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Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is currently ranked as the 13th most frequent diagnosis in family practice (DynaMedPlus, 2017). The severe nature of the pain in this condition often leads providers to prescribe narcotics. While effective in the short term, opiates have significant side effects when used chronically. Other forms of management for CLBP need to be identified and utilized. The purpose of this review was to determine the role exercise therapy plays in the management of CLBP.

Four databases were searched in order to find high quality systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and randomized controlled trials (RCT) looking at exercise therapy in the management of CLBP. These databases included SPORTDiscus, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, CINAHL, and PubMed. Studies chosen for this review were adult-only populations and included pain as an outcome measurement. All of the studies were published between 2010 and 2017.

After reviewing the current literature on the effects of exercise therapy in the management of CLBP, it does appear that certain forms of exercise are efficacious for pain control. The most effective forms of exercise therapy seem to be those that include a strengthening component. This is encouraging data regarding the future of CLBP management.


Physician Assistant Studies

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Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

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Exercise Therapy; Low Back Pain; Pain Management; Physical Therapy Modalities; Strengthening; Stretching; Aerobic


Other Rehabilitation and Therapy

Exercise Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain