Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Henry C. Wessman


Back Pain -- prevention & control; Patient Education


Chronic low back pain is not a new phenomenon plaguing the medical community. Eighty percent of the adult population will at some time be affected by low back pain. Back pain is the leading cause of compensable injury in industries nationwide, with related cost projections ranging from 16-30 billion dollars per year being spent on health care, workers' compensation, and lost work time.

The industrial community has been responding to these facts with various programs. Literature supports programs with a comprehensive approach versus those with a limited or more narrow focus. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the success of a local industry's (Company X) comprehensive back education program. Specific components analyzed in this 'study include: savings attributed to the modified return to work program, physical prescreening specifics, ergonomic changes in the working environment, specifics of back training and safety committees, and worker's compensation savings incurred following program implementation.

A positive economic impact has been observed with the Modified Return to Work Program, through job modification and ergonomic adaptation. Worker's compensation costs and claims related to back injuries have also both decreased. The overall success of this specific comprehensive program not only supports it's efficacy, but enables it to serve as a model program for other industries interested in implementing such a program.