, WA. Services include Hydrotherapy, Dry Needling, Workplace Screening, Women’s Health, Postural Rehabilitation, Electrotherapy, Joint Replacement and Pilates classes.

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