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It seems the topic of “Diastasis” is picking up speed in a variety of forums. Particularly on social media in mom groups and exercise discussions. There also appears to be a wide array of misinformation that continues to be spread around. I had one client tell me “I have been doing some research and one place I went to online said that if I have a diastasis I will ALWAYS look a minimum of 3 months pregnant.” This, for the vast majority, doesn’t necessarily need to be true; especially when you know what to do. I have been asked to write a few key things in regards to diastasis from a physiotherapy rehabilitation perspective.

…if I have a diastasis I will ALWAYS look 3 months pregnant

Let’s discuss what a diastasis is. The short version is it is the ‘splitting of the abdominal muscles’. A more specific answer is that in response to pregnancy, the abdominal muscles and associated tissue (fascia) stretch to allow room for a growing fetus. The muscles that are most affected by this is the rectus abdominis (the 6-pack ab muscles that sit in the front). This is not ‘bad’, cannot be prevented, and is in fact necessary during pregnancy. From a clinical perspective, I would say 100% of women who are pregnant, that look pregnant at the time of delivery, will have developed some diastasis during pregnancy. (Side note: diastasis  can also occur outside of pregnancy, but that is another discussion.)

In theory, after labor and delivery, the diastasis will ‘snap’ back together and the core muscles will work in perfect unison… Sometimes this coordination comes naturally to women post-partum. However, often women require some help in getting all the pieces working well together in a functional and coordinated fashion.

…after labor and delivery, the diastasis will ‘snap’ back together 

This is where people profit off our post-partum mommas  “Get your body BACK after baby”, “Post-partum BOOTCAMP”, “Get rid of MUMMY TUMMY in 1 simple exercise”. Unless someone is checking for diastasis recti, do so on a regular (weekly, daily) basis, and can ensure that you are coordinating those muscles well… claiming to be a Post-Partum Specialist is likely an over statement. Often times I see that someone has “healed” their own diastasis and want to “show you how” with their main credential being that they went through the same thing, and they are fine after starting back into heavy exercise at “6” weeks post-partum.

Simply asking people if they have a diastasis is not enough. Knowledge of the issue without being able to assist in modifying exercises to appropriately return to function is where many people stand. Are you wanting to start a class? Ask the instructor what they know about diastasis. If you don’t know if you have one, will they check? How many people have they checked? If they are claiming that their class is ‘safe’ for diastasis and you are being targeted to come under 12 weeks, you would likely benefit from continuing to evaluate your options.

A diastasis is not necessarily a ‘quick fix’, and often people don’t realize they have it since it typically isn’t painful. What we do KNOW is that a diastasis present at 8 weeks post-partum is likely to continue to be present and problematic at a year post-partum. But what does ‘problematic’ mean if it’s not painful?

The tissue (fascia) of the diastasis doesn’t need to close in the sense of getting back to how it was, but it does need to be able to generate tension. If it can generate tension well and it is separated 2.5cm that person is going to have better function than if it is separated 1.5cm and not generating tension. (Think of tension as whether you have a firm uncooked noodle versus a soft, cooked noodle between the muscles. The cooked noodle will give away under pressure of the muscles on either side, and the uncooked noodle will hold and transfer force). Problematic could also be the contribution of diastasis to back pain, diaphragm dysfunction, and pelvic floor issues.

Focusing on the diastasis alone is a simplification of a complex situation, and each person will require slightly different treatment approaches.

What do I recommend? Contact your local pelvic floor physiotherapist, there is no time limit on when to go, but within the first 8-12 weeks will give time to get into a routine with baby and be early enough to have minimal “bad habits” or compensations to combat; or before you start back into exercise. It  is never too late to address anything that has developed during pregnancy and post-partum.

At Warman Physio we are continually looking to improve our client experience.  What we heard from clients in the past year is they would like to know more about various conditions, offers and promotions without having to head to our facebook page.  We have heard you and will be implementing a blog!

What will this blog do?
We are looking to provide our clients information on what we can do as Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Massage Therapists – what conditions, pains, aches or other treatments that can be used to address your concerns.  We will also be aiming to let our clients, and the community know about any special offers, promotions or new therapist arrivals at the clinic.

Our first full-detail blog with information will be coming to you soon, but in the meantime we will provide a quick update and some information on the exciting things we hope to present to you this year!

Staff
Since opening in November 2014, beginning with Haylie Lashta MPT (Physio) and Lauren Profit RMT (Massage) we have expanded our team to include Chelsea Porter RMT and Kevin Bergen MPT. Our very own Lauren has also had her little baby boy; He arrived December 21, 2015 named Sawyer! Lauren will be returning to clients sometime in the spring of 2016. We also will have a new Occupational Therapist announcement to round out our therapies team very soon!

Promotions
Kevin Bergen MPT is providing Physiotherapy Medical Coverage for sports events and tournaments FREE OF CHARGE for February 2016! This coverage is available on a first come basis and he already has several spots taken, but has some flexibility if you or someone you know has a team that is interested they are welcome to contact us for more details at our website , facebook page or call us at 306-373-9355 (306-373-WELL).

Upcoming blogs will provide some information on injuries and various pains that can be addressed with physiotherapy, occupational therapy & massage.  We hope to shed some light on how we work as a team to better serve our clients, and how working with us, we hope to help you, help yourself (and we often joke that ‘hopefully we will see you around town instead of in the clinic!’ Unless you wish to book regular maintenance massage of course.)

Have a particular injury or diagnosis you would like for us to discuss? Let us know! Below are some of the areas we will aim to touch on this year:

  • Shoulder Injuries: The Rotator Cuff
  • Women’s Health (from leaking to pelvic pain)
  • Pregnancy & Physiotherapy (Rost Therapy: Amazing results for resolving pain during pregnancy)
  • Sports Therapy: Injuries, Rehab and Training
  • Running: Don’t let your love hurt you
  • Headaches: Physiotherapy & Massage
  • TMJ Pain & Dysfunction: Physio can help that!
  • Knee Pain: Sprains, Strains and Arthritis
  • Back Pain: start living again
  • Sciatica… or is it?
  • Carpal Tunnel: Double Crush Syndrome and why Physio First may solve the issue
  • Infant Development

Want to know more now? Contact us at the clinic through e-mail or our online form submission (www.warmanphysio.com), phone (306-373-9355) or facebook (facebook.com/warmanphysio) and we are happy to answer any questions!