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PT Elevated: Lower Back Pain & Research Outcomes with Julie Fritz

December 29, 2021 • Musculoskeletal • Paul Mintken, Kory Zimney, JJ Thomas


Welcome back to season 2 of PT Elevated where we are broadening our topics to include more researchers but still focusing on topics that you can use in your clinic every day.

On our fourth episode of season 2 Julie Fritz, PhD, PT, ATC the Associate Dean for Research College of Health at The University of Utah joins our hosts Kory Zimney and Paul Mintken discussing back pain, big data and health services outcomes research.

Here are some of the highlights:

While attending Pittsburgh University earning her PhD, Julie worked with the iteration of the treatment-based classification system at the time and a couple of things were going on then, one was clinical care of patients and the other was creating a paradigm or framework that clinical research questions could be hung on.

She still says there is an important role for clinicians to have a framework to organize their thinking and that the evidence should be consistent with the best evidence we have at the time.

“Based on research there is value in early physical therapy for the care of back pain. Research has shown that with non-pharmacological interventions and focus on education, activity and exercise provided early on, outcomes tend to be better.”

“At the core of a profession is a body of knowledge that we agree on. Where we have trouble in physical therapy is we do not know the parameters that are inside and outside that body.”

“Back pain prevention work focuses on the acute to chronic transition. From the physical therapy perspective, it makes sense in terms of the prevention of reoccurrence but recurrence that leads to disablement.”

“The type of person I like to collaborate with the most in research is a person who has and articulates bold ideas but holds them with a good bit of humility and is ready to be shown that it is a bad idea.”

Julie Fritz’ Clinical Pearl: “I wish I would have appreciated the power of listening to patients and learning communication styles that were more patient-centered. When I work with therapists in the context of clinical studies on strategies like motivational interviewing and I see that young therapists are much better at it than older therapists, myself included, I am envious at the way they are trained in those communications styles. They have a broader perspective of the biosocial approach in general than I know I received.”


Helpful research and training:

Management of Lumbopelvic Disorders

Management of Lower Extremity Disorders

Therapeutic Pain Specialist (TPS) Certification


Ad Info: Continue your learning past what you hear today, EIM offers certifications that elevate your clinical decision making and help get you to the next level of patient care and expertise. Get 5% off by letting your program advisor know you’re a PT Elevated Podcast listener. Check out your program options here.


Connect with us on socials:

@ZimneyKJ on Twitter

@PMintkenDPT on Twitter

@jfritzPT on Twitter

Paul Mintken

Paul has taught musculoskeletal content for the past 15 years. His active research agenda focuses on conservative care for musculoskeletal disorders as well as spinal and extremity manipulation and dry needling. Current Roles: Evidence In Motion, Faculty Wardenburg Health Center at the University of Colorado Boulder, Lead Clinician Regis University Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Therapy,...

Kory Zimney

Kory received a Masters in Physical Therapy from the University of North Dakota in 1994. He completed his transitional DPT from Des Moines University in 2010 and a Ph.D. in Physical Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in 2020. His dissertation focused on the construct of trust as part of the therapeutic alliance and its relation...

JJ Thomas

JJ owns Primal Physical Therapy, a private cash-based practice in Bryn Mawr, PA. With over 20 years as a physical therapist, her unique experiences and training have shaped her into the successful clinician and educator she is. JJ holds certifications in a variety of advanced specialty techniques and methods, all of which complement her role...

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