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Abstract

Study Design: This study utilized a single blind design in the observation of 20 initial low back evaluations performed by physical therapists. The physical therapists were blinded to what the researchers were observing. Objective: The objective of this study was to determine whether or not physical therapists were quantifying the strength of trunk flexors when the patient’s chief complaint was low back pain. Background: The literature has shown that there is a relationship between back pain and decreased strength in the abdominal muscles. Therefore, it appears important for physical therapists to evaluate the abdominal muscles in patients with low back pain. Methods and Measures: Twenty physical therapists participated in the study. The researchers observed if trunk flexor strength was quantified during the initial evaluation of 20 patients with low back pain. Following the observation, each physical therapist was given a questionnaire and asked to comment on their evaluation of the trunk flexors. Results: Of the evaluations that were observed, 15% of the physical therapists evaluated the trunk flexors and 85% did not. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that therapists did not consistently quantify abdominal strength when treating patients with low back pain.

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