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Journal of Women's Health Physical Therapy:
Research Report

Diastasis Rectus Abdominis and Lumbo‐Pelvic Pain and Dysfunction‐Are They Related?

Parker, Meredy A. PT, DPT1; Millar, Lynn A. PT, PhD, FACSM2; Dugan, Sheila A. MD3

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Objective:: The purpose of this study was to examine the clinical assumption that the presence of diastasis recti abdominis (DRA) causes lumbo‐pelvic pain (LPP) or dysfunction.

Study Design:: This study was a prospective exploratory analysis of DRA and LPP or dysfunction.

Background:: Only one other study was identified that examined the association between pain and dysfunction and DRA. The authors found that more than 60% of those with DRA had some type of pelvic pain.

Methods and Measures:: Subjects (n=39; PG) included women seeking medical care for lumbar or pelvic area diagnoses (>18 years old) who had delivered at least one child. A control group (n=53; CON) of women were included, as well as a third group (n=8; LAP) with a history of a laparoscopy. Subjects completed the Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory, Pelvic Floor Impact Questionnaire, and the Modified Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire, as well as 2 Visual Analog Scales (VAS) for pain. A dial caliper was used to measure the distance between the rectus bellies. Differences between groups were analyzed using ANOVAs. Pearson product moment correlations were used to examine relationships.

Results:: The incidence for the DRA was 74.4% for the PG, 50.9% in the CON, and 100% in the LAP groups. There was a significant difference between groups for all pain and dysfunction scales. There was also a significant difference between those with and without DRA for the VAS scores for abdominal and pelvic area pain. Otherwise, there was not a significant difference between those with and without DRA for any other LPP or function scales. Conclusions: Women with a DRA tend to have a higher degree of abdominal or pelvic region pain.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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