If you're interested in reading more on ideas presented in the article below, I suggest reading Diastasis Recti: The Whole-Body Solution to Abdominal Weakness and separation. If you'd like movement instruction via video, start with Smart Digestion.
Continuing on from the last post (Read Under Pressure - part one here), let's talk a little about what increases intra-abdominal pressure.
1. Sucking in your stomach. Seriously. If you stand in front of a mirror and "let it all hang out" (just make sure it's after midnight...) you are going to see some stuff. Now I know that many of you out there aren't engineers, but I'm going to ask you something. Where do you think all of that *stuff* is going? I'll give you a hint. Or better than that, I'll give you the answer.
You are displacing your organs upward (or downward) to make room for the stuff, while also increasing the pressure in the abdomen. What gives? Eventually what gives is the tissue (fascia) that connects one discrete muscle to the next. When the pressure gets very high, the guts push into the muscular wall, which gives out, thinning and eventually tearing the fascia between the muscles.
If you've got *stuff*, then you need to deal with it - not hide it at the expense of your organs.
2. Breathing in a non-optimal way. I tried to write this out a million times and eventually I just ate a PB & J sandwich and made this video instead. I hope it makes sense.
P.S. Many of you have learned belly breathing as a relaxation tool because it helps the diaphragm relax from all the hours spent sucking it in. Babies breathe a belly breath but only when they are lying down. That's when you should be belly breathing too -- when your spine does not need transverse support to keep the vertebrae from smashing the discs in between.
3. Holding in gas. Has the following ever happened to you?
You dress up for a party in your oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-believe-these-fit jeans. You swear you wont eat anything. You look great. You feel great. But then, a couple hours into the party you do eat something because looking this good makes you work up an appetite. And on an empty stomach, that something you ate caused some gas. You can’t fart though, not in this smokin’ hot outfit. So you hold your stomach and gas in, for the rest of the party. When it is time to leave, you can’t leave fast enough because now you have a stabbing pain in your lower abdomen and the desire to fart 1000 farts. But when you try, they don’t come out with the vigor you were hoping. Once at home you put on your super-stretchy, comfy pajamas only to find that the stomach that was flat earlier at the party, now resembles something more from the days of a six-month pregnancy.
Be honest. You know what I’m talking about, right? And, my over-the shoulder-reading husband pointed out that this would never happen to a man. It is simply not in his cultural programming to suffer painfully as far as clothes or farts go. But more on that later.
P.P.S. If you want to know more about gas and farts and tight pelvic floors, you can read this (click).
So, how does all of this relate to diastasis recti and other pressure-related ailments? The above list is part of the contributing mechanism of these ailments. These are habits that must start to change for the healing to begin. These are habits that, in conjunction with the extra loading from pregnancy, can result in "pregnancy-related" ailments. It's not the pregnancy; it's what your body brought to the pregnancy table that creates the ailments.
Don't worry. There's more, my chest-breathing, rib-thrusting friends...