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3320 – Low Back Pain, Outcomes and Applications

Advanced / Full-Day Course
Live via Zoom / Saturday, September 19, 2020 – 8:00 am-5:00 pm Central Daylight Time
8.0 credit hours
(Lecture with Pool Demo or Video)
There will be a 1-hour break for lunch and regular breaks will be taken during the course.

Faculty: Beth Scalone, PT, DPT, OCS, ATRIC

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Lower back pain is a common health problem affecting people of all ages. It is the leading cause of activity limitations and work absences throughout much of the world. Newer research has concluded that outcomes in lower back pain management are influenced by not only underlying pathology, but is multifactorial, including impact based on the psychological outlook of the individual. The aquatic environment provides an optimal environment for rehabilitation of lower back pathology and pain. The benefits of water therapy including reduced pain, improved mobility, and earlier return to physical activity contribute to the psychological well-being and overall quality of life for these patients.

This course will link key aquatic therapeutic applications and exercises to common impairments found with a variety of spine diagnoses. Precautions and contraindications are reviewed to help the aquatic therapist choose the most appropriate and safe program for their client. Discussion regarding expected outcomes from aquatic therapy interventions will include summary of current research and presentation of assessment tools to help the aquatic therapist recognize potential psychological factors (‘yellow flags’) that could limit a patient’s success with treatment. Understanding the patient’s beliefs allows the aquatic therapist to choose the approach most likely to improve outcomes in those individuals. Further discussion includes implementing clinical tools to manage individuals who present with these ‘yellow flags’.

The pool lab portion of the course will focus on a variety of aquatic therapeutic techniques and exercise progressions to increase functional mobility, endurance, overall spine strength and program design to maximize patient outcomes.

1) List common impairments and functional limitations present in a variety of lower back diagnoses.
2) Utilize known functional outcome questionnaires to assist in developing an effective aquatic exercise program for the individual based on physical and psychological factors.
3) Recognize clients who present with ‘yellow flags’ and implement program strategies to improve outcomes and reduce the risk of chronic pain.
4) Describe the benefits of aquatic therapy for lower back pain diagnoses both in terms patients can understand and medical justifications for insurance reimbursement.
5) List precautions and contraindications for common lower back diagnoses.
6) Design, cue and progress a safe and effective aquatic therapy program for individuals with lower back issues, maximizing the benefits of the aquatic environment.

FACULTY: Beth Scalone, PT, DPT, OCS, ATRIC, is a licensed physical therapist with many years of experience in orthopedic and aquatic therapy. As the owner of North County Water and Sports Therapy Center in San Diego (, she continues with hands-on clinical care in addition to her role as educator. Since graduating from the University of Connecticut in 1991, Beth has belonged to the American Physical Therapy Association and has achieved certification as a Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy. In January 2006, she graduated from Boston University with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Additional certifications include Certified STOTT Pilates™ instructor and Master Instructor for the Burdenko Method.

Beth not only provides continuing education for health care professionals, she is an adjunct faculty in the San Diego Mesa College PTA program, teaching Orthopedic Rehabilitation and Introduction to Pathology courses. She also provides the learning module/instruction on aquatic therapy to the University of St. Augustine San Diego Campus DPT program. She is the recipient of the 2010 ATRI Tsunami Spirit Award and the 2012 ATRI Professional Award.