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Management of the Cervical and Thoracic Spine in Sport

presented by Kyle Kiesel, PT, PhD and Todd Arnold, MD

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Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Most athletes continue to participate in sport, despite aggravating spinal pain, limiting performance and increasing risk of a time-loss injury. How can we better diagnose and treat athletic back pain? Dr. Kyle Kiesel and Dr. Todd Arnold team up to present the best knowledge and application of treatment for the athlete with spinal pain. The goal of this course is to sharpen decision-making and examination skills of the sports physical therapist and to streamline treatment of athletes with neck and back pain that limit participation. Upon completion of this course, the sports physical therapist will also be able to appropriately guide the athlete through a movement-based exercise progression and utilize guidelines for improved return to play decision-making. Live case examples of patients with cervical and thoracic injuries will assist the sports PT in the development of critical thinking, problem solving, and patient/parent education.

Meet Your Instructors

Kyle Kiesel, PT, PhD

Dr. Kiesel is a professor of physical therapy at the University of Evansville and a cofounder of the Functional Movement System. During his 20 years in academics, he has spent 9 years directing programs in athletic training and physical therapy. His areas of research include motor control of the core, breathing, and functional movement testing…

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Todd Arnold, MD

Dr. Todd Arnold is a primary care/sports performance physician with more than a decade of experience caring for athletes of all levels from scholastic to professional. He serves as a sports performance scientist for USA Track & Field, and he worked extensively with more than 50 athletes in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games, where…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Cervical Spine

Dr. Kyle Kiesel uses a clinical approach to treat athletes with cervical pain. He starts with the basics, using a clinical approach for medical screening and historical factors, and then moves on to a functional assessment to classify athletes into one of five categories. After completing this chapter, participants will be able to classify patients into the appropriate treatment category and design appropriate interventions for the cervical spine.

2. Thoracic Spine

It is important to use a traditional clinical approach when treating athletes with thoracic pain, starting with medical screening, identifying key historical factors, assessing breathing and regional interdependence, as well as isolated range of motion. In this chapter, Dr. Kiesel discusses the key assessments and tools that can be used in the clinical approach to thoracic pain. The participant will learn about red flags in the thoracic spine, when to refer a patient out, and how to apply these assessments in a clinical setting.

3. Post Case: Wrestler

In this final case study, the participant will test their knowledge of the subjective exam and history, ability to identify red flags, observations, objective exam, and any special tests. Drs. Kiesel and Arnold walk through their exam and solution for this case.

4. Study Materials

For more information on the cervical and thoracic spine, we recommend you look through the following study materials. These materials will help you manage low back pain and see the answers to the advanced case questions.

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