Diastasis Recti Abdominus

Diastasis Recti Abdominus (DRA) is a weakening and thinning of the abdominal wall connective tissue running down the center of your outermost abdominal muscles, the rectus abdominus (linea alba) that causes the two sides of the muscle to separate.

This condition commonly occurs during pregnancy, but can happen to men and non-pregnant women at any point in their lives when intra-abdominal pressure increases, resulting in this separation.

Other common conditions that can occur or result in due to a diastasis (core dysfunction) are umbilical hernias, low back, hip and pelvic pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, stress incontinence and constipation.


  • A protruding lower belly that won’t go away with diet and exercise
  • Palpable ridge on either side of the separation
  • A bulging or coning/tenting from the internal structures pushing through the separation


The focus of physical therapy is to control the pressure placed on the abdominal connective tissue so it can heal and promote stability in your pelvis and spine.

Your physical therapist will do an individualized assessment of posture, flexibility, abdominal, hip and pelvic floor strength, coordination and muscle tone and develop a treatment program to help you retrain the deep core muscles to control intra-abdominal pressure on the abdominal wall connective tissue and promote stability.

Your therapist will educate you on exercises, movements and positions to temporarily protect the tissue while healing and develop a program for you to gradually and safely return to these activities as the tissue heals.

In addition, your program will consist of various manual therapy techniques, a home exercise program that retrains your specific posture and alignment deficits, breathing and body mechanics, muscle recruitment patterns with emphasis on functional core retraining exercises for a safe return to your day to day tasks, exercise or sport of choice.

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