Your Health Advantage July '15
Your Health Advantage

Who doesn’t know someone suffering from chronic low back pain? Who doesn’t know someone who would love to have relief from low back pain? Washington University Physical Therapy is currently seeking volunteers to participate in a clinical trial comparing treatments for low back pain.

Linda Van Dillen, PT, PhD, principal investigator says, “The purpose of the randomized, controlled study is to examine the outcomes of two effective but different frequently administered treatments for people with low back pain. Participants will receive free, professionally guided physical therapy.”

To qualify, participants must:

•Have a history of low back pain for a minimum of 12 months.

•Be between 18 and 60 years of age

•Be able to stand and walk without assistance

•Be able to understand and read English

•Be able to understand and sign a consent form

•Have a BMI less than 30

Not be in a recurrence or flare-up (flare-up defined as a period when back pain is markedly more severe than usual)

The screening process begins with a telephone questionnaire. After this is completed, the potential volunteer is scheduled to come to the muscle analysis lab to complete additional screening questionnaires related to demographics, medical history and low back pain history. He or she will also have a free initial evaluation by a physical therapist to determine eligibility for the study.

After the physical exam, when it is determined if the participant qualifies for the study, the next step will include a series of questionnaires and 3-D computer analysis of action movements. The 3-D computer analysis involves placing reflective markers on different parts of the participant’s body -- spine, hips, legs, arms – while he or she performs various movements. Several cameras record the markers’ reflection.

This first visit will last about three hours. After the initial visit, the participant will be scheduled to be treated by a physical therapist one time a week for six weeks.

After six weeks of physical therapy, the participant will return for a follow-up visit which will include an examination, questionnaires, and a 3-D computer analysis. He or she will have another visit six months after completing the physical therapy treatment, at which time additional one-hour physical therapy treatment sessions might be scheduled.

The participant will receive web-based questionnaires via email each month for 12 months following the physical therapy treatments. The web-based questionnaires are a subset of the questionnaires that were completed during visits to the Washington University laboratory.

Participants will receive six weeks of physical therapy at no charge. They will also receive monetary compensation for each stage of the trial that they complete, for a total of $300.

For more information about participating in this study, please contact Jen Jarvis at (314) 286-1190 or The study takes place on the Central West End at 4444 Forest Park, 1st floor.
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Washington University in St. Louis Physicians
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