Can Diastasis Recti Heal on its own? - Legacy Physical Therapy
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Can Diastasis Recti Heal on its own?

Diastasis recti, often referred to simply as diastasis, is a condition characterized by the separation of the abdominal muscles, specifically the rectus abdominis. This condition is most commonly seen in postpartum women but can also affect men and women of all ages due to factors like rapid weight gain, heavy lifting, or certain abdominal exercises. One common question is whether diastasis recti can heal on its own and what role pelvic floor physical therapy (PT) plays in this healing process.

Understanding Diastasis Recti

Diastasis recti occurs when the linea alba, the connective tissue that runs down the middle of the abdomen, becomes stretched and weakened, causing a gap between the left and right sides of the rectus abdominis muscle. This condition can lead to a visible bulge or “pooch” in the stomach area and may be accompanied by symptoms such as lower back pain, poor posture, and pelvic floor dysfunction.

Here are examples of different presentations of Diastasis Recti:

 

Can Diastasis Recti Heal on Its Own?

The healing of diastasis recti largely depends on the severity of the condition, individual factors, and the approach taken towards recovery. In mild cases, the body may naturally repair the separation over time, especially if supportive measures are taken:

1. Time and Rest: In some cases, particularly mild diastasis recti, the body can gradually heal with time. Rest and avoiding activities that strain the abdominal muscles can facilitate this natural healing process.

2. Lifestyle Modifications: Adopting gentle core-strengthening exercises and proper body mechanics during daily activities can support the healing process. Avoiding heavy lifting and high-impact exercises is crucial to prevent further strain on the abdominal muscles.

However, relying solely on natural healing without targeted interventions may not be sufficient for moderate to severe cases. This is where pelvic floor physical therapy becomes essential.

The Role of Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Pelvic floor physical therapy is a specialized field that focuses on the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that support the pelvic organs. It plays a crucial role in the recovery and management of diastasis recti for several reasons:

1. Targeted Exercises: Pelvic floor PT includes specific exercises designed to strengthen the abdominal wall and pelvic floor muscles. These exercises help to close the gap in the abdominal muscles and restore core stability.

2. Education and Awareness: Physical therapists educate patients on proper posture, body mechanics, and safe ways to perform daily activities to avoid further abdominal separation.

3. Manual Therapy: Hands-on techniques used by physical therapists can improve tissue mobility, reduce pain, and enhance the function of the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles.

4. Breathing Techniques: Proper breathing techniques are taught to engage the core muscles effectively, promoting healing and preventing additional strain.

While diastasis recti can sometimes heal on its own, the most effective and reliable path to recovery often involves the expertise of a pelvic floor physical therapist. By combining natural healing processes with targeted exercises, manual therapy, and proper education, individuals can significantly improve their abdominal muscle function and overall quality of life. If you suspect you have diastasis recti, schedule a FREE discovery session, we will provide an assessment of your diastasis during this session & discuss how we can help heal your diastasis!