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Torn abdominal muscle after tummy tuck

Experiencing pain in your midsection after surgery can be a worrying sign, especially if you have recently undergone a tummy tuck. One of the potential causes of this pain could be a torn abdominal muscle. Muscle tears are quite common after surgery, but determining whether the pain is due to an actual tear or just swelling can be challenging. Additionally, symptoms of an abdominal muscle tear can sometimes be confused with other issues, such as nerve damage from liposuction, further complicating the diagnosis.

So, what does a muscle tear in the abdomen feel like? If you have torn your abdominal muscle, you may experience sharp or stabbing pain in the affected area. The pain may worsen with movement or certain activities. Other common symptoms of a muscle tear include swelling, tenderness, and bruising.

When it comes to muscle repair after tummy tuck surgery, the healing process can vary depending on the severity of the tear. In general, it can take several weeks to months for a torn abdominal muscle to heal completely. During this time, it is important to follow your doctor’s recommendations for rest, ice, compression, and elevation to aid in the healing process.

How do you know if your muscles have separated after a tummy tuck? One way to determine this is by performing a physical examination. Your doctor may ask you to perform certain movements or tests to assess the strength and integrity of your abdominal muscles. In some cases, imaging tests such as an MRI may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

In terms of treatment, conservative measures such as rest, pain medication, and physical therapy may be recommended for mild to moderate muscle tears. However, more severe cases may require surgical intervention to repair the torn muscle. Your doctor will recommend the best course of treatment based on the severity of your injury.

For individuals recovering from a torn abdominal muscle after tummy tuck surgery, there are several products on Amazon that can aid in the healing process. These include abdominal binders, ice packs, and supportive pillows to help alleviate pain and discomfort. Additionally, physical therapy equipment such as resistance bands and stability balls can be beneficial for strengthening the abdominal muscles during recovery.

Overall, it’s important to seek medical attention if you experience persistent or severe pain in your midsection after surgery, as it could be a sign of a torn abdominal muscle. By working closely with your healthcare provider and following their recommendations for treatment and rehabilitation, you can promote healing and return to normal activities as quickly as possible.

In this article we will talk about how to tell if you have ripped your abdominal muscle after tummy tuck and what treatment options are available for treating this type of injury.

The abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the abdominal area. After this kind of surgery, it is common to experience pain in the lower back and around the belly button.

The abdominal muscles are located underneath the skin and can become torn during tummy tucks. If this occurs, your doctor may need to perform additional surgery to repair these muscles and help relieve your pain.

Torn abdominal muscle after tummy tuck

Do you still look pregnant months after delivery? Are you struggling with weak ab muscles, back pain and an ever-growing belly bulge? If so, a postpartum abdominal separation condition called Diastasis Recti or torn stomach muscle could be to blame. This article explains separated abdominal muscles in detail and gives you all the information you need to tell if your abdominal muscles were torn during pregnancy. You will find tummy tuck as an abdominal separation surgery, available treatment to target this problem.

What Is Abdominal Separation?

Abdominal Separation or Diastasis Recti is caused when the outer layer of the abdominal muscles separates through the center of the abdominal wall. It usually occurs during pregnancy, but can also occur in men and athletes. This condition can be a sign of other issues as well, like a hernia. Most women’s who are experiencing torn stomach muscle in pregnancy will get better in the first 8 weeks after having the baby, specially with the help of ab separation exercises. But, unfortunately many women don’t get diagnosed for this condition until the damage is far too advanced to be treated.

Separated abdominal muscles is a common complication of childbirth. It causes the core to destabilize, causing low back pain, poor posture, and muscle injuries. A woman with this condition may experience a wide, asymmetrical abdomen and back pain. The condition can also affect the lower back and cause chronic lower back pain. This condition is unfamiliar to many mums, with most assuming it’s their fault they can’t return to their pre-baby belly. In fact, diastasis recti can make it near impossible to regain your ‘normal’ belly shape and size without the help of abdominal separation surgery. There are several reasons why torn stomach muscle may occur. It’s important to understand why this happens and how it can be corrected.

Abdominal Separation: Causes and Symptoms

Diastasis recti is a very common condition during and following pregnancy. In fact, 60 – 70 per cent of women who’ve been pregnant experience torn stomach muscle after birth to some degree. Whilst pregnant, your connective tissue, the linea alba, thins out due to changing hormone levels while your uterus expands to accommodate your growing baby.

As your baby grows during pregnancy, the uterus expands and pushes against the abdominal wall. While this occurs, your pregnancy hormones allow the connective tissues to soften and relax. This widening occurs in the connective tissue between your ab muscles, the linea alba, and causes a gap or separation to occur. This is most common in the third trimester of your pregnancy but can also occur after childbirth when there’s no baby to support the weakened abdominal muscles.

Torn Stomach Muscle Symptoms

After pregnancy, a key giveaway that you have torn stomach muscle is that your belly protrudes and still appears pregnant, despite your increasing efforts with diet and exercise. If you find yourself struggling to remove your bulging belly after pregnancy, surgery may be a good option. Fleur De Lis Abdominoplasty is one of the best surgical options available and can be life-changing for those concerned about their postpartum body as it helps to firm and tighten the belly similar to how it once was. Learn more about the benefits of tummy tuck surgery.

Who Is More Likely to Get Diastasis Recti?

ab separation in pregnancy is common however, some are more prone to the condition. Typically, women who have had more than one baby and women who have had a direct relative experience diastasis recti are more likely to have it themselves. Women who have the highest chance of this include those who have:

What Does Diastasis Recti Look Like?

You can check yourself whether you have a separation of abdominal muscles or you can ask your GP or midwife for a medical assessment. Before beginning self-assessment, there are some recommendations to ensure your body has recovered fully from the pregnancy.

It’s important to allow an adequate period of time for your body to adjust. This can take between several months and two years. It’s also important that you’re making an effort with diet and exercise to determine whether or not your body will change naturally.

Muscle separation pregnancy is measured by the number of fingers that fit in between the inner sides of the rectus abdominis muscle. Two or more finger widths is considered diastasis recti. Typically there are three key signs to identify if your abs were damaged, torn or separated throughout your pregnancy. These include:

If you’ve spent more than six months eating healthy and exercising but you’re experiencing the above symptoms, you may consider trying the below self-assessment technique.

How to Tell If Abdominal Muscles Are Separated | Self Testing Diastasis Recti

Follow these 4 easy steps to find out weather you are experiencing ab separation or not.

Separated Abdominal Muscles Exercise

If you’ve determined that your muscles have divided, you may be looking for a way to fix it. There are exercises for torn stomach muscle you can perform to improve abdominal separation, but it is usually not repairable without the help of surgery.

Pilates, yoga, cardio and strength training may help improve your abdominal muscle strength, but it’s recommended that you discuss this with your physio or fitness coach first. Before attempting to perform difficult core exercises, it’s important to be aware of the risks. Planks and crunches, if attempted too early, may actually make your bulge appear worse. Instead, Pilates exercises are a great way to begin if your condition is mild and not severe. These include:

Any exercises that you do, you must make sure that your navel is contracted (pulled in) rather than expanded (pushed out). This is really important to ensure that you aren’t worsening your condition.

It’s important to note that although these core exercises may help to strengthen your ab muscles, they will not repair and rejoin torn abdominal muscles on their own. If you struggle to perform these core exercises due to back pain or muscle weakness, it’s recommended that you stop and book a consultation with a healthcare professional. Whether it’s your GP, Gynaecologist, Physiotherapist or Plastic Surgeon, they will be able to determine whether you have suffered notable pregnancy abdominal separation. They will also advise you on torn stomach muscle treatment, giving you the best chance of recovery without surgery.

Tummy Tuck Surgery: Abdominal Separation Treatment

If you’ve waited months or years for your tummy to regain its shape and strength, and your diastasis recti has not recovered, surgery may be the next best step.

Abdominoplasty surgery, performed by a specialist plastic surgeon, has the power to restore separated muscles and also alleviate any hygiene issues caused by loose excess skin. Diastasis recti has eligibility to have tummy tuck Medicare rebate. The cosmetic goal of this surgery is to create a firmer and smoother profile of the tummy area.

Diastasis Recti Surgery Considerations

If you do decide to undergo diastasis recti surgery, it’s important that you wait at least a year since your baby was born. This gives your body sufficient time to heal and your muscles to return to their original place. This also allows enough time for your exercise, diet and physical therapy to work and for you to notice results.

It’s also important to consider the effect that breast-feeding may have on your abdomen. Hormone levels when breastfeeding may interfere with your abdominal muscles and prevent them from regaining their shape. Because of this, you should wait a few months after your baby is done breastfeeding.

Before committing to surgery, you must be aware of all the risks pertaining to your surgery. All surgery carries risks, whether it be undesirable scarring or poor recovery. You can read more about this on our general risks of surgery page.

Finally, you must have realistic expectations about what abdominoplasty surgery can achieve. It is not a weight loss surgery and may not help you to remove excess fat. It needs you to be close to your ideal weight for surgery. However, It will remove any excess stretched skin and your ‘mummy tummy.’ If your main goal is to remove excess fat alongside excess skin and your bulging diastasis recti belly, your surgeon may offer to combine your procedure with liposuction. This is something that is determined in your initial consultation.

What does a muscle tear in abdomen feel like

A abdominal muscle strain is fairly common in athletes and active populations because this group of the pulled abdominal muscle is constantly engaged to keep the athlete’s core tight so that the athlete can perform and execute skills using his/her extremities and/or total body. Strong and healthy abdominal muscles only enhance an athlete’s performance. However, injure these muscles, and the athlete will have significant difficulty trying to perform. The muscles of the abdomen are layered from deep to superficial including the transverse abdominis (fibers run across the abdomen), internal and external obliques (fibers run in opposite diagonal directions), and rectus abdominis (fibers run up and down). Each has a function linked to its structure. The deepest muscle, transverse abdominis constricts to hold the abdominal contents in place and to help with forced expiration, coughing, laughing, and sneezing. The internal and external obliques’ diagonal fibers are designed to assist in trunk rotation, lateral flexion (movement sideways), and when working as a pair, trunk flexion. The most superficial muscle group is the rectus abdominis. This is the set of muscles that fun up and down the abdomen and can be seen in athletes who have a low body fat (also known as the much sought after “six pack”). The muscle fibers can be seen just under the skin as they rise and fall from their attached fascial sheath. The rectus abdominis is primarily responsible for trunk flexion, but can also assist in other trunk movements.

What is an abdominal muscle strain?

A strain is an injury to a muscle. A strain can vary in severity from a mild stretch to a full rupture. In an abdominal muscle strain, any one of the four muscles can be injured causing extreme discomfort with any trunk movements as well as with coughing, laughing, deep breathing, or sneezing. 

What are the classifications of abdominal muscle strain?

First Degree Abdominal Muscle Strain– A mild stretching of a muscle is diagnosed as a first degree abdominal strain and can result in localized pain, mild swelling, and pain with movement, coughing, laughing, deep breathing, or sneezing.

Second Degree Abdominal Muscle Strain – A more severe injury of an abdominal muscle is a partial tear or (second degree). Depending on the number of fibers torn, this type of injury may be quite debilitating for the athlete. The athlete may experience sudden abdominal pain, marked tenderness, localized swelling, and discoloration. Any and all movements of the athlete may be painful with the athlete guarded in his/her movements.

Third Degree Abdominal Muscle Strain – A third degree muscle strain is the most severe injury and is diagnosed as a complete muscle rupture either at its insertion, origin, or midsection. Along with the symptoms of a second degree muscle strain, the athlete may also experience the symptoms of shock including nausea, vomiting, pale skin, excess perspiration, difficulty breathing, and a shallow and rapid heart rate. Athletes suspected of a full rupture muscle tear should be immediately removed from the activity and provided emergency medical care until emergency services arrive. The athlete should be kept still while an ice pack is applied to the injury. The athlete’s vital signs (pulse, respiration, blood pressure) should be monitored until help arrives.

How is an abdominal muscle strain diagnosed?

An abdominal strain is easily diagnosed by a sports medicine professional with the use of a thorough medical history and complete clinical evaluation. Palpation of the injury site combined with abdominal muscle tests can provide enough information to determine the severity of the abdominal muscle injury as well as the specific muscle injured. 

Who gets an abdominal muscle strain?

Athletes more susceptible to an abdominal strain are those in sports that require strong rotational movements or flexion/hyperextension movements. They are usually acute (traumatic) injuries seen in athletes in the sports of baseball, softball, basketball, gymnastics, and track and field.

What causes abdominal muscle strain?

The most common causes of abdominal strains are sudden twisting (i.e., swinging a bat) or sudden hyperextension of the spine (i.e., as seen during dynamic gymnastics movements) (Anderson, M.K., Hall, S.J., & Martin, M., 2005). If the force of the movement is stronger than the fibers of the muscles can withstand, the muscle will begin to stretch. If the force continues, the fibers may begin to tear. Continued force could cause a complete rupture within the muscle or between the muscle and its fascial attachment.

What can I do to prevent an abdominal muscle strain?

Athletes can prevent abdominal muscle strains by maintaining the flexibility of their trunk and increasing the strength of their core muscles. The good thing is that many sports programs already include core strength training exercises as part of their conditioning program. If athletes are involved in programs that do not incorporate core training, a large variety of these types of exercises are used by personal trainers, physical therapists, and certified athletic trainers. These professionals can be consulted for additional or advanced exercises to strengthen core muscles.  Here are a few good at home abdominal exercises.

The Bridge – Is a core exercise that can be done without equipment. It is easily performed and has a lot of variations that can be added to increase the difficulty level of the specific exercise.

The Plank – is another good exercise to build core muscles and is performed on the ground with the athlete on his/her forearms in a push-up position. If this is too difficult, the athlete may start in the plank position on his/her knees.

The Side Plank – Is another alternative to the regular plank. The idea is the same but the athlete is in a side lying position. The athlete balances on one forearm while holding his/her opposite arm up in the air keeping the body straight with only the feet touching the ground. A more difficult variation of the side plank is to have the athlete lift his/her top leg and hold it while maintaining a tight core in the plank position. This can be done with multiple leg lifts or by just holding the leg lift for a number of seconds.

The Traverse Ab Press – This exercise is demonstrated in the following SportsMD Video

What is the treatment for an abdominal muscle strain?

Immediate treatment – Involves using the P.R.I.C.E. principle – Protection, Rest, Icing, Compression, Elevation -beginning with the application of a cold therapy pad or ice pack that can be used for your stomach for twenty minutes. The ice pack can be reapplied every two hours for the first two to three days post-injury. Rest is another component of the P.R.I.C.E. principle but is a little more difficult with an abdominal strain. Injuries to the arms or legs can easily be protected and rested through the use of crutches, slings, or braces. However, splinting the trunk of the body is not such an easy task.

Limit Activities – To protect and rest the abdominal muscles, the athlete may need to limit his/her activities for a few days until the pain decreases.

Wear a Stomach Compression Pad– To assist the athlete in supporting the injured area, the athlete may choose to wear an stomach compression pad. The pad also serves to add compression to the area minimizing any swelling.

Mild Stretching – After the pain begins to subside, the athlete can begin mild stretching of the injured area along with isometric contractions to begin to strengthen and heal the injured tissue. Stretching should proceed slowly and be performed carefully so as not to cause any pain. Pain is an indicator that the athlete has exceeded the injured tissue’s capability to lengthen.

Stretching too early during the rehabilitation of a muscle strain can reinjure the damaged tissue and set the athlete’s progress back.   New collagen tissue can be torn from its attachment and restart the bleeding and swelling process.

Isometric muscle exercises  – Can be safely performed early in the rehabilitation process because they are designed to contract a muscle without allowing any movement of the associated joints. One such exercise is to have the athlete lie on his/her back and flex his/her knees placing his/her feet on the ground. The athlete then pushes his/her lower back against the ground while contracting all of the abdominal muscles at the same time. The athlete can hold the contraction for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times. As the muscle continues to heal and the athlete’s range-of-motion improves, the athlete can progress to concentric muscle exercises for his/her core.

Concentric muscle exercises  – Are exercises in which the muscle contracts causing a shortening of the muscle and movement of the adjacent joints. Movements to improve the strengths of all of the abdominal muscle groups should include the movements of trunk flexion, rotation, and lateral flexion (side bend). Each exercise should be done to target specific muscle groups. Although once popular to strengthen the rectus abdominis, sit-ups are not the best exercise for strengthening the abdominals. An effective exercise is a modified crunch. The athlete lies on the floor with his/her knees bent and feet placed shoulder width apart. The athlete contracts his/her abdominals and then lifts his/her chin to the ceiling focusing on moving the chest off of the floor. It is a lift rather than a curl. The internal and external obliques can be targeted by using the same exercise as above, but by adding a rotational component with each lift. The athlete can alternate rotations to the left and to the right with each modified crunch. This rotational component targets the diagonal fibers of the internal and external obliques. Traditional core exercises can also be performed to strengthen the abdominal muscles. If available, core exercises can also be performed using a therapy ball or foam roll.

This a great video on how to treat an abdominal muscle strain.

Recovery – Getting back to Sport

Once the athlete has pain-free full range-of-motion of his/her trunk (flexion, extension, rotation, and lateral flexion) and good strength, the athlete is ready to progress to sport specific functional exercises.  

These exercises should include a gradual progression of skills required in the athlete’s sport. For example, a softball player should include both offensive and defensive skills specific to the athlete’s position. For example, a catcher should include drills specific to that position whereas an athlete who competes as a middle infielder should include drills fielding balls directly at the athlete as well as to either side. Regardless of the defensive position, all ballplayers need to be able to swing a bat. Those returning from an abdominal strain should take extra care when beginning and progressing through hitting drills. The athlete should begin swinging drills at about an intensity of 50% while using a lighter bat than usual. Once the athlete can perform bat swings at full speed without pain, the athlete can progress to hitting whiffle balls off of a tee or soft toss drills. Once the athlete can perform these drills comfortably and with confidence, the athlete can proceed to hit off of a machine. Only when the athlete can comfortably perform all the basic skills of his/her sport without pain can the athlete progress to scrimmage situations. With time and confidence, the athlete will be ready to return to sports.

How long does it take for muscle repair to heal after tummy tuck

Not all tummy tucks are alike. Some involve more extensive surgery than others, and for this reason, what to expect during recovery can vary from person to person. The aim of the tummy tuck is to slim and tighten the waist for a more shapely and youthful appearance, but the surgical route to get you there (and into some cute new clothes) can vary quite a bit.

Depending on the amount of excess skin and fat to be removed, incisions can be shorter or more extensive, including the repositioning of the belly button. But one of the biggest factors to impact recovery from a tummy tuck, also called an abdominoplasty, is whether or not a muscle repair is included.

Why the muscle sometimes needs a repair

If you have seen the abs on even one superhero you will know the muscle we are talking about. It is called the rectus abdominis and it runs vertically from your sternum to your pubic bone. It has a left and right side separated down the middle by a band of tissue called the linea alba.

The linea alba can become over stretched, usually during pregnancy but also due to extreme weight gain or a lifting injury. When this happens the two sides of the muscle move further apart, resulting in an outward bulging of the belly that doesn’t go away, even when weight (baby or otherwise) is gone. This condition is called diastasis recti.

Besides being a cosmetic issue for some people, this condition can affect posture and trunk strength. It can cause pain in the abdomen, hips, and back, as well as bowel and bladder issues, all of which can have a huge impact on quality of life.

Why the muscle sometimes doesn’t need a repair

Not all tummy tucks include a muscle repair because not all bellies that can benefit from a tummy tuck have a diastasis recti. Even when the linea alba is stretched out, it can sometimes return to its normal size on its own. Furthermore, if a woman has had a cesarean section, a repair will likely have already been completed at that time.

How the muscle is repaired

Diastasis recti can be corrected by a general surgeon, but plastic surgeons routinely do this as part of their tummy tuck procedure. The surgery involves folding over the stretched tissue of the linea alba and suturing the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle together. Though you can’t see it from the outside of the body, this involves suturing up and down the whole length of the abdomen.

Why a muscle repair impacts tummy tuck recovery

The difference in recovery between a tummy tuck with muscle repair versus one without has to do with the fact that muscles contract. Unlike the skin and fatty tissue that cover the abdomen, the muscles underneath (and the rectus abdominis is a big one) are prime movers and stabilizers of the whole trunk. This means that they contract nearly any time you move your body. Even simple movements like lifting your arms when sitting upright or rolling over in bed can engage these muscles — and then there’s coughing and sneezing.

When the muscle is repaired it needs time to rest so that it can heal up. Over exerting yourself too early can compromise your results and will certainly be painful.

How a muscle repair impacts recovery

When a muscle repair is included with your tummy tuck, you will be required to be more careful and your recovery will take a bit longer — from three to four weeks longer.

Symptoms After a muscle repair patients often experience feeling more full quickly when eating and the sensation of not being able to take as deep a breath as they used to. This is due to a decrease in the amount of room inside the abdominal cavity caused by tightening the muscles. The stomach has less room to expand and the diaphragm meets more resistance as it moves down to allow you to take a breath. Both of these issues, if they occur, typically resolve within four to six weeks.

Abdominal Binder Shortly after surgery you will be given an abdominal binder to help support the repaired muscle and to reduce overall swelling. You will be given instructions on how to put it on and will be told to wear it regularly. You will probably need help putting it on and taking it off in the first few days.

Lifting restrictions After surgery, your doctor will restrict you to lifting no more than about 10-15 pounds. You will be prohibited from lifting anything heavier for a full six to eight weeks after surgery. You will also not be allowed to do any core strengthening exercises, such as sit-ups, to avoid stressing and potentially tearing the repair.

Posture It is typical of all patients after a tummy tuck to have slightly hunched over posture. This is normal and it is important not to force an upright position and put undue strain while your incision heals. This becomes even more important after a muscle repair. You may even be given a walker to get around the first week after surgery.

You still have to get out of bed Even with a muscle repair, your surgeon will require that you begin moving about within a day of your surgery. This includes getting up to go to the bathroom and with some restrictions, taking a shower. This is important for your overall health and healing and the prevention of blood clots. Many patients opt to sleep in a recliner to make these movements easier. Have someone at home to help you, especially during the first couple of weeks.

Though the muscle repair does add some challenges to your recovery, the long term benefits can far outweigh them. A study published last fall (2019), showed postpartum women who underwent a rectus abdominis repair had significant improvements in trunk function, urinary incontinence, and overall quality of life.

How do you know if your muscles separated after a tummy tuck

Your body goes through a ton of physical changes during pregnancy, which can lead to all kinds of unexpected postpartum conditions. One of which is abdominal separation, also called rectus abdominis diastasis (RAD).

This is a condition that causes weakened and separated stomach muscles and can affect women during and after pregnancy. However, some women may not even realise they have this condition and are dealing with the issue in silence.

You don’t have to go through it alone! If you think you may have RAD, we’re here to help. In this article, we’re going to walk you through what this condition is, its symptoms and signs, and the steps you can take to treat it. Let’s get started.

What Is Abdominal Muscle Separation?

Rectus Abdominis Diastasis, or RAD, is what happens when you experience abdominal muscle separation. This is a super common issue for those going through pregnancy, affecting 1 in 2 pregnant women. However, it can also affect others and can become an issue for people like athletes, or anyone putting a lot of strain on their stomach muscles.

When a person is dealing with RAD during pregnancy, it means their abdominal wall muscles (the rectus muscles) developed a gap between them, and their connective tissue became weaker. This happens as a result of your growing uterus and abdomen during pregnancy putting strain on the muscles, as well as changes to hormones in your body.

This condition is not always painful, but pain can develop if it is left untreated. As a result, many people dealing with separated abdominal muscles do not even realise they have it until pain develops. However, there are indicators you can look for.

Who Is At Risk Of Developing Abdominal Muscle Separation?

As we touched on above, RAD is a common condition that affects 1 in 2 pregnant women. However, there are some factors that will make a person more at risk for developing it.

This condition is most common in pregnant women who have been pregnant before, older pregnant women, obese pregnant women, and women giving birth to multiples. This is because their ab muscles have already experienced being stretched before or are experiencing more strain than usual during pregnancy.

How Do I Know If I Have Abdominal Muscle Separation?

How can you figure out if you have diastasis rectus abdominis? Here’s what to look for:

Abdominal Muscle Separation Symptoms

The most obvious sign of having RAD are changes to your core muscles and abdomen. You can often see a gap appear between your two bands of separated muscle. This will look like a bulge going down the middle of your stomach.

Along with visual cues like seeing a stomach bulge, lower back pain is often an indicator of RAD. This is because as your deep abdominal muscle separates, it puts more strain on other parts of the body to compensate.

In some cases, other symptoms can include constipation, urinary incontinence, frequent bloating, and changes in posture.

Abdominal Muscle Separation Diagnosis

If you want to ensure you are actually suffering from recti abdominis, you can visit a Physiotherapist for a diagnosis.

When checking for signs of RAD, a healthcare professional will measure the separation between both your rectus abdominis muscles. They’ll look at both the width of separation between them, its depth, and the length of it down your abdomen by your belly button. In some cases, they may also perform an ultrasound.

After the examination and diagnosis, treatment can begin.

Treating Abdominal Muscle Separation

The treatment for abdominal muscle separation, in most cases, comes down to a care routine developed by physical therapists. These will include exercises designed to engage ab muscles, core muscles, and your pelvic floor muscles, along with deep muscle exercises.

Other treatments include practicing good posture, wearing supportive garments, and avoiding any heavy lifting or strain on your abdominal muscles.

Diastasis Recti Surgery

In extreme cases, some women may need to go through diastasis recti surgery. This is a procedure similar to tummy tuck surgery, without the focus on fat removal. Here, a surgeon will go in and perform a diastasis recti repair, surgically joining the previously separated muscles.

This type of surgery only happens in extreme cases, where physical therapy and exercise are not enough for the muscles to naturally repair. Always consult with your doctor to see if reconstructive surgery will need to be a part of dealing with your case of Rectus Abdominis Diastasis.

Exercises To Help In Recovery

If you’re worried about developing this condition, there are many forms of exercise you can participate in to make sure it’s never an issue. Regular abdominal exercise can do wonders to prevent this condition and repair your separated rectus abdominis muscle in recovery.

Exercises To Try

You’ll want to engage in forms of exercise that begin to repair and bring your abdominal muscles back together. Focus on exercise where your belly will not need to bulge, and you won’t strain your stomach muscles.

Suggested exercises include pelvic tilts, leg stretches, and bridges. You should also focus on deep breathing, lying on your back, and engaging your diaphragm.

Exercises To Avoid

If you are exercising in recovery, avoid any exercises that put a strain on the middle of your belly, such as planks and sit ups. You do not want to encourage the separated muscles to strain or bulge.

You should also avoid heavy weight lifting, or exercise where you are twisting. If you put too much strain on your recti muscles, you could further separate the muscles, or even develop an abdominal wall hernia.

In Conclusion

Taking care of your body post-pregnancy can be hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you are experiencing symptoms of RAD, or are looking for help developing a treatment plan, feel free to contact us! We’re happy to help you develop a tailored exercise program that works for you.

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Top tips for post-natal wellbeing, brought to you by Felicity de Blic, mother of three children and Physiotherapist at Sydney Pelvic Clinic.

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