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Diastasis Recti Physical Therapy in Brooklyn, NYC

What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) is a condition characterized by the separation of the rectus abdominis muscles along the linea alba due to increased intraabdominal pressure, common postpartum or in certain populations like athletes or those with obesity.

Pathology & Mechanism

The separation of the rectus abdominis muscles occurs due to stretching of the linea alba, a connective tissue running from the xiphoid process to the pubic symphysis, affecting core function and stability.

Abdominal Anatomy & Physiology

DRA Anatomy:

  • Rectus Abdominis Separation: This impacts core functionality, leading to compromised stability and coordination of core muscles (diaphragm, transverse abdominis, pelvic floor, lumbar multifidi).

Common Symptoms

  • Bloated or “pregnant” belly appearance
  • Back pain
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Feeling unsupported or unstable in the abdomen

Common Populations Affected

  1. Post-natal women
  2. Athletes (weight lifters, military personnel)
  3. Individuals with obesity

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is confirmed by measuring the distance between rectus abdominis muscle bellies, typically 4.5 cm above and below the umbilicus. A separation of ≥1 finger width indicates clinical significance.

Treatment Approach

Physical Therapy Treatment Includes:

  • Manual Therapy: Myofascial release to reduce tension and optimize muscle function.
  • Neuromuscular Re-Education: Focus on diaphragmatic breathing, pelvic tilts, and pelvic floor strengthening.
  • Bracing: Utilizing abdominal bracing techniques as recommended.
  • Exercise Programs: Emphasize approximation of rectus abdominis, strengthen transverse abdominis, and ensure synchronous core function.
  • Movement Contraindications: Avoid certain exercises until abdominal wall integrity is restored.

Pilates Rehabilitation Protocol for DRA

  1. Diaphragmatic breathing
  2. Pelvic tilts
  3. Various Pilates exercises to strengthen core and improve posture
  4. Focus on pelvic floor engagement and deep transverse abdominis activation

Other Non-Pilates Exercises & Information

  • Lower extremity stretching
  • Neutral spine exercises
  • Thoracic spine rotation
  • Upper trap and levator scapulae stretches

Contact for Further Information

For more information or questions about Diastasis Recti Physical Therapy in Brooklyn, NYC, please contact Melanie at Inspirational Physical Therapy: