Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Physical Therapy (M.S.)

Degree Program

Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Arthur Schwarcz

Second Advisor

Gordon Alderink

Third Advisor

William C. Bell


The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a Midwestern Hospital's Interdisciplinary Outpatient Chronic Low Back Pain program. Rate of return to work was selected as the outcome measure for effectiveness. For purposes of discussion, the percentage of patients who were compliant with home exercise, who were involved in a vocational rehabilitation program, and who consulted a physician since discharge were analyzed. There were 118 male and female subjects, average age of 43; who successfully completed the 8 week chronic low back pain program between 1992 and 1994. Subjects were then sent questionnaires at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months. Data from these questionnaires was analyzed. The results showed that 54% of the questionnaires indicated return to work at 1 month, 47% at three months, 56% at 6 months, and 63% at 12 months. However, these results were not valid because of a questionnaire return rate below 60%. Due to this and other limitations of this study the authors could not draw any conclusions regarding the effectiveness of this Midwestern hospital's interdisciplinary chronic low back pain program. Hence, future study is necessary before any determination can be made regarding this program's effectiveness.


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