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Thread: what exactly is a quad belly?

  1. #1

    what exactly is a quad belly?

    I had no idea what a quad belly was until yesterday when I saw it popping up here and there in the older threads. It seems that those confined to wheelchairs are more prone to get them, especially if they do not have full control over their ab muscles.

    Well, I'm not wheelchair bound but I definitely notice a weakness in my core area. Sometimes I tend to slouch to a side (to my weaker sider) when I'm tired or when I'm sitting on the couch. I've also noticed that my belly has gotten much bigger, even though the rest of me has pretty much stayed the same. Sometimes I'd lose about 5-10lbs (whether intentional or not) but the belly/waist area stays the same width and refuses to go away. I've always attributed this to overeating but when I began to record my food intake, I realized I really wasn't overeating at all.

    I get moderate exercise. Usually 30-60min of leisure walking 3x/week. 2x I do more strenous activity, such as long hikes. Yet, I still have a belly! When I lose weight, everywhere shrinks except for that area.

    So I wonder....can that be what you all are talking about? This infamous quad belly? Can anyone give me more information on it, why it develops, and how to possibly get rid of it? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    last house on the left
    quad belly is caused by total lack of muscle tone, and even people with small frames sometimes get a quad belly.

  3. #3
    Quad belly is the term used for the overstretching of the paralyzed abdominal muscle wall from the weight of the body organs when sitting. It is less common in those with abdominal paralysis and spasticity than in those with low tone in their stomach muscles. It is not caused by being overweight, although certainly excess abdominal organ fat makes it worse. Since the person who has it is paralyzed in those muscles it is not possible to use exercise to tighten them up again. Prevention is best with the use of an abdominal binder to prevent the overstretching in the first place. An abdominal binder can help to control this somewhat if used long term, even after it has occurred.

    If you are AB you can both prevent and treat any abdominal laxness you have by doing abdominal exercises such as sit-ups or crunches on a regular basis.


  4. #4
    This one hits home..

    T6 Complete (I disagree..), and 6 1/2 years out. I have the belly going, plus love handles. I have regained function of all my lower back muscles, down into my glut's (but not including...yet). My obliques are flexing pretty well (better every day!), and my abdominals are gaining every day as well; still not as good as my back, which is really doing well now. Eval with physical therapist on Wed, and he had a hard time twisting my trunk when I was sitting up and clenched all the muscles to prevent him form doing so. I can clench the abdominals now, but cannot do a sit up. Crunches? I thought they were more of a "clench those muscles in an attempt to go form laying flat to sitting, but do not actually sit up." No?

    Anyway! SCI-Nurse: (or anyone else!) What would be my best course of action to now rid myself of the belly? Is it even possible to be rid of this, or has "the damage been done"?

    I am taking a GNC VitaPak for women, including energy boosters and a few other things, and then doing whey protein after my little workouts. Since I can feel hunger, and feel when I have eaten enough now (could not do so 8 days ago), my diet has changed quite a bit. I am not overweight otherwise, nor am I under, and my upper body is quite toned.
    T6 complete since Oct, 2001
    TiLite ZRa, Spinergy LX 24", Shox Firm tires, 3" volcanic glare rollerblade wheels for casters

  5. #5
    nikki , thats just great on the return after all those years. i pretty much have same thing going on. started about a month ago. i can flex to my butt muscles and some leg muscles. also my abs are turning on slowly. i do sit ups by grabing my legs and pulling myself up. kinda like cheating. lol anyways i still don't have full control of these muscles. i get treible spasms all the time. moving my arms to the side doing something my lower body goes crazy. do you have full control or like part control. why can't the dam things just work right all the time? i hope you understand what i'm trying to ask here. thank you , ken
    oh well

  6. #6
    Very cool Ken!
    I used to get spasms, sometimes my back muscles would fling me backwards, my whole body trying to go rigid. After Wed last week (10 days ago), I only get spasms in my legs. I can breath easily, and with confidence that I will not have any problems due to spasms, making my diaphragm stop for a second or two. I cannot do "real" crunches (yet?). But, like you, I am cheating Hey, if it

    With my back muscles from my injury level down (T6 Complete; from there down did not work voluntarily), I have full control now. However, they do not stay tight to retain posture like they used to (yet). The abdominals (lats) are weakest, and obliques are coming along nicely. It is as if T6 in my back is a point of origin, and things closest to that point are returning strongest first. It was very sudden (overnight), which makes no sense.

    Can you feel the muscles that have returned?
    T6 complete since Oct, 2001
    TiLite ZRa, Spinergy LX 24", Shox Firm tires, 3" volcanic glare rollerblade wheels for casters

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mona~on~wheels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Cleburne, Texas, USA
    I'm real small but have a big quad belly.
    I stopped wearing a binder at 6 mos. post sci.,
    because I got my supra pubic stoma.
    I wish I had of known how to fix the binder then as I do now.
    One of my next projects.
    What really worrys me is all the fat in the omentum.
    Dr. Oz says the amount of fat in your omentum is critical to your health.
    Your liver secretes or does something bad when it's surrounded in fat.
    So how can a c7 quad get rid of this fat?!
    I've tried losing weight but my legs get smaller, not the omentum.
    I'm really not that much overweight.

    Congrats Nikki & Ken on your return!


  8. #8
    I'm a T9 para, why do I have a quad belly? LOL
    Go Georgia Bulldogs

  9. #9
    Your abdominal muscles are innervated from T8-T12. If you have most of that intact, then voluntary muscle contraction (exercise) can help to tone the muscles and prevent or even correct "quad belly". If most of the abdominals are paralyzed, then that is not generally possible, unless you have a lot of abdominal spasticity.

    I know one slim and fit female with a C6 injury who had a tummy tuck that corrected her quad belly, but she does have to wear a binder now to prevent it from just occuring again.


  10. #10
    Senior Member Mona~on~wheels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Cleburne, Texas, USA
    I thought about that KLD. lol
    I was watching Joni & Friends this morning,
    and her belly is flat as all get out!
    Joni the painter that went off the mountain.
    She's a high quad.

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