Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Exercise Therapy; Low Back Pain -- therapy


Patients with low back pain represent a large percentage of the population frequenting today's clinics. Despite the high prevalence of low back pain in today's clinical setting, it is considered one of the most difficult diagnoses to treat. While practitioners in the field of physical therapy employ a diversity of evaluation and treatment techniques, they all share one common denominator, the goal of limiting pain while improving function and quality of life. Many therapists subscribe to a treatment approach which involves the patient in active individualized self-treatment exercises. Controversy exists as to which treatment approach is most effective and whether an individual or eclectic approach to low back pain is most advantageous.

The purpose of this study is to provide a differential overview of the principles, techniques and approach of three low back exercise programs most often used in today's clinical setting. These include Dynamic Muscular Lumbar Stabilization, the McKenzie Method and Williams Exercises. Through a comprehensive review of the literature, a discussion of the intervetebral disk and lumbopelvic anatomy is presented followed by an in depth description of the clinical usefulness and rationale of each treatment approach. A conclusion as to the significant role that each respective program plays in today's clinical environment is also made.