Diatsasis recti Splints
What is the purpose of a splint? Diatsasis recti splints being sold online describe the purpose of the splint as: to “re-position” both the connective tissue and the separated muscles in a better position to make your diastasis recti smaller. The connective tissue needs to be in a narrow position to heal and the muscles need to be close together so they move in the right direction.
So let’s look into this some more.
Do diastasis recti splints work?
Using a splint, or belly binding, is thought to help close the diastasis recti gap. And what we all know is that “sucking it in” or forcefully pulling your stomach in to make it appear flatter is not a viable long-term solution.
Belly binding may ‘hold you in’ and provide support to your lower back, but wearing a splint won’t strengthen the muscles. It also misses a few very important points when it comes to treating abdominal separation.
Contraindications for Wearing A Splint
You should not wear a splint after a C-section birth as you need to wait until your scar has healed. Also, if you have a medical condition and are under doctor’s care be sure to chat to them about wearing a splint.
The Problem with Diastasis Recti Splints
If you wear your splint daily, even with periodic breaks for exercises, you will not be retraining or restoring your abdominal wall for function.
You see, wearing a brace will cause your body to come to rely on this brace. Your abdominal muscles and your brain will become dependent on this brace. The minute the brace is gone your abdomen won’t know what to do.
You Get Support while Wearing a Splint ….BUT
Wearing a diastasis recti splint or binder may ‘hold you in and together’ and support your lower back whilst you’re wearing it. BUT what it can never do, is actually strengthen or tighten the muscles just by being worn. This where including the right DR exercises into your workouts will help you.
Improving Diastasis Recti
Abdominal separation can be improved with alignment and exercise by reconnecting and restoring your core muscles. And by improving the integrity of the connective collagen at the front of your tummy to reduce the size of your waist, and to increase stability and strength.
Can Diastasis Recti cause digestive problems?
Diastasis recti can lead to side effects like lower back pain, constipation and urine leaking. It can also cause difficulty with both breathing and movement.
When Does Diastasis Become A Problem?
Diastasis recti becomes a problem when it causes a pooch tummy. And when it contributes to a weak, unstable core, leading to lower back pain.
And did you know that nearly 70% of women with diastasis recti have some level of pelvic floor dysfunction (Spitznagle et al 2007). Diastasis recti and pelvic floor problems tend to go together.
Reducing Diastasis Recti
To reduce diastasis you need to learn to engage and work your entire core which includes the: transverse, pelvic floor and oblique abdominal muscles in an optimal, functional way. Your whole body alignment must be addressed as a foundation in order to reduce intra abdominal pressure .
Connection is Required for Diastasis Recti Repair
There needs to be a physiological connection to repair and restore the core. If you are using a splint to ‘suck in your stomach,’ then this is not ‘activating your core muscles.’
Instead, all you are doing is displacing mass upwards and downwards, thus squeezing it away in either direction from the tightly bound centre.
This cause unwanted pressure on the diaphragm and downwards onto the pelvic floor. This creates further excessive intra-abdominal pressure and worsening a weakened pelvic floor. This may result in pelvic organ prolapse and achieving little in terms of real transverse abdominis engagement.
There is more to core or diastasis recti repair than splinting, sucking in and closing the gap.
If you want to restore your core after childbirth, then an integrated process that requires an integrated ‘whole body’ approach is needed.
You need to re-align and re-connect. And this is where The PregActive Method shows you how.
Study on Diastasis Recti Abdominis
This research involved studying the distance between the two sides of the abdominals or ‘inter-recti distance’, both at rest and during exercise. It also studied the quality of the deep transverse abdominis muscle activation during that exercise.
What Did they Find?
Some women could narrow the gap by engaging their abdominals, but they achieved this by an unconscious, non-optimal recruitment of the abdominals.
What does this mean?
This means that they could make the gap come together by contracting their obliques. But the deep core transverse muscle, the one necessary for true trunk stability, was not being recruited at all.
The result was a temporarily narrower gap, but still no tension (stability) restored in the midline.
What else occurred?
Some women were able to effectively recruit their transverse muscle for complete stability and tension in the linea alba. But in doing so, the abdominal separation gap itself either stayed the same or in some cases widened.
What does this suggest?
This suggests, that without core stability from recruitment of the deep core muscles, transverse abdominis and co-activation of the pelvic floor – the woman is no more able to control joint movement or load bearing than before, regardless of the gap.
These findings cast still further doubt on the protocol of those diastasis programs in which the manual or forced drawing together of the two sides of muscle by binding or splinting, is proposed as the solution for restoring core function.
So What is Needed?
You need to connect with, restore and use the deep muscles of your core correctly. This is what is required for gaining function and strength.
What is not needed?
Simply pulling the gap closed isn’t. My whole-body approach and implementing the right exercises in your postpartum workouts to restore core function, is the anatomically correct approach.
Here’s What You Need to Know
1. You can narrow the gap (abdominal separation) and strengthen (and flatten) your abdominal muscles with the right postpartum exercises.
2. You can adjust your whole-body alignment and work your muscles to get a strong functioning core and pelvic floor.
3. Yes, you can lose fat.
What about Diastasis Recti Surgery
Surgery is last resort and is a decision you need to discuss with your doctor. There is a significant recovery period after surgery that will impact on your daily functioning.
No postpartum exercise routine can fix every case. And I have seen some workouts being used that can cause some serious injury. In some situations of a severely compromised, stretched and weakened linea alba, surgery may be required for correct function.
I recently wrote an entire post on diastasis recti surgery you can read here >
PregActive for Mamas
My PregActive for Mamas program is endorsed by specialist physical therapists and women’s health physiotherapists. My innovative method takes a ‘whole-body’ approach to alignment and foundation core connection for natural activation.
We don’t advocate the use of a diatasis recti splint to ‘pull’ a compromised core or diastasis recti back into place.
Why PregActive Works
I developed my PregActive for Mamas program because I believe that you need to strengthen your core. Using a splint or binder is only temporary and is not the answer to healing your diastasis recti.
I Want a Flatter Tummy after Childbirth
If you want a flatter tummy after having a baby then you need to be patient and participate in my 12 week program that has been specifically designed to help women heal post pregnancy.
My program is based on the principle of dynamic movement and optimal functioning of your entire midsection. This includes your pelvic floor in correct alignment to achieve the flat stomach and toned pelvic floor. As well as the stability and comfort from pain you want.
Diastasi Recti Repair
My PregActive for Mamas program takes a holistic approach to your postpartum recovery, diastasis recti repair and helping you to re-gain your body confidence. What makes my program unique is that it includes functional exercises designed for new mamas that will help you get strong, lean and fit for motherhood.