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Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

First Advisor

John Medeiros, PhD, PT

Second Advisor

Kenneth Bush, PhD, PT


Debate has continued over which method of treatment for low back pain are the most effective. This is an important issue because in the absence of an effective treatment intervention, many acute episodes of low back pain become chronic problems. Given the prevalence of low back pain, there is a need for documenting effective treatment interventions. This study analyzed the effectiveness of an Intensive Back Program (IBP) in the treatment of back pain compared to conservative physical therapy on thirty patients. Success of this program was determined primarily by evaluating lumbar spine range of motion, functional status, perceived pain levels, and use of pain medications via a Disability Questionnaire. Sixteen patients participated in the IBP and fourteen in the Non-IBP group. Results from an initial questionnaire were compared to responses given on a follow-up questionnaire at time of discharge and again three months following discharge. A 2 X 3 Analysis of Variance indicated that subjects in the IBP showed a significant improvement (p<.05) with regard to spinal movement into extension, functional disability status, perceived pain levels, and use of medication. It was also found that IBP patients had fewer complaints of and were less bothered by low back pain, sciatica, and numbness. Furthermore, the IBP subjects claimed to be more satisfied with their back condition and overall medicai care than the subjects treated conservatively. This study suggests that the IBP is superior to more conservative physical therapy in the treatment of low back pain.


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