Department of Physical Therapy Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Physical Therapy

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College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department

First Advisor

Dr. Leah Nof

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Risk Factors for Low Back Pain in Recreational Distance Runners By Jonathan E. Gallas Purpose. The purpose of this study was to examine differences between runners with and without low back pain and a control group of non-runners in demographic, physical/running, and LBP variables. Subjects. This study included 102 subjects in three groups. Subjects, 18 to 55 years old, were from a running store, sports club, and physical therapy clinics in Rockford, IL. Methods. A pilot study of ten runners with LBP was conducted prior to data collection to assess testers’ reliability. One hundred and twelve runners, with or without LBP, who run 20-30km/wk for at least one year were recruited. Runners with LBP are defined as one with a current episode of LBP for 2 weeks but less than 6 months. Subjects completed the informed consent form and demographic and training variable questionnaire prior to data collection. This study utilized demographic and physical/running variable data. Additional data was obtained on lumbar flexion/extension AROM, Biering-Sorensen test, passive lumbar extension test, right and left side bridge, and the Beighton Scale. An ANOVA test was performed to assess for group differences. T-tests, Mann Whitney U, and Chi square tests were conducted to determine differences among running groups. Results. Significant differences were found in the side bridge test between the control group and both running groups, Biering-Sorensen test between the control and runners without LBP, and BMI between the control and runners with LBP. Group differences were found between runners with and without LBP in days/wk, rest days/wk, years run, and marathons run. Group difference were also found in km/wk of running and age among running groups. Discussion. Further research is needed in runners with LBP to determine why they were able to run more miles, take less rest days, run more marathons, and more years. Future studies should address the characteristics of runners that allowed them to demonstrate greater trunk muscle endurance and core muscle stability and be prospective and longitudinal in nature. Key Words. low back pain, recreational distance runner.


Physical Therapy

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