May The Force Be Without You

IMG_0466While “The Force” can be used for good, it can also be detrimental for your diastasis. While “The Force” can be used for good in the Star Wars films, in the world of Diastasis Recti, it’s pretty much the sworn enemy of your connective tissue!

Healing connective tissue is all about both “positioning” and “protecting” the weakened tissue and strengthening the connective tissues along with your abdominal muscles. Wearing a Diastasis Rehab Splint® all the time puts the connective tissue in a better “position” to heal as it takes the “stretch” off the “over-stretched” connective tissue, making it narrower.  Wearing a splint can be compared to wearing a cast for a broken bone. You want to keep the two bones (like connective tissue) in the same position continuously so they will heal. “Protecting” the connective tissue is about NOT doing movements, activities, and exercises that stretch or put intra-abdominal force or pressure on the weak tissue. That is why it is important to strengthen the transverse muscle so it is strong enough to be engaged during bodily functions (i.e. sneezing, coughing, blowing nose, going to the bathroom), while performing activities of daily living (i.e. bending, picking up children or heavy objects) and while exercising.

The belly button is a weak spot in the connective tissue. Continuous stretching, pressure or intra-abdominal force on this weak spot of the connective tissue can cause the muscles to separate. Everyone’s connective tissue is not the same quality. Hormones such as relaxin (pregnancy related) or steroid injections weaken the connective tissue. Multiple births and abdominal surgeries where air is injected weaken connective tissue. Naturally flexible people and people that get stretch marks also have weaker connective tissue. Weaker connective tissue takes longer to heal.

When beginning the program, you have to religiously commit to all four steps of the program. The splint has to be worn all of the time until the connective tissue is healed. If you stop wearing the splint before the connective tissue is healed, you are at risk of reopening your diastasis. If you do not wear the splint 24/7, you will not get the results you desire. To heal the connective tissue, you have to put it in a better position continuously, protect it and bring blood flow to it. You use your transverse muscle with every move you make, so it’s important to have both transverse strength and awareness so that you can use it with daily activities and exercises. That way the force will be without you!

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