Try This: Check for Abdominal Separation!
March 14, 2022
If you’ve ever checked out our blog, then you probably know we’ve talked about abdominal separation before. Rest assured, we also talk about ab separation a lot in our Bethesda and McLean physical therapy clinics—for good reason, too! Abdominal (ab for short) separation is surprisingly common, affecting about half of all pregnant people, along with plenty of other men and women. Our patients who come to us with ab separation often struggle with uncomfortable issues like pelvic pain, back pain, urinary incontinence, and painful sex. Undoubtedly, figuring out what’s causing ab separation and healing it effectively can make a tremendous positive impact on a person’s quality of life.
It’s worth remembering that ab separation, known clinically as diastasis recti, doesn’t always get better on its own, so consulting with a professional who can help you regain normal alignment and function of your rectus abdominis and other core muscles can be an essential step in your healing. A provider with specialized training and education in core and pelvic function, such as a pelvic physical therapist, can also help you understand how significant your ab separation is and show you specific ways to prevent it from recurring or getting worse.
That said, there is a quick and simple way to check whether you might have abdominal separation before scheduling your physical therapy appointment—so quick, in fact, you can do it right now, wherever you are!
How to Check for Abdominal Separation Right Now
Stop what you’re doing, take a quick bathroom break if necessary, then give this ab separation self-test a go:
- Lie down on the ground with your feet flat and knees bent.
- Place three fingers in the center of your stomach, just above your belly button. Your fingers should be pointing toward your back.
- Gently press your fingers down into your belly.
- Slowly exhale, and at the same time raise your head and shoulders slightly off the ground. This movement will cause your abdominal muscles to contract. As you do this, pay attention to what you feel underneath your fingertips.
If diastasis recti is present, you will feel a gap widening beneath your fingers. The area beneath your finger tips might also feel squishy. I also invite you to pay attention to whether the area beneath your fingertips becomes quite deep. All of these are suggestive of ab separation, especially if you have additional signs and symptoms, including doming of the stomach when you lean back and any of the other symptoms mentioned earlier.
So, How’d You Do?
If you think you might have abdominal separation and are ready to begin a personalized and purposeful program to heal it, contact ITR Physical Therapy today. We can connect you with an experienced pelvic physical therapist who can get you on the path to lasting healing and wellness! Call 301-770-7060 to schedule an appointment now.