Our Abs Aren’t Just For Beauty

Here’s what you didn’t know about weak core muscles, and how they can cause a bulging tummy and other health issues.

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Here’s what you didn’t know about weak core muscles, and how they can cause a bulging tummy and other health issues.
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Your core is a series of muscles that connects from your abs to other parts of your body. Almost every movement in your body relies on your core, which acts as a stabiliser for movement. Higher core stability means there is a lower risk of injury. 

When you gain weight, be it from dietary influences or pregnancy, the connective tissue stretches, causing the muscles to pull outward and create a gap in the middle. This is known as rectus diastasis. 

If your back is bothering you, this condition may be to blame. Rectus diastasis can lead to poor posture and an unstable spine, resulting in a litany of debilitating back problems. 

How can I tell if I have rectus diastasis? 

There are a few ways of doing a self-check: 

1. Put your fingers where your belly button is, while trying to do a sit-up: You may feel a gap deep inside your midline. 

2. When doing a sit-up, you can see a sausage-like bulge on your abdomen. 

3. If you are fairly lean and careful with your diet and exercise, but have a “pregnant- looking” bulge on your abdomen that does not go away, this is a sign that your abdominal core muscles may have separated and you may have rectus diastasis. 

What are the effects of rectus diastasis? 

Besides a protruding stomach, you may also have chronic back pain and aches. The stretched abdominal muscles can cause the pelvic muscles to become weak and lax. One may experience uncontrollable urination, pelvic floor dysfunction and spine issues such as lordosis, swaying of the spine, spine instabilities and herniation if rectus diastasis is left untreated. 

Why do some women have rectus diastasis, while others have a flat tummy even after giving birth?

Some people are genetically predisposed to rectus diastasis, depending on the types of collagen they have in their body genetics. The size and weight of the baby also indirectly causes the stretch. 

What can I do? 

Go back to the basics of understanding your body’s ergonomics. By using the knowledge of good posture and engaging your core muscles correctly, you can help minimise your rectus diastasis gap. Always ensure that you work with a well-trained physical educator or physiotherapist, to understand how to engage your core correctly. 

What is rectus plication? 

Rectus plication surgery involves repairing and stitching the left and right abdominal muscles together, to ensure that the core muscles are tightened in the midline of the abdomen. This surgery can be done by an open method, where the incision is at the bikini line and excess abdominal skin is removed. Indirectly, this surgery can also help to improve the problems of pelvic floor dysfunctions and urinary incontinence. 

The surgery can also be done using the latest technique, where the daVinci Robotic Surgical System is used to repair the rectus diastasis gap. This technique was pioneered by Dr Marco Faria Correa in 2015 in Singapore, and is the first of its kind in the world for patients who do not have any excess abdominal skin. 

What is the downtime like?

Recovery takes about two weeks, but strenuous activity is not advised until after four months. The surgery can be performed at either Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital or Concord International Hospital. 

For more information, visit http://www.drmarco.com, Tel: 6464 8075, Email: admin@drmarco.com

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