When should a splint NOT be worn?

The purpose of the Diastasis Rehab Splint® is approximating or bringing the two separated muscles together. This will put the displaced organs back in their original position. If you have had a diastasis for a long time then your organs may have “settled” in this position. Putting them back in their original position would then disrupt these organs. This may affect the organs above it (heart) and the organs below it (pelvic floor). So if you have any serious breathing issues such as emphysema or heart issues, it is recommended that you do not wear the splint. You can do the other 3 steps of the program and also “hold” a splint (scarf or arms of sweater) while doing the exercises. If you have any type of pelvic floor prolapse, you can wear a splint if it does not put any pressure on your pelvic floor. The splint should not be worn too tight and the exercises must be modified. You need to count out loud when doing the exercises, hold the pelvic floor muscles in at the same time while doing the exercises and decrease the number of repetitions for the contracting exercise to around 25 contractions instead of 100. As both your abdominal an pelvic floor muscles get stronger you can increase the number of repetitions. If you feel any pressure in your pelvic floor that is a signal to stop right away. If you have any other serious medical conditions please consult your physician before wearing the splint. We are always glad to speak with your physician to make sure the splint is right for you.

Who can wear the Diastasis Rehab Splint®?

Anyone with a diastasis. Women, men and children.

How often should I wear the splint?

Unless you have some sort of medical issue, you should wear the splint all the time. Just taking it off to bathe. If you broke your leg or arm you would wear a cast to continuously keep the two separated bones close together. It is the same with wearing the splint. You want to keep the connective tissue and muscles continuously close together.

Are there any side negative effects when wearing a splint?

If you wear the splint too tight or too low over your hips you can cause pain, swelling and numbness. There are two side effects that people do experience when wearing the splint. Nausea and acid reflux and back pain in the morning after sleeping in the splint. The nausea may occur because your stomach is now in its original position. Your stomach is now squeezed in between your other organs and not able to expand the way it used to when it was unsupported. You have to eat less now because of this inability to expand. This will help prevent the nausea and reflux. Back pain after sleeping in it can be caused by wearing it too tight or the position of your body while sleeping. Sleeping with straight legs will arch your back. Arching your back will flare your ribs and stretch your connective tissue and also create the back pain. Sleep with your legs bent no matter what position you are sleeping. In a side lying position, place a pillow between your knees. When sleeping on your stomach or in a back lying position put the pillow under your lower legs.

Will wearing a splint weaken my abdominal muscles?

Absolutely not. The purpose is approximation (pulling together) not compression. It puts the connective tissue in a better position to heal and the muscles in a better position making the exercises more effective. Wearing a splint is just one of the 4 steps of the program. Wearing the splint makes doing the exercises easier because you are able to feel the muscles working.

How long should my splint last?

Elastic wears out when you are continuously stretching it and Velcro wears out when you continuously pull the hook part of velcro (end of elastic arms) away from the loop velcro (pad of splint). If it is too small on you it will be continuously pulling. The loop is made of many filaments. Each time the hook is pulled away from the loop the loop loses some of these filaments. When it loses too many of these filaments, it loses its ability to hold the hook and will not stay attached. How long it lasts depends on how often you take it off. That is why it is important to look in a mirror when you are putting it on so you put it on correctly the first time and don’t have to readjust it several times. If it bunches up just pull it down. You don’t have to take it off. So limit the amount of times you take it off to no more than 3 times a day. That is why many people use two splints. They wear one and wash one. If you have two, there is half the wear and tear on it. It is important to hand wash and air dry it to make it last longer. To help preserve the elastic, you do not have to stretch the arms too much to attach it. Stretching the arms a lot when attaching it will also make it too tight. Wearing the splint too tight can cause negative side effects.

How do I put the splint on correctly?

Please watch the DVD that is on all the pages in the shopping cart that have a splint on them. You can also read the instructions. Always stand in front of a mirror so you can see where you are attaching it. It is important to be attached in the right place. The top of the splint should lay at the bottom of your ribs. The bottom of your splint should lay above your hip bones. If you are continuously pulling the hook away from the loop to re-adjust it, the hook Velcro at the end of the arms will no longer attach to the pad. Also you do not want to attach it where the hook is touching your skin. This will cause a rash.

How tight should I wear the splint?

You do not have to wear the splint that tight. It will cause a decrease in circulation creating numbness and swelling. It will also not stay in place. When you are attaching the elastic arms to the pad you should not have to pull on the elastic that much to fasten it. If you have to pull on the elastic too much the arms may be too short. In this case you would need to get the Splint Extenders.

My splint will not stay in place. What can I do?

Three things to check:

Does the Splint fit you correctly? If it is too big or too small that can cause problems. The pad should rest on your sides. If it is on your back it is too small and will be hard to Velcro it. If it lays on the front of your belly it will be too big and difficult to pull the muscles together. If the arms touch each other in the back they are too long. You need to put a hem in them.

Are you putting it on correctly? You need to put the splint on in front of the mirror so you can see you are putting it on correctly. When the top arm from the two arm side crosses over it need to stay on top. Also arms need to be attached in right places.

Are you moving your body correctly? If you round your back the splint will roll up. You need to get up and down and move with a flat back. Wearing it over a fitted undergarment or wearing a compression garment over it helps to keep it in place. If you are short-waisted or have big hips it is harder to stay in place. Just adjust it with your hands. If you pull the detach and attach the arm from the pad too many times the velcro will lose its effectiveness.

When I splint my belly bulges out the bottom. Should this happen?

No. It means you do not have enough coverage for your belly. This may happen if you are long waisted or have a big belly. So you need to wear another splint. Either a short torso or regular torso splint. The distance between the bottom of your sternum and belly button will determine if your second splint should be a short torso or regular torso. If it is 8-10 inches then it will be a short torso. If it is 11 inches or higher than it will be a regular torso.

Can I carry on with normal everyday activities while wearing the splint?

Yes. However, you need to start developing an awareness of how to use your abdominals, how to move your body and how to protect your connective tissue while doing these activities. For example, before you move engage your abdominal muscles, make sure you bend with a flat back and when you bend over put your hand on your belly to protect your connective tissue.

After six weeks does one need to continue wearing the splint? What about after 18 weeks?

You have to wear the splint until your diastasis is closed. If you have a severe diastasis it may take anywhere from 6 months to a year or more for it to close. Healing a diastasis is not an overnight process.

After I have closed my diastasis do I need to wear a splint?

No. However, you do need to continue the other three steps of the program to “maintain” the results you have gained. Doing the Tupler Technique ® exercises are good for your belly, back and pelvic floor.

If I can’t wear the splint will the program still be effective?

Yes. If you can hold a splint (scarf or arms of sweater) while doing the seated and back lying exercises you will make progress. However, it may be slower than if you wore the splint all the time. If you cannot even hold a splint doing the exercises will help.

Why do I need to wear the splint all the time?

Wearing a splint takes the stretch off the connective tissue putting it in a narrow position to heal. It also puts the muscles in a better position making the exercises more effective. Wearing a splint all the time can be compared to wearing a cast for two broken bones. The bones have to be kept in the same position continuously in order for them to heal. It is the same with the connective tissue. So you will have the fastest and best results if you wear it all the time.

Is it normal to have back pain in the morning after wearing it all night?

No. This is not normal. You are most likely wearing the splint too tight. Besides making it looser, sleep with bent knees. For side lying position, put pillow between knees. For belly lying or back lying position, put a pillow under your lower legs.

If I have a pelvic floor prolapse will this program have an effect on it?

Yes. If you hold your transverse in on the “work” of everything you do you can prevent the prolapse from getting worse. If you do the exercises incorrectly you can make the diastasis worse! If you have any type of prolapses you can wear the splint if you do not feel any pressure in your pelvic floor.  If you do feel pressure, then just "hold" a splint when doing the seated or back lying exercises.  If you are wearing the splint, make sure it is not too tight. Also make sure when you do the exercises that you do the following:

1. Count out loud. Holding your breath puts pressure on both the pelvic floor and weak connective tissue joining the abdominal muscles.

2. Engage both the abdominal and the pelvic floor muscles at the same time when doing the seated and back lying exercises

3. Decrease the repetitions of the seated contracting exercise repetitions when doing the contracting exercises from 100 to 25 or less. This program will not heal a prolapse.

Can I close my diastasis by just wearing the splint?

No. Wearing a splint is just “one” of the four steps of the Tupler Technique® program. It will only give you “temporary results. You must do ALL four steps of the program to close your diastasis. The purpose of the splint is to put both the connective tissue and muscles in a better position. The other steps involve protecting the connective tissue and strengthening the abdominal muscles.

What is the difference between and splint and a girdle or other abdominal binders or body shaping garments?

The purpose of the splint is approximation (pulling together) the two separated muscles and taking the stretch off the connective tissue. The purpose of the girdle, abdominal binders and body shaping garments is compression (pulling back) of the abdominal muscles.

What is double splinting?

Double splinting is wearing a splint all the time and holding a splint (scarf or arms of sweater or top) while doing the seated and back lying exercises. Double splinting is started in week 4 of the program after the transverse muscle has been strengthened.

If I use a splint can I do regular type of abdominal exercises (crunches) to work the outermost abdominals?

No. Absolutely not. The purpose of the splint is just to put the muscles and connective tissue in a better position. It is physically impossible to engage the transverse muscle with the shoulders off the floor when doing a crunch. If you cannot engage it you are not working your core correctly and this will make the diastasis larger if you have one or create one if you don’t have one.