Faculty Advisor(s)

G. Noel Squires

Document Type

Course Paper

Publication Date



© 2015 Todd Wilde


Background & Purpose: Effective physical therapy treatment strategies are needed in order to improve outcomes for patients with low back pain. Current trends indicate that treatment effect size could be enhanced by implementing patient-specific management strategies based on examination findings (1, 2). The purpose of this report is to describe the physical therapy management and functional recovery of an individual with work-related acute nonspecific low back pain based on a treatment approach consisting of core strengthening and lower extremity flexibility. Case Description: The patient is a 51 year-old male with a one-month history of low back pain without radiculopathy secondary to a work-related lifting injury. His symptoms compromise his ability to optimally perform his regular work activities which include prolonged standing, walking, bending, and lifting. The patient completed a three-week, six-visit episode of care consisting of education, core stabilization exercises, cardiorespiratory endurance exercises, lower extremity strength exercises, spine flexibility exercises, lower extremity flexibility exercises, spinal mobilization techniques and soft tissue mobilization techniques. Outcomes: Outcome measures (Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire (OLBPDQ) and Focus On Therapeutic Outcomes (FOTO)) were taken on the first and last visits. Over the course of the treatment plan, the patient reported and demonstrated mild symptomatic and functional improvements which were supported by FOTO results (Intake: 46, Discharge: 63). OLBPDQ results improved but did not surpass the minimum detectable change (Intake: 30, Discharge: 26). Discussion: Over the course of three weeks, management strategies resulted in modest positive outcomes represented by improvements in OLBPDQ scores, FOTO, and pain scale. However, further research is needed to report upon the outcomes of this approach in managing individuals presenting with acute non-specific low back pain.


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