Off-campus Pacific University users: To download campus access theses and dissertations, please log into our proxy server with your PUNet ID and password.

Non-Pacific University users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis or dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Theses or dissertations that have a specific embargo period indicated below will not be available to anyone until the date indicated.

Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Laurie Lundy-Ekman, PhD, PT

Second Advisor

Katie Farrell, MS, PT, NCS


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License


There is a paucity of research regarding the length of time necessary to learn exercises and the impact age has on the time required to learn exercises. Twenty-four subjects, twelve elderly (ages 66-94) and twelve middle-aged (ages 29-44) subjects were taught four multi-step back exercises. Each subject was seen for two sessions a week and scored on their performance of the exercises at each session. Once each subject received 100% on the exercises or reached eight sessions, they were dismissed from the study. Eleven of the twelve middle-aged subjects were able to achieve 100% by session 2. In the elderly population, only four attained 100% by session 3 and five never reached 100% by session 8. The middle-aged group was able to learn the four exercises more quickly than the elderly subjects. In addition, the elderly population only made significant improvements during the first four sessions. The results of this study indicate that physical therapists need to dedicate about three to four sessions reviewing back exercises they prescribe to elderly patients and two sessions for the middle aged population. Due to the small sample size (n=24), it is difficult to generalize these results to the general population.


The digital version of this project is currently unavailable to off-campus users not affiliated with Pacific University; however, it may be accessed on campus or through interlibrary loan (for eligible borrowers) from Pacific University Library. Pacific University Library is a free lender.