Is a Specific Diagnosis Possible for the Painful Lumbar Spine? Webinar

Diagnosis for lumbar spine graphic1 you tube














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This is a Prerecorded Webinar and includes a CPD Certificate at completion.

Access to Course: 30 Days

Cost: $30.00

Course includes:

  • Access to the recorded Webinar: 1 Hour
  • Resources: Manual
  • CPD Certificate

Listen to Dr Mark Laslett’s webinar discussing specific painful lumbar spine diagnoses like discogenic, facetogenic & SIJ pain. It is possible, necessary or desirable? Presentation is followed by Q&A session. 

Here are questions to consider:

  • Is a specific diagnosis possible for back pain patients?
  • How do we know what the cause of back pain is?
  • Is a diagnosis necessary to guide management and treatment?
  • When is it necessary?
  • Does providing a diagnosis carry risks to the patient?
  • Is diagnosis based on imaging like MRI?
  • How do we use our assessment to arrive at a diagnosis?
  • What is the difference between a clinical diagnosis and a reference standard diagnosis?

A diagnosis has three parts (AMP) see graphic

  • Anatomical source of nociception
  • The Mediators of the pain experience and disability
  • The Pathology that causes the tissue to initiate nociception

How we know the cause of symptoms? 

  • Clinical Diagnosis: the identification of source, cause and mediators of the pain experience using demographic information, history, physical examination and simple/cheap tests like X-rays or routine blood tests
  • Reference Standard Diagnosis: the best-known method of reaching a specific diagnosis. In addition to clinical diagnosis methods, this usually involves expensive and invasive diagnostic tests, like Hi-Tech Imaging or controlled anaesthetic blocks, plus a specialist interpretation of all the information.

What are the main sources of the painful lumbar spine? There are 5 basic categories

  • The anterior column: discogenic or vertebral body pain
  • The Lumbar facet joints
  • The sacroiliac joint
  • Central and foraminal stenoses
  • The posterior column other than the facet joint (spondylolisthesis & Baastrups disease)

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Diagnosis of Persistent Low Back & Referred Lower Limb Pain

Dr Mark Laslett is pleased to release the new educational programme Diagnosis of Persistent Low Back & Referred Lower Limb Pain. This programme allows considerable flexibility for post graduate students in planning continuing education and professional development.  It is designed so you may balance study, work, lifestyle, as well as budget. 

The Diagnosis of Persistent Low Back & Referred Lower Limb Pain Programme comprises eight courses. The first three are undertaken in order, then you may choose which course of 4 through 8 suits your interests, learning requirements and available time.



Program Objectives

  1. Provide a selective overview of the sources and causes of low back and referred lower extremity pain and discuss their relationship to classification systems and national guidelines.
  2. Provide a selective review of the evidence in support of the diagnostic accuracy of the clinical examination for causes of back and referred pain.
  3. Provide the framework for evidence based-clinical reasoning as it applies to diagnosis of low back disorders. This includes the basis for “diagnosis by subtraction”.
  4. Provide up-to-date, evidence-based diagnosis of discogenic, radicular, facetogenic, sacroiliac joint and other patho-anatomic pain syndromes.
  5. Provide a standardized patient history protocol that supports clinical reasoning to a diagnosis and to patient management.
  6. Provide simple methods of identifying important factors that confound both diagnosis and treatment, such as neuropathic pain, central sensitisation and illness behaviours.
  7. Practice performance of key examination tests for nerve root compression and sacroiliac joint pain.
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Pain 101

Pain 101 Module FB

This is the first course in a new online series about Pain.

Presented by Dr Tracey Pons, PhD, NZRPS, Physiotherapy Speacialist (Pain).


Access to this course is for 30 Days.

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In this course we will cover:

  • The definition of pain.
  • Nociception and the protective mechanism normal resting state.
  • Nocifensive behaviour.
  • The transition of acute to persistent pain.
  • Two take home applications.
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Diagnostic Accuracy Course


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This course is intended for all clinicians and students undergoing physiotherapy, medicine and other health related training.

It starts with an introduction to diagnostics as a separate science from therapeutics. Diagnostics has its own conceptual framework and statistical measures. Fortunately, these do not require more than simple mathematics, and the use of an electronic spreadsheet.

The origin of data from diagnostic accuracy studies is described and the international standard for reporting of results is introduced. This is the STARD 2015 document. The concepts of reference standard and index tests, the 2X2 contingency table are introduced. A simple electronic spreadsheet is provided, but the calculation of sensitivity, specificity and the predictive values from the 2X2 contingency table is presented graphically and is easily followed.

The clinical value of sensitivity, specificity and the predictive values is covered in detail, and the effect of prevalence on them explained. The positive and negative likelihood ratios are described, and you learn how to interpret these, calculate pre and post-test probabilities then use them correctly in a clinical setting.

Diagnosis is explained as a sequential, integrated process that involves pattern recognition, ruling in and ruling out possible diagnoses. Though the course starts with very simple concepts, by the end of the 5th lesson you will understand how sequential reasoning and use of multiple clinical tests is validated and used in routine clinical settings.

There are some practical assignments on real data and published papers to help cement in the course content and you can do the quizzes to test your understanding.

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The Shoulder Course Series


SCS Graphic draft2

This is a series of five modules covering all aspects of shoulder screening, diagnosis and management.

These courses are designed with the clinician in mind with an emphasis on clinical applicability supported by current, evidence-informed and best practice guidelines. Suitable for any new or recent graduate, or experienced clinician returning to the workforce, or simply wanting to upskill in the diagnosis and management of shoulder pain.

You can enrol in the whole Shoulder Course Series, and online modules and lessons are also available individually. The online courses provide a flexible, convenient, interactive learning environment using a range of written and audiovisual content supported by case studies and clinical reasoning exercises. Optional workshops are available.



Course Aim

To produce practitioners who can:

  1. Accurately screen patients presenting with shoulder girdle symptoms for red flags, and other causes of symptoms that may require additional investigation or treatment in the primary contact setting.
  2. Make an accurate diagnosis of common shoulder conditions using combinations of clinical examination and imaging investigations.
  3. Apply evidence-informed, non-surgical management, including specific physiotherapy treatment and rehabilitation for common shoulder conditions and list the criteria for orthopaedic or other medical referral.
  4. Understand common surgical procedures as they relate to post-operative protocols, and apply appropriate post-operative rehabilitation following these procedures.  
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