Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Mark Romanick


Conservative Treatment; Low Back Pain -- therapy; Case Reports; Comparative Study


Background and Purpose: This case report describes the use of two different conservative treatment approaches on a patient suffering from chronic nonspecific low back pain. The case report illustrates the difference between aquatic therapy/core stabilization, which focuses on the biological aspect of the injury, and multi-disciplinary treatment, which treats the injury on a biopsychosocial level.

Case description: The patient was a 32-year old man that suffered two disc herniations from lifting a large box at work. After the injury, the patient received conservative treatments 3 months prior to this specific case report. Neurological deficits were present and the patient had positive results in multiple neural tension tests.

Intervention: The patient completed four weeks of aquatic therapy/core stabilization and had minimal results in functional mobility and pain relief. After aquatic therapy, the patient was referred to a multidisciplinary treatment program called Work Fit, which focused on improving function through pain management.

Outcomes: One month of Work Fit resulted in complete recovery of trunk ROM, decreased pain, improved sleeping habits, and good body mechanics with functional movement.

Discussion: In regards to this specific patient, the multidisciplinary approach was very successful in the management of chronic back pain. The multidisciplinary program restored normal function of the patient’s back through physical and psychological exercises.