Diastasis of Rectus Abdominis Muscles in Low Back Pain Patients

Document Type


Publication Date



Rectus abdominis diastasis, body mass index (BMI), intra-abdominal pressure, spinal stabilization, low back pain

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



Background: Abdominal muscles are important spinal stabilizers and its poor coordination, as seen in diastasis of rectus abdominis (DRA), may contribute to chronic low back pain (LBP). However, this has not yet been studied directly.

Objectives: To conduct a pilot study to examine the association between DRA and LBP.

Methods: Using a digital caliper, standard clinical DRA measurement was performed in 55 participants with and 54 without chronic LBP.

Results: Participants were on average 55 years old, 69 (63%) were women. Among the 16 participants with DRA, 11 (69%) had chronic LBP; among the 93 participants without DRA, 44 (47%) had LBP. Among men, 7 of 9 (77%) with DRA had LBP and 14 of 31 (45%) without DRA had LBP. Among women, 4 of 7 (57%) with DRA had LBP and 30 of 62 (48%) without DRA had LBP. BMI was the strongest correlate of DRA and may explain the relation between DRA and chronic LBP.

Conclusions: DRA and LBP may be interrelated, especially among men. This may be a function of greater BMI in individuals with chronic LBP. Understanding the association between DRA, LBP, and BMI may have important implications for treatment of LBP and for intervention.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, v. 31, issue 1, p. 107-112