A Controlled Study of 895 Consecutive Patients

The Clinical Effects of Intensive Specific Exercise on Chronic Low Back Pain:

A Controlled Study of 895 Consecutive Patients with 1 Year Follow Up

Brian W. Nelson, MD, Elizabeth O’Reilly, RN, Mark Miller*, PT, Mike Hogan, PT, Joseph A. Wegner, MD, MPH, Charles Kelly, MD

Focus on the Spine

Eight hundred ninetyfive consecutive chronic low back pain patients were evaluated. Six hundred twentyseven completed the program. One hundred sixtyone began, but dropped out, and 107 were recommended for treatment but did not undergo treatment for various reasons. Average duration of symptoms prior to evaluation was 26 months. Fortyseven percent of patients were workers’ compensation patients.


The primary treatment was intensive specific exercise using firm pelvic stabilization to isolate and rehabilitate the lumbar spine musculature.


Patients were encouraged to work hard to achieve specific goals. Seventysix percent of patients completing the program had excellent or good results.
At 1year follow up 94% of patients with good or excellent result reported maintaining their improvement. Results in the control group were significantly poorer in all areas surveyed except employment.