Last week, I discussed one of the best kept secrets from women, a common condition called Diastasis Recti. You can see that article here. https://www.empowher.com/news/herarticle/2009/05/16/diastasis-recti-best-kept-secret
This week, I will assume you have checked for it and possibly seen a physician about it. You perhaps have a plan in place. This article is mainly to serve as a guide for what to do, and what not to do, until have recovered.
First of all, a physician's guidance is advisable. You may want to see a general surgeon or a plastic surgeon about possible options. The general surgeon will focus on stitching up muscles and repairing or preventing a hernia, while the plastic surgeon will focus on an abdominoplasty. He will not only repair the damage, but reset the navel and fix some of the outward skin problems.
You may also want to talk to your insurance company. This problem, unfortunately, is not covered by most insurance companies because they consider it to be a "cosmetic" problem. Now, if it were a muscle anywhere else on the body or caused by any other reason than pregnancy, or if it were a man's problem, I am sure it would be covered 100%! (that was my personal opinion added; I apologize). Your options may be greater if your doctor bills the problem as a muscle tear or hernia.
One of the biggest dangers in diastasis is a hernia. The intestines can come through the separation in the abdomen, and this is something you want to avoid. This is a very sensitive area where tearing can increase, rather than heal rather easily, so you need to tread lightly. Here are some basic guidelines to get you through until you heal.
First, stop lifting heavy objects. Anything that causes a strain in the midsection can cause additional tearing. Notice, I did not say to stop lifting at all. Lift weights, but be aware of how the body is reacting to the weights and make sure the pressure in not on the abdomen.
Additionally, discontinue the following exercises: lat pull down, seated row, butterfly, overhead lat pull, or any other exercise that will make you pull weights from above the head to the shoulders or below.
Secondly, stop all abdominal exercises that are on a typical regimen. No crunches, leg lifts, or bicycles.
Third, quit your yoga and Pilates classes. That's right. I am a huge fan of yoga and Pilates, but some of the poses will put extreme risk to your injury.
Now, at home and other places, you must be conscious of your every move. When lying down, roll over on to your side and push up with your arm in order to sit up. Do not go immediately from lying to sitting or standing using the abdominals. Think about what you are carrying with you. And, of course, check your posture. A good, strong, upright posture is important in gaining strength.
I've told you what not to do. Now, let's see what you can do.
First and foremost, visit this website immediately, www.maternalfitness.com. I am not in any way affiliated with Julie Tupler, other than that I have talked with her and she has helped me with my diastasis when no one else could. Her methods work. Get the DVD and start practicing her abdominal workout. You will see an improvement in strength and you will start to heal. Get a splint or two from her and expect to splint for a few weeks to try to reconnect the muscle tissue. It makes sense to splint. We do it for other injuries. This one makes sense, too. Trust me. These exercises can be used alone or in conjunction with surgery.
Your recovery, like all injuries, depends on the extent of the actual injury.
I hope this helps some women get the strength back they need after pregnancy or weight management. Please ask questions, take care of your own body, and help yourself recover.
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