Effectiveness of Exercise Versus Normal Activity on Acute Low Back Pain: An Integrative Synthesis and Meta-Analysis

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There are a variety of protocols used to treat acute low back pain in adults. Therapies currently prescribed include bed rest, normal activity, and exercise therapy. The effectiveness of each of these treatments is controversial. The purpose of this study is to compare the effectiveness of exercise therapy with normal activity in the treatment of employed adults with acute low back pain through an integrative synthesis and meta-analysis of published research. The integrative synthesis and meta-analytical results support the hypothesis that employed adults diagnosed with acute low back pain will have fewer number of days absent from work after exercise therapy when compared to number of days absent from work after normal activity. This study's weighted P is 0.0000003109. The weighted effect size D is 0.4785 and this is a strong effect of exercise on number of days absent from work. This study concluded that exercise therapy should be prescribed for the treatment of adults with acute low back pain to expedite recovery. The results of this study allow the health care provider to confidently prescribe exercise therapy for acute low back pain. This study can be used to support exercise therapy as an evidence based care protocol for health care providers.

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