What is Rectus Abdominis Muscle and What is its Function?

The Rectus Abdominis Muscle originates from the pubic bone and ends at the sternum. It is located within the abdominal region. This muscle comes in use at the time of delivery of a child, with coughing or when having a bowel movement. Regular exercising and loss of fat causes this muscle to get a shape of what we come to know nowadays in movies as a "six pack abs." If you have a strong Rectus Abdominis Muscle, then it will also help your performance in sporting activities especially in track events and sports that involve jumping. The Rectus Abdominis Muscle can be strained due to vigorous exercise routine involving the abdominal region. It can also get strained during a sporting activity like running, football, rugby and the like. Rectus Abdominis Muscle strain can also be caused due to heavy lifting like in construction work or while doing manual labor.

Rectus Abdominus Muscle Strain

Signs and Symptoms of Rectus Abdominis Muscle Strain or Injury

Some of the signs and symptoms of a Rectus Abdominis Muscle strain are pain in the abdominal and sternal area with doing activities like running, lifting, coughing. If the rectus abdominus muscle strain is mild then it may not be significant enough for you to stop your activities but if there is a significant strain then it may interfere with activities of daily living including bending and lifting activities. The patient suffering from strained rectus abdominus muscle will also experience pain with coughing, sneezing, or even at times laughing.

What Can Cause Rectus Abdominis Muscle Strain?

People who are involved in construction and lift heavy objects repetitively tend to be at risk for having Rectus Abdominis Muscle strain. People who do manual labor jobs are also at high risk for straining the Rectus Abdominis Muscle. Athletes who are involved in ports like pole vault, swimming, weightlifting, ice hockey are also at greater risk for straining the Rectus Abdominis Muscle. Obese individuals trying to bend or lift may also be at risk for straining the Rectus Abdominis Muscle. Repeated bouts of severe coughing may also cause Rectus Abdominis Muscle strain.

What is the Treatment for Rectus Abdominis Muscle Strain or Injury?

The treatment for Rectus Abdominis Muscle strain depends on the degree of the strain. If it is a minor strain of the rectus abdominus muscle where the tendon do not get detached from the muscles then treatments are usually conservative with the adequate rest and not participating in activities that may aggravate the condition.

Alternating hot and cold packs are also of great help in treating a strained Rectus Abdominis Muscle.

Judicious use of NSAIDs is also helpful to calm down pain and inflammation due to Rectus Abdominis Muscle strain.

In cases where the strain is severe such that there is complete detachment of tendon from the muscle then a surgical procedure may be required to correct the Rectus Abdominis Muscle strain.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Last Modified On: May 4, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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