Many times we hear that a woman who has recently given birth is told that she has abdominal diastasis or separation of the rectus abdominis. But what does this mean?
Abdominal diastasis recti or separation or recti divarication of the rectus abdominis generally occurs during pregnancy and in addition to being an aesthetic problem it can also cause other visceral conditions. Hypopressive abdominal gymnastics is excellent for recovering the original position of the structures. In this article we will tell you what this means and we will show you how hypopressive abdominal gymnastics, also known as hypopressives or Low Pressure Fitness, can help you.
a bit of anatomy
The first thing we have to know is how the abdomen is formed. Below we show you an image of the configuration of the muscles of the abdomen:
The deepest muscle in the abdomen is the transversus abdominis muscle. It has a perpendicular direction to the body, it surrounds the entire trunk, so it works as a natural girdle that gives stability to our spine, especially to the lower back, but also to the rest of our body, it is the muscle that makes us have a “waistband” of WASP.
The oblique muscle of the abdomen and as its name suggests have an oblique direction to the other muscles and to the trunk, there are two, one inferior or deep that goes from the pelvic bones inwards in an ascending direction towards the midline of the abdomen, and the external oblique muscle that goes from the ribs, towards the midline and down, as if it were going towards the pubis, the anterior part of the pelvis, when it works only one of the sides makes us lean towards that side or Let’s turn to the opposite side, but if both sides act at the same time, the action they have is to flex the trunk.
Finally, in the most external way, above all of them we have the rectus abdominis muscle, that is the one we all know, that of the “chocolate tablet”. Its fibers take the same direction as our trunk, our body, that’s why when activated it flexes the body, it is in charge of doing the classic sit-ups to raise the head.
All the muscles are inserted in the central area of the abdomen, we can say that they are symmetrical from the midpoint of the body, and this midpoint is the rectus aponeurosis, which is also known as the linea alba, it is a line that crosses the gut from top to bottom and that in many cases feels a little darker than the rest of the skin.
What is diastasis recti abdominis?
In the midline of the body we find the linea alba, which is the structure in which the muscles of the abdomen are inserted. It is fibrous in consistency and therefore cannot stretch like other structures.
During pregnancy the gut grows and the muscles of the abdomen stretch to allow the baby to develop; but this causes the fibrous membrane that joins the abdominal muscles to separate, and therefore there is a separation between the muscles of the abdomen, which makes this area an area of great risk of rupture and with it the appearance of abdominal diastasis.
Types of abdominal diastasis recti or separation
We have two different types of diastasis abdominis.
In this type of diastasis there is no rupture of the structures, although this area automatically becomes a risk area.
The fibrous structure that joins the abdominal muscles breaks, which allows the viscera, such as the intestines to protrude, to come out, especially at times when we make an effort, thus making this “hernia” more evident.
What can I do if I have diastasis recti abdominis?
The first thing you should do if you suspect that you may have abdominal diastasis recti is to go to a professional who can guide you and correctly assess your abdominal muscles, since if the diastasis is anatomical there is a risk of abdominal hernia and that this hernia will “strangulate”, that an intestinal loop comes out and is in such a way that it cannot return to its place and with it suffer the risk that this entails.
In the event that your rectus abdominis diastasis is functional, without the structures having broken, the most appropriate technique is hypopressive abdominal gymnastics accompanied by a good physiotherapy plan. Hypopressive exercises or hypopressive gymnastics will strengthen your abdominal muscles, including the transversus abdominis muscle in order to give greater stability to your trunk, in addition to allowing the structures to approach their original situation. The strong myofascial traction that is generated during the hypopressive, in addition to pelvic decongestion, will reinforce the abdominal wall and strengthen your lower back.
I am leaving an article here for understanding Hypopressive abdominal gymnastics – What is it and what are its benefits?
Hypopressive Abdominal Gymnastics Exercises for Diastasis recti or separation
Hypopressives are the best recovery gymnastics for postpartum. When performing hypopressive abdominal gymnastics exercises, what most attracts our attention is breathing, as we stop breathing and the gut “goes inside”, but we must know that the most important thing is posture and that each of the parameters we use has its reason and its importance.
The improvement of the abdominal diastasis after a time doing hypopressives is impressive. The following photographs show the recovery from diastasis recti of a woman who practiced hypopressives.
My abdomen is quite flat and hard… I’m still very happy with the method. And I talk about its wonderful results to people whenever I can. In fact, it is what has allowed me to put on my bikini without being overwhelmed…”
Hypopressive gymnastics exercises to do at home
Here are two simple hypopressive abdominal gymnastics exercises that you can practice at home:
Standing, with the feet parallel to each other at hip height and with the knees semi-flexed, we must make an axial stretch of the spine, as if we wanted to grow and marking the double chin by stretching the back of our head upwards. We are interested in advancing the axis of gravity, so we will lean slightly forward in such a way that we will feel the weight of our body on the balls of our feet.
The shoulders are going to be placed in a slight internal rotation, with the hands facing backwards and the elbows extended, to activate the shoulder girdle we are going to pull our arms down and the shoulders out, as if we wanted to separate them.
After exhaling we are going to perform an expiratory apnea and rib opening, at first we will hold our breath for less time, but our goal has to be to hold the apnea for 25 seconds and do three repetitions in the same position.
We must sneak in sitting cross-legged (what we call the Indian position) with a straight back, if it is difficult for us at first we can lean on the wall, which will provide us with a lot of information about our position and we must maintain the basic parameters of the hypopressive abdominal gymnastics: stretching of the spine, double chin, activation of the shoulder girdle, separating the shoulders, and gentle tilt of the axis of gravity forward.
Other indications for hypopressive abdominal gymnastics
Although in this article we talk about hypopressive abdominal gymnastics for abdominal diastasis due to pregnancy, these exercises are indicated for pathologies such as urinary incontinence, urogenital dysfunctions, respiratory dysfunctions and even athletes who want to increase their performance.