Surprising Back Pain Relief–Diastasis Recti and Back Pain

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Got an aching back? You might not have heard of this before but diastasis recti and back pain are connected and the information in this post might be just what you need to get relief.

woman's lower back with text overlay for post about back pain

You’re almost done with the dishes, and you catch yourself doing it again: rubbing your aching back.

It feels strangely similar to the way your spinal muscles felt during pregnancy, and just about every one of your mama friends has mentioned similar issues.

They attribute it to the daily grind of motherhood and usually tell you to just “take something for the pain,” but you’d sure love to find a natural way to get through your day without wincing every time you pick up a child or get an extra tight squeeze from your husband.

drawing of spine

What if your core and your alignment have more to do with your pain than you realized? And what if you could do something natural today to feel better tomorrow?

Does that scenario resonate with you?

So many moms out there are bearing up under back pain, listening to the voices that say it’s simply the price of being a mom or telling themselves that they’ll deal with it later when the kids are older or when they can afford surgery (because that’s the only solution their MD gave them) or when they can afford a gym or personal trainer…

You see, every mom I talk to has purely-motivated and sometimes Godly reasons for silently shouldering the physical pain of motherhood, but what if I told you three shocking things about your back pain that your doctor and fellow friends may not know?

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3 Surprising Back Pain Facts

Related to Motherhood

Carrying babies inside your abdominal wall for 9 months {10 if you go by lunar months} stretches out the muscles that support your lower back, and if you don’t reclaim and restore those muscles, they will stay deflated.

Could Be Diastasis Recti

98% of pregnant women gets a diastasis recti (DR) which is a separation in the fascia of your linea alba. Some are smaller and close easily, while others take a while to heal. This separation is partly how your belly muscles stretch to make room for a baby, but the wider your DR gets, the longer it takes for your abs to reknit themselves back together and return to their main job of supporting and protecting your spine.

Sit Ups Can Be Bad For You

It’s true--sit ups and crunches can actually hurt you!

Your posture and style of fitness during pregnancy directly affect how wide your diastasis gets, as does your posture and style of fitness after you deliver. Slouching and doing sit ups and crunches will make your diastasis wider, putting more pressure on the separated tissue. Keeping your spine naturally curved and neutral and being gentle and TummySafe™ in your choice of movements can help your body heal.

Unfortunately, there is what I call a “3-finger gap in maternal care” which means that very few doctors and midwives know very much about diastasis recti (DR) beyond offering surgery or crunches.

Having a DR is often written off as an aesthetic “looks and vanity” issue because the poochy belly that you’ve attributed to all those pregnancies can also a sign of diastasis.

However, diastasis isn’t just found in post-partum women but also in men and children, and it doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with a big belly.

Diastasis Recti Symptoms

I have had my hands in shredded bellies that are totally flat, but the poor ladies report the other unhealthy symptoms that go along with DR:

  • Chronic lower back pain because the abs are too stretched out to support the spine in proper posture for any length of time. Strengthening your spinal support muscles – which include your mutlifidus and transverse abdominus – goes a long way to reducing back pain.
  • Bowel trouble because the abs are supposed to hold your internal organs in the correct position to facilitate proper digestion. When I check bellies, I often can palpate organs through the thinned connective tissue… which is SCARY because that means the woman’s organs are exposed to trauma.
  • Pelvic floor issues such as prolapse, incontinence “leaking” and general looseness because the biggest, deepest abdominal muscle – your transverse abdominus – connects in the same place as your pubococcygeus muscle. Weakness in one is directly related to weakness in the others. Thus, strengthening your entire core (read: not just your six-pack) can literally eliminate pelvic issues.

Tips to Address Diastasis Recti and Back Pain

Check Yourself for Diastasis Recti

Well, first start by checking yourself for DR (diastasis recti) by CLICKING HERE to watch Fit2B Studio’s self-check video filmed with a licensed physical therapist, Kelly Dean of The Tummy Team.

Stop Traditional Ab Exercises

If you check your tummy and determine you have a diastasis, it’s very important that you stop all forms of crazy ab work that are compressing your intervertebral discs and misaligning your spine.

Focus on Healing Diastasis Recti

Diastasis Recti can be healed. It takes work, but you can make a lot of progress.

Most importantly, don’t ignore it. Start working on it now to prevent it from getting worse, and for better abdominal, back, and overall health going forward.

Check for Transverse Abdominus Awareness and Activation

Sometimes people don’t have a DR but they discover that they have ZERO transverse abdominus awareness or activation.

If that’s the case, you need to watch this free 10-minute routine to learn how to find and use it again! You can use the family-friendly workouts on my site to do that for a nominal monthly fee, or you can use my Diastasis Directory to locate a nearby professional to help you heal. It’s also crucial that we bring back the tradition of binding bellies after birth.

And if you’re a birth professional: The Diastasis Awareness section on Fit2B has two downloadable, printable handouts that you can use to explain diastasis to your clients and other professionals in your field.


Bottom Line: if your back pain or other diastasis-related health issues are preventing you from being the greatest mom you can be for your kids, rest in knowing that God designed your body to heal from this. It’s all about finding your God-given girdle and putting it back to work.

Don’t wait for the exact right conditions to take care of your core, because if you need to be strong at the core of your home.

And believe me, your husband will thank you 😉 Read my story and see my husband’s cute note to me HERE.

Again, you can join Fit2B here and do great things for your core health — and your core affects so much that you will be helping much of your body to be healthy.

If you missed Lose Your Mummy Tummy and Why Crunches Are Bad for You, you need to really head over and read it now.  

And remember…I am not a doctor. Please consult your physician prior to changing your diet, taking supplements, or changing your exercise routine :)!)

Another Tip for a Healthy Back

This DVD for healthy knees is just amazing.

As mentioned in this post and this one about neck health and back pain, everything is connected. The exercises in the DVD work and help you have healthier knees, which will also help you have a healthier back.

The exercise explanations are a bit long, but the information is super helpful. Once you know the exercises, you can fast forward through the explanations or have them written down to do later.

Have you heard about diastasis recti before?

Beth Learn and Family

About the writer: Bethany Learn lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two energetic children. She is the founder and CEO of Fit2B Studio, LLC which offers wholesome home workout streaming to members in six countries worldwide. Her hobbies include backyard farming, milking her dairy goat, crocheting rugs out of t-shirt yarn, working on their off-grid cabin in Montana, and reading lots of thick books.

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  1. Great article! Exercises can help a lot but after my pregnancy the biggest impact was from my physiotherapist. We all know our bodies but physiotherapists know them better. Don`t forget that giving birth is something that women bodies are prepared for whole their life but this doesn`t mean it is not painful. Why don`t we skip some of the pain, at least this part which comes from the back.

  2. Catching up on some posts and so glad I did! Thanks for the info! Heading over to read “Lose Your Mummy Tummy – And Why Crunches Are Bad for You”!

  3. I LERVE fit2B –
    have been doing the simple 10-12 minute routines and though it doesn’t “Feel” like a workout – I know my stomach muscles approve!

  4. I purchased a stand-up desk (well, not even, I purchased a desk to put on top of a desk) so I could stand when at my computer and this has helped my back tremendously! I no longer have back pain, unless I sleep in a funny position. I highly recommend it!

    1. I now work at an armoire where my computer is stationed–in the dining room so I can be near my kids all day. It has helped me as well.

  5. I’m not sure why my comment isn’t showing up, but I’ll try again. I got my arch supports at Ideal Feet.

  6. Or for those of use who have tried her Lose Your Mummy tummy routine and cannot do it because if cause a terrible tightening in a bad shoulder muscle, very good quality arch supports do the trick. I had back pain by the end of the day so badly that I had a hard time getting through fixing dinner. I got arch supports from a professional and within a few days it was GONE.

    1. Arch supports are wonderful for foot alignment which truly does affect the whole body. We’ve had some threads in our private forum about upper back and sometimes shoulder pain with the transverse videos, because those muscles definitely try to take over when the transverse is weak. I myself had to work super hard to RELAX everything else around that core muscle, because it kept trying to tap it’s buddies “on the shoulder” to make them do its job! It’s classic, and I address it in the newer Basic Transverse and Mula Bandha video because Kelly Dean of The Tummy Team, the physical therapist I have been mentored by, says she has to address it in nearly every single client! So you aren’t alone! Having good shoes can definitely relieve back pain, but just be sure that you still go back and eventually address any core issues you have. If my program isn’t the one for you, there are a few other good ones out there, too! Blessings! -Bethany Learn, Fit2B Studio

      1. I’m intrigued that you talk about arch supports. Do you recommend having feet evaluated at any specific place? I have orthotics and have worn them for years, along with very motion controll-ey shoes and now ended up with muscles so tight in my ankles that I had horrendous knee pain. I was told by a PT and gait analizer (for lack of a better term..I forget what her title really is) that I was controlling too much in my feet and had to do more barefoot walking. So this is a super interesting topic for me.

        1. I wore orthodic arch supports created by a podiatrist for a few years, and they really helped my shin splints and with some repositioning of bones in my feet that had been maligned by poor shoes. Once my shin splints were corrected, I was able to go without them and wean down to regular shoes. But I have since avoided heels and tight shoes. These days, I’m 95% minimalist/zero/negative heal and am reaping the benefits. If I have to wear boots/heels for even a couple hours, I notice such a difference in my posture and coordination! In my mind, there is a time and place for healing devices, but it’s not forever. Splinting a tummy and using foot orthotics isn’t “natural” but neither is most of patterning in life these days. We don’t question the splinting of a broken bone or a sprained ankle. But we wouldn’t leave the cast on forever, and we would strengthen those muscles as they heal around the damaged area, right? Life is full of seasons… so we do what needs to be done and what works … until it doesn’t work and it’s time to do the next step. Sorry to be rambly 😉

          1. Thanks. Do you mean all heels? I don’t wear “heels” but I like Dansko clogs and stapled sandals which have a rise for sure. Do you consider those to be off limits? I think you are totally right on this – you sound like my PT. But I was given the orthotics years ago when “splinting” feel for knee issues was a lot more popular. I had a cyst in my foot as well…..long story.

            1. well, here’s an article that I like to refer people to, and it’s super good although this gal’s blog has now moved. She’s a certified restorative exercise specialist, and the visuals make a strong case for avoiding even smaller heels. I used to love danskos until i went to minimal/zero heels, and now I can hardly stand them! So, consider yourself warned, you might not want to switch unless you want to buy all new shoes 😉 I’ve just replaced mine as I’ve needed new ones. I’m not into just throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Like all things, making slow changes yields the most steady commitment to a lifetime of change… at least for me 😉

              1. Yikes. Well, at least my favorite Dansko sandals were all used. I bought them in great condition off Ebay. Sad me. Got any good recommendations for attractive minimal/zero heeled shoes? I could use a summer shoe and a winter one as well. Pretty please.


                On the good side, I went from Danskos in the house every day all day to being barefoot about 100% of the time indoors. I only wear them when I go out now. So that’s good. Are you thinking it needs to be “never” to be in the best health? I am heading to a very late bed now….thanks for all the help!!