Objective functional capacity measurement techniques were used to guide a treatment program for a group of 66 chronic back pain patients. These patients were compared with a group of 38 chronic patients who were not administered the treatment program. Outcome data were collected by telephone survey at an average 1 year follow-up. In addition, functional capacity measures were collected for treatment group patients on admission and follow-up evaluations. Results demonstrated that the functional capacity measures collected for the treatment group improved in approximately 80% of the patients. These changes were also accompanied by positive changes in psychologic measures. In addition, at 1 year follow-up, the treatment group had approximately twice the rate of patients who returned to work, relative to the comparison group. Additional surgery rates were comparable for both groups (6% in the treatment and 7% in the comparison group), but the frequency of additional health-care professional visits was substantially higher in the comparison group. The findings suggest that quantitative functional capacity measures can give objective evidence of patient physical abilities and degree of effort and can significantly guide the clinician in administering an effective treatment program.