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Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Physical Therapy

First Advisor

John Medeiros, PhD, PT

Second Advisor

Richard Rutt, PhD, PT


A wide variety of exercise programs are utilized in the treatment of low back pain, yet there has been no consensus on the types of exercises that should be performed. This study analyzed the effectiveness of an intensive back program (IBP) in comparison to conservative physical therapy (non-IBP) in the treatment of low back pain. The subjects that participated in this study were obtained from an outpatient physical therapy clinic. All subjects were given a Low Back Patient Initial Questionnaire to complete, which consisted of thirty-seven questions concerning the subjects' back pain. A Visual Analogue Pain Scale and an Oswestry Low Back Disability Questionnaire was also used to provide information on how the subjects' perceived back pain affected their everyday functional activities. Thirty-four patients participated in the IBP and forty-eight in the non-IBP. A 2x4 analysis of variance with repeated measures indicated that the IBP group had statistically significant increases in lumbar extension range of motion (P=.0167) compared to the non-IBP group. Chi square tests demonstrated a significant association between group (IBP vs. non-IBP) and lumbar extension range of motion, decreased frequency of low back pain, decreased frequency of weakness in the leg or foot, and an over-all higher level of satisfaction with their back condition after treatment. The results of this study indicate that the intensive back program may be more effective than more conservative physical therapy in the treatment of low back pain.


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