Date of Award


Degree Type

Evidence-Based Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Christine P. Kurtz


Nearly $86 billion is spent annually in healthcare costs for Americans with low back pain (Lee, McAuley, Hübscher, Allen, Kamper, Moseley, 2016). Additionally, the burden on the economy due to loss in productivity incurs approximately $114 billion dollars of lost revenue annually (Lee et. al., 2016). Patients with an acute low back injury inadequately treated may become a chronic issue. Only 50% of patients who experience back pain symptoms for 12 months will return to work (Petit, Fouquet, & Roquelaure, 2015). The purpose of this project will be to implement an evidence-based algorithm to standardize acute low back pain care for providers in a family practice clinic, improve patient recovery outcomes thus preventing chronic back pain. The inclusion criteria for the project are patients at a family practice clinic with an acute low back pain episode presenting within 4 weeks of onset. They must be ages 18 years or older and non-pregnant. An algorithm created from current, high quality clinical guidelines will be implemented for patients presenting with initial onset of acute low back pain by each provider in the clinic to assure continuity of care. Patients’ response in pain and function improvement will be measured using of the Visual Analog Scale and Oswestry Disability Index via telephone interview on a weekly basis for an eight-week duration or until patient reports return to baseline. A primary aim to prevent acute episodes from becoming chronic issues is utilizing the highest level of evidence-based practice for assessment, treatment, and evaluation (Goertz et. al., 2012). Results demonstrated the use of the standardized algorithm can improve outcomes among patients with acute low back pain in the primary care setting. Replication of this EBP project has been adopted by the project site facility.