Wearing a splint all the time can be challenging for many reasons! Because it is between two sets of bones (your ribs and your pelvis) it may have a tendency to move around with certain movements such as going from standing to seated. Needless to say, this may be uncomfortable and annoying! I totally understand.
So before I go into the different solutions, I want to just mention “why” you are wearing the splint and the importance of being committed to wearing it and making friends with it. You have to wrap your brain around thinking that it is like wearing a cast. You wear a cast all the time so the two ends of the broken bones will fuse together. Think of your muscles and connective tissue the same way. They both need to be continuously held together. The connective tissue has been stretched out and we want to take the stretch off it. We want to imagine it going from looking like a piece of saran wrap to looking like a piece of rope. We don’t want it to stretch in a sideways or forwards direction. Like the real estate business, it all boils down to LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! The location of the muscles and the location of the connective tissue. The muscles need to be close together to move in the correct direction. Front to back. When the muscles are separated 4 fingers and over, they move sideways stretching the connective tissue in this direction. Wearing a splint will NOT weaken your muscles. It is just putting them in the proper position so they will move correctly (front to back) when doing the seated exercises.
Now on to the solutions. First of all the splint has to be the right size. If it is too big it will move around a lot more. Like a store bought dress, not every splint will fit you perfectly. Just like a dress that is too long and needs to be hemmed, the arms on the splint may need to be made shorter or longer when first buying and then again after a few weeks of doing the program. Many of my clients go down a size while doing the program. It is most important that the pad be the right size. So when you measure, measure the size of your back at the level under your breast from one side seam to the other side seam.
Then measure the circumference of your body over your belly button. The third measurement is to see if you need a short torso splint. You measure the distance between the bottom of the sternum and the belly bottom. If you are 5 inches or less than you are a short torso. If you have a long torso or a big belly you may want to wear two splints for the extra coverage. There is a video under Tupler Videos with how to put it on. You always start with putting the first one on your lower belly first. Then the second one halfway up. When choosing your size, if you are close to the smaller size, it is always best to get the smaller size. For example, if your back size is a 16.5 or 17 and your circumference is 35, you should go with the size small. If you get the splint and the pad is the right size but the arms are too small, you can stretch them out and make them longer. If you get the splint and the pad fits your but the arms are too long, you will have to make them shorter. Just email us and we will tell you the size of the elastic for the smaller size. After a couple of weeks of wearing the splint and doing the program, you WILL have to make the arms shorter. Clients have folded over the elastic and sewn it but that may then have a piece that sticks out and will rub against you. I advise taking off the velcro piece at the end, cutting the elastic and then sewing it back on. If you can’t sew like me, then take it to your tailor or seamstress. It is an easy fix! The arms of the splint should attach on the sides. When they are attaching to the back, it is too long. Here is the link to the page for sizing
Next is making sure you are putting it on correctly. You cannot believe the many different ways I have seen people putting on the splint. Please, please, please…..stand in front of a mirror so you can see what you are doing. Start with the top arm on your right-hand side. That always goes on top. Make sure you move the muscle and connective tissue towards the middle and hold it in that position with your hand. Then, straighten the elastic arm, turn to the side and attach it on top. Again, it should attach on the side and not the back. After you have attached the first arm, pull the splint down and make sure it is even. Then attach the arm on your left. This one goes on a diagonal and also attached on top. The bottom arm goes straight across. Here is a video for putting on the original 3 arm splint - The extra small and small short torso splints are also used by children. Here is a video showing how to put it on:
Ok, now on with ways to keep it in place better:
- Wear it over a fitted long compression undergarment. I love the one from the manufacturer called Not Your Daughter’s Jeans or something similar to this. Here is the link so you can see it:
- Some of my clients wear the Belle Fit under pant/girdle over it. They say it helps keep the bottom part from riding up.
- Also, be aware of the way you get up and down and of your posture. Get up and down with a flat back. Also, keep a neutral spine while seated. When you slouch the splint will ride up.
And last of all, I am in the process of making a tank top where the pad of the splint will attach to the sides of the tank top and the bottom elastic arm will attach to the front of the tank top. I have tested it and it works well in keeping the splint in place. However, you must understand manufacturing a garment like this is a long back and forth process of making sure everything is correct! Since you are wearing the splint now, I thought I would share this with you so you could make your own. Just get a couple of long compression tank tops so you can wear one wash one. Then you will need to go online and find sew- on hook and loop Velcro. The loop Velcro goes on the tank top the hook on the splint.
Sewing Velcro on the tank top and on the splint to correspond with each other can make keeping the splint in place easy. Using the diagram below as a guide, sew pieces of loop Velcro behind the side seams of your tank top and a square piece of loop Velcro starting one inch above your belly button on the front of the tank top. On the splint, sew hook Velcro on each side of the pad, as well as a square piece of hook Velcro on the middle of the bottom arm of the splint. When the loop Velcro of the tank top attaches to the hook Velcro of the splint, the splint will “lock” the pad into place as well as the bottom arm of the splint so it does not move. The dimensions for the Velcro should be as follows:
The loop Velcro on the sides of the tank top is 8 inches long and 2 inches wide and a 4×4 inch piece on the front of the tank top starting one inch above your belly button.
The hook Velcro for the 3 arm splint is 8 inches long by 2 inches wide. The same as the loop Velcro on the sides of the tank top. Then there is a 4×4 inches piece that is sewn on the middle of the bottom arm on the two arm side of the splint. On the short torso splint, the hook Velcro on the sides is 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. The 4×4 square piece is sewn in the middle of the right arm.
To learn more about Diastasis Recti & the Tupler Technique® read this article: DIASTASIS RECTI RESEARCH AND EVIDENCED BASED EXERCISE PROGRAM
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Watch the short video below to know what a diastasis is.