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Our Current Project


Chronic Low Back Pain (CLBP) is the leading cause of years lost to disability and poses the highest economic toll among chronic illnesses. It accounts for 75% of all chronic pain conditions - with incidence and prevalence greater than that of fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, tension headaches, migraines, and cancer pain. At any given time, 1% of the US population is chronically disabled because of back problems, and another 1% is temporarily disabled. Otherwise, more than half of all adults will experience back or neck pain at some point during their lifetime, and these health issues currently rank as the second most common reason for medical visits, trailing only upper respiratory infections.

Despite the strong need for extensive research efforts, few drugs have consistently demonstrated effectiveness for this condition ( Hsu, E. 2015), and subsequently, it remains the number one symptom disorder for consulting complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners.










Many doctors now revert to exercise and counseling over drugs and surgery. Of these cases, 30% can transition into long-term cases of chronic, recurrent low back pain. (Cochrane Review, 2005).  There is an abundant literature reporting that intensive exercises are more effective than usual care, physical modalities, hot packs and rest, behavioral therapy, no exercise, being put on a waiting list, or placebo treatment. But, no particular type of exercise had been shown to be superior to any other.”  (Bogduk, Van Tulder et al., Beurskens et al. 2005). 


Chronic Low Back Pain can thus be a complicated and diminishing situation - with a multiple plethora of professional opinions and treatment options ranging from traditional drugs and surgery to a full range of other alternative health and healing approaches ranging from acupuncture to biofeedback to chiropractic manipulation to nutrition to yoga. Yet, it’s incidence and recurrence continues to grow and persist.  Might there be something else that is missing - that has otherwise been overlooked?















 It is now known that patients with chronic back pain have reduced proprioceptive acuity and sensory discrimination at the back. Remarkably correlational, it has also been found on fMRI imaging and brain scans that the cortical representations (the brain map distributions encoding the schema of the body ) of persons with Chronic Low Back Pain are markedly different to healthy controls --persons without recurrent LBP.  Anecdotally and clinically, persons with chronic low back pain also find subtle or differentiated movements of their pelvis and back more difficult to perform than people without back pain do. (Wand, 2013, 2014 & Moseley 2008).


The purpose of Alliant Spine Project’s current research is to find out whether there are significant differences between two existing types of body awareness training methods for improved stability and control of the spine column and surrounding relationships through precisely coordinated muscle and movement activity. Both treatment interventions are specifically designed for persons who commonly relapse into episodes of chronic recurrent low back pain, have persistent pain, also known and diagnosed as Chronic, Non-Specific Low Back Pain (CNSLBP).


This clinical research project is designed, organized and conducted by Doctoral Research Student, Timothy J. Sobie, MS, PT, (Ph.D. Candidate) of Saybrook University, Oakland, California. It has furthermore been approved through both his Dissertation Committee and Saybrook’s institutional review board (IRB) to meet valid design criteria and has been determined to pose only minimal, usual, or benign risk in order to assure the safety and respect of participating human subjects. Tim also has vast experience in directing various local intervention programs -- including the current Alliant Spine Project at Alliant Physical Therapy, PLLC in Tacoma, WA.  Branch office opportunities are also available in Gig Harbor, and Olympia, Washington.  His research supervisor is Doctor Richard A. Sherman, Ph.D., who directs the Psychophysiology Doctoral Concentration Program at Saybrook University. His medical advisor is Dr. Derek S. Scott, MD, Director of CHI / Franciscan Pain Management Center, Tacoma, WA.

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