AquaHab Physical Therapy Case Study Supports Research Findings Demonstrating the Benefits of Physical Therapy for Low Back Pain

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AquaHab Physical Therapy Reports Aquatic and Physical Therapy Treatments Produce Significant Results for Patients With Low Back Pain From Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

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Research supports that observation, indicating that between 70% and 85% of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives

A new AquaHab Physical Therapy case study demonstrates the advantages of aquatic and physical therapy for low back pain related to lumbar spinal stenosis, according to patient results recorded by the Greater Philadelphia physical therapy practice. These findings validate an earlier clinical study published in Spine, which reported that physical therapy treatments can be effective in the recovery of patients suffering from lumbar spinal stenosis.(1)

Les Littman, President and CEO of AquaHab, LP, notes that back pain is one of the most common chronic pain complaints reported by the clinic’s patients. Research supports that observation, indicating that between 70% and 85% of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives.(2) In fact, the latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics reveals that 1 in 4 adults experienced low back pain within the prior three months.(3) Littman reports that some patients experience low back pain as a result of lumbar spinal stenosis, a degenerative condition related to the aging process; and for these individuals, physical therapy can produce successful outcomes.

The clinical study published in Spine examined patients with lumbar spinal stenosis, who participated in one of two types of physical therapy treatment programs: flexion exercise and walking, or manual physical therapy, exercise and walking. Both groups reported significant perceived recovery after six weeks, including 79% of the manual physical therapy group and 41% of the flexion exercise group, with the percentages diminishing gradually over time. The research study concludes, "The results of the study suggest that patients with lumbar spinal stenosis can benefit from a course of physical therapy, which includes lumbar flexion exercises and a walking program. Furthermore, additional gains may be realized with the inclusion of manual physical therapy interventions, exercise, and a progressive body-weight supported treadmill walking program." The researchers indicate that they did mobilizations (thrust and non-thrust manipulations) and manual stretching for one of the two research groups.

In the AquaHab Physical Therapy case study, the clinic tracked the progress of a 70-year-old female patient diagnosed with multi-level central and foraminal stenosis with left radiculopathy. She reported a pain level of 8 out of 10 when getting up in the morning and her physical therapist recorded a back index – the degree to which the condition affects everyday life – of 54/100. In addition to the pain, the patient presented with functional limitations, including difficulty walking up and down stairs, as well as range of motion deficits and strength deficits. Her goal was to be able to return to her aquatic exercise classes.

The patient received aquatic and physical therapy treatment during 22 visits over a 10-week timeframe. While her treatment initially started with aquatic physical therapy only, her therapist was able to quickly transition her to land-based skilled intervention after six treatment sessions. At her last visit, the patient reported that her pain varied from 1 out of 10 to 8 out of10, but that it was no longer consistently at an 8. In addition, her post-treatment back index was recorded at 26/100. Her therapist reports that she demonstrated good progress throughout the course of her physical therapy treatment and was able to return to her aquatic exercise class following her discharge from care.

The AquaHab Physical Therapy case study confirms the research presented in Spine, which demonstrated the effectiveness of manual physical therapy combined with exercise. This advances the notion that exercise- including access to both aquatic and land-based physical therapy- performed in conjunction with manual therapy is important in realizing a successful patient outcome. “I believe that AquaHab offers numerous advantages over conventional physical therapy clinics that focus solely on land-based treatments,” remarked Littman. “Our physical therapists have the flexibility to create treatment plans incorporating multiple interventions, so they can tailor a solution that best meets the needs of each individual patient and condition. Furthermore, our patients can complete all of their treatments – both aquatic and land-based – within the same facility.”

Littman encourages individuals suffering from lumbar spinal stenosis – or any type of chronic back pain – to speak with a physical therapist to determine the best course of treatment. Patients seeking a physical therapy clinic in the Philadelphia metro area will find a full spectrum of rehabilitative services at AquaHab Physical Therapy. New patients may request a free consultation at any of AquaHab’s four clinics, and free tours of the facilities are also available. To schedule a free screening, prospective patients may submit an information request online or call the nearest clinic: Northeast Philadelphia – 215-677-0400, ext. 1122; Bala Cynwyd – 610-664-6464, ext. 1308; Jenkintown – 215-887-8787, ext. 1418; or Cherry Hill, N.J. – 856-751-8899, ext. 1225.

To learn more about AquaHab Physical Therapy – including available aquatic and land-based physical therapy services, as well as location information – visit

About AquaHab Physical Therapy
Founded in 1991, AquaHab Physical Therapy is a service-driven business offering a full range of aquatic and land therapies. The practice employs an experienced and highly trained clinical team of licensed physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, registered/licensed occupational therapists, and registered dieticians. In addition to rehabilitative services, AquaHab Physical Therapy provides total wellness solutions in partnership with its sister company, the Aquatic and Fitness Center (AFC). Both organizations share state-of-the-art facilities at four locations in the Greater Philadelphia area, including Northeast Philadelphia, Bala Cynwyd, and Jenkintown, Pa., as well as Cherry Hill, N.J. For more information, visit or call 866-577-3422.

1 Whitman, Julie M., et al. “A Comparison Between Two Physical Therapy Treatment Programs for Patients With Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” Spine; October 15, 2006: 31(22), pp 2541-2549.
2 Andersson, Gunnar BJ. “Epidemiological features of low back pain.” Lancet, August 14, 1999; 354: 581–85.
3 National Center for Health Statistics. “Table 52.” Health, United States, 2010. Hyattsville, MD, 2011; 213.

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