Methods: This three-year study will randomly assign a total of 300 consecutive community dwelling subjects between the ages of 65 and 80 years old into treatment groups receiving 6 weeks of either physical therapy or chiropractic care. Primary outcomes for balance include the NeuroCom balance tests, Berg Balance Scale, and POMA. The primary outcomes for low back pain are the VAS and 21-point box scale. Secondary outcomes are the Timed Up and Go Test for mobility and the Falls Efficacy Scale for confidence in performing everyday activities. Participants will be tested prior to randomization, and after 6 weeks of treatment, and again 6 weeks later. The data analysis for this intent-to-treat design will be mixed-model analysis of variance (ANOVA) with an alpha level of 0.05 for statistical significance for each outcome measure.
Conclusion: The methodology and design of a multimodal treatment protocol for balance disorders and low back pain in the geriatric population is described in this paper. By examining geriatric patients in separate cohorts with or without cLBP, we hope to identify effective treatment protocols and further define the relative contribution of cLBP to balance problems.
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