Faculty Advisor(s)

Michael Fillyaw

Document Type

Course Paper

Publication Date



© 2017 Kyle Rasmussen


Background: Low back pain is a common condition encountered in physical therapy practice. Manual lumbar traction and therapeutic exercise are two of the most common treatments used by physical therapists in the treatment of low back pain, but there is limited research investigating the combined effects of these interventions on low back pain. The purpose of this case report was to investigate the effects of a combined therapy approach of manual lumbar traction and therapeutic exercise as part of a compressive physical therapy plan of care for treatment of low back pain. Case Description: The patient was a 48-year-old female with low back pain. Lifting objects, squatting, and walking for long durations increased her pain. Her primary complaint was her inability to walk for long durations. Her primary goals for physical therapy included decreasing pain and increasing activity. Manual lumbar traction and therapeutic exercises were included in the comprehensive plan of care to improve functional mobility and decrease low back pain. Outcomes: The patient demonstrated improvements in pain free range of motion, manual muscle testing scores, flexibility, tenderness with palpation, functional squatting, and pain levels on the Numeric Pain Rating Scale. The patient also met all of the plan of care long term goals. Discussion: This case study demonstrated the use of manual lumbar traction and therapeutic exercise in the treatment of low back pain. Future research should emphasize generalizing results to a larger population, investigating greater and different outcome measures, and determining potential long term benefits of this treatment plan.


The case report poster for this paper can be found here:




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