Top 5 Myths About Diastasis Recti
Updated: Sep 21
Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) is often described as the separation of the rectus abdominis muscles and is too often associated with fear and anxiety. At Absolute Kinetics, words and education matter to us in our goal to empower you, so we want to set the record straight by debunking some common myths.
Myth 1) Diastasis is a separation of the muscles.
The muscles that are mentioned in this scenario are the rectus abdominus muscles. They run vertically along the mid-line of your abdomen and are connected by a connective tissue called the linea alba. DRA occurs when the pressure within the abdomen exceeds the tissue’s ability to withstand it. As a result, the linea alba stretches. A DRA is not an injury, it is merely a stretch of the connective tissue that Is meant to approximate the abdominal muscles.
Myth 2) Only Pregnant women experience a DRA
While it has been reported that 100% of women will experience DRA during or after pregnancy, men and women who have no previous pregnancy can also experience it. As previously mentioned, it is the result of an increase in intrabdominal volume and pressure which results in the stretch of the linea alba. Because of this, it is absolutely possible to have a diastasis without experiencing pregnancy.
Myth 3) If I have a diastasis it means that my core is not functioning properly, and I will have back pain.
While there is a connection between the deep core, the pelvic floor, and the spine, having a DRA does not automatically mean you will experience symptoms related to these areas. The research behind the connection of DRA to other symptoms is not strong and there are instances where a DRA is purely cosmetic and does not influence the person’s function or symptoms at all. However, if you have a DRA and experience low back pain or pelvic floor dysfunction, you may benefit from seeing a pelvic health PT.
Myth 4) Only certain exercises will fix a diastasis and the rest you should avoid.
In order to approximate the muscles and strengthen the linea alba, we need to apply an appropriate load. The answer on how to do this is unfortunately unclear and is not the same for everyone. A trained physical therapist who has experience in the latest research on DRA will be able to assess your motions and help you modify the activities that you love to do.
Myth 5) If I do an exercise that I am not supposed to, my DRA will get worse.
When you look up the exercises that are “bad” for a diastasis, you’ll see a lot of misinformation about avoiding any extreme bending or twisting motions at all costs. It is not realistic to tell a new mom to not bend or twist. Instead, we should normalize the role of pelvic health PT in determining modifications needed to move efficiently and without symptoms. As long as you activate the core in an appropriate way, even performing exercises or activities that made it on the “bad” list will not make your DRA worse.
At Absolute Kinetics, our main goal is to provide you with the education and tools you need to do what you love. While most resources out there tell you to avoid certain movements with a DRA, we want to teach you how to actually address the problem and modify movements in the meantime. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your own experience with DRA, please take advantage of our free 10 minute consultation and learn more about how we can help.
Written by Dr. Tyler Kornblum, PT, DPT, ATC. Dr. Tyler specializes in treating Pelvic Health conditions, including DRA. You can contact Dr. Tyler directly by calling or texting (513) 208-2257 or emailing Tyler@absolutekineticspt.com.