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Secrets of Mastering the Athletic Low Back Pain Examination

presented by Todd Arnold, MD and Kyle Matsel, PT, DPT, PhD, SCS, CSCS

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Kyle Matsel is a Functional Movement Systems (FMS) instructor and receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. Todd Arnold also receives compensation from MedBridge for this course.

Nonfinancial: Kyle Matsel and Todd Arnold have no competing nonfinancial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

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

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

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Video Runtime: 89 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 34 Minutes

Most athletes continue to participate in sports despite aggravating spinal pain that can limit performance and increase the risk of time-loss injury. How can we better diagnose and treat athletic back pain? Dr. Kyle Matsel and Dr. Todd Arnold team up to present the best knowledge and application of treatment for athletes with spinal pain. The goal of this course is to sharpen the decision-making and examination skills of the sports physical therapist (PT) and to streamline the treatment of athletes with low back pain that limits participation. Live case examples of patients with lumbar spine injuries will assist the sports PT in the development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and patient/parent education.

Meet Your Instructors

Todd Arnold, MD

Dr. Todd Arnold is a sports medicine physician with more than two decades of experience caring for athletes of all levels. He has been on the sidelines caring for those competing in high school sports, multiple levels of collegiate sports, NCAA Championships, and World Championships. He serves as the medical officer for elite athlete healthcare…

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Kyle Matsel, PT, DPT, PhD, SCS, CSCS

Dr. Matsel is faculty at the University of Evansville, where he teaches in the musculoskeletal content areas of the Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum. He received his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Evansville in 2011 and his PhD in rehabilitation sciences from the University of Kentucky in 2021. Dr. Matsel is…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Lumbar Evaluation and Medical Screening

In this chapter, Dr. Kyle Matsel covers key historical and medical screening procedures that can direct the sports physical therapist to make proper referral decisions.

2. Lumbar Conditions and Treatment-Based Classification

In this chapter, Dr. Matsel covers common lumbar conditions and diagnoses encountered by the sports physical therapist. He will utilize a treatment-based classification approach to categorize athletes into subgroups designed to guide treatment.

3. Medical Diagnosis and Imaging

Dr. Todd Arnold discusses the medical diagnosis for athletes with back pain. He explains the importance of taking a detailed patient history and making sure not to skip over the signs and symptoms that may be red flags for a young athlete. Dr. Arnold also explains the importance of referred pain and diagnostic tests. He covers the specificity and sensitivity of various tests for flexion, extension, and mobility patients, as well as treatment and prognosis options. He will use spondylolysis as an example of why several types of diagnostic testing are used.

4. Case Discussion: Football Player With Low Back Pain

In this chapter, Dr. Arnold and Dr. Matsel discuss the case of a football player who presents with low back pain. Dr. Matsel demonstrates appropriate medical screening tests, which suggest a medical referral is warranted. Dr. Arnold evaluates the athlete and determines his low back pain is due to a pars stress injury without slippage, confirmed by an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. Dr. Arnold discusses the medical treatment plan and how it relates to the physical therapy treatment program.

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