Many of my mothers have come in and asked if I can help treat what they term “baby belly” – the result that they see from bring pregnant and giving birth.

Many, if not all, women, who carry baby’s to anywhere near term, have tears or distortions in their abdominal fascia that leave them with “baby belly” – an abdomen, that, no matter how much exercise, just will not return to your pre-baby shape. This is due to fascia – the covering of all of the muscles, bones, and organs, that gets torn or distorted in large or small ways. It works like this…when a muscle contracts, it uses the fascia that surrounds it as a stabilizer to allow the muscle to contract. What we call competent (that is structurally sound) fascia is necessary for a muscle to have a good contraction and relaxation. If the fascia is torn (from trauma, falls, birth, etc.) or distorted (from the same kinds of forces), then the muscle either can’t quite relax all the way, or it can’t contract fully, or both.

This leaves an abdomen that is not the way it was before. It does not have the same tone (and it can’t because of the torn/distorted fascia. If the fascia gets damaged all the way through, we call it a hernia. It basically leaves a hole where the abdominal contents can come through (herniate). I can repair some of these in my office, but many may require surgery. If the hole does not go through all of the layers, we call that a diastasis. It is a bulge, not a true hernia. These may be corrected surgically, but many surgeons prefer to leave these alone. What I am speaking of with “baby belly” is that, in a very small local area, parts of the fascia that cover the muscles tear and/or get distorted. Muscles can push through if the area is big enough, but weakness and possibly pain is the key symptom no matter what the size. In damaged fascia, the nerve endings become irritated. This makes them painful and sore. If we keep it simple – if it hurts, it is not working right. If it does not hurt when you push on it, it is working correctly.

Correcting the damage in the fascial layers restores the competency of the fascia. The pain goes away. The fascia becomes strong again. The belly that you were never able to get flat again starts to flatten and get strong. This correction can be accomplished using either/both direct osteopathic manipulation to the damaged fascia or prolotherapy injections into the area. Changes are seen almost immediately and treatment should continue until no more pain/discomfort is experienced and the belly returns to full strength. If you would like more information, or would like to schedule a consultation/treatment, please call the office.

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