Department of Physical Therapy Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

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College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Purpose: To identify differences in interventions selected by PTs and chiropractors (DCs) for the treatment of acute low back pain following minimization of symptoms.

Subjects: 900 randomly selected Florida licensed PTs and DCs. Final sample size consisted of 114 PTs and 87 DCs.

Methodology: A self-designed survey used to obtain demographic and intervention-related data. Chi-square analyses at alpha level of .0001, frequency distributions, and cross tabulations were performed.

Results: PTs utilized patient education in therapeutic exercises and injury prevention, and DCs utilized spinal manipulation and patient education in injury prevention following symptom minimization. They both discontinued treatment for similar reasons, had similar methods of follow up, and equally implemented patient education following symptom minimization. The majority of PTs did not refer their patients to other healthcare professionals following symptom minimization, while the majority of DCs referred 1-25% of their patients.

Discussion: Other than their differences in the utilization of spinal manipulation and therapeutic exercises, PTs and DCs used similar methods of management for acute LBP. PTs should continue to implement patient education prior to symptom minimization. If additional treatment sessions are needed following minimization, they should be focused on active patient participation, such as exercises or injury prevention.


Physical Therapy

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