Treating Patients with Complex Back and Neck Pain

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Treating Patients with Complex Back and Neck Pain

Instructor: Pieter de Smidt, PT, DPT, Cert MDT, MTC, FMS-C

Course Length: 2 hour | Tuition: $79.99 or FREE for Elite Passport Members (learn more)

This is a livestream, interactive course.  The instructor will teach in real time and you will have the opportunity to ask and answer questions.


Patients with back and neck pain make up a sizable portion of outpatient therapy visits. Chronic pain associated with this growing population can be debilitating and successful outcomes can be hard to achieve. The complexity of this type of pain can be difficult to diagnosis and requires a systematic approach to evaluation to identify the type of pain that is most dominant and helps to classifying patients according to treatment. Using specific evaluation techniques and probing questions to identify both red and yellow flags can help to prioritize what areas need to be addressed first.

This course will identify the best cervical and lumbar oriented special tests and partner those results with treatment techniques within each classification. Additionally, the benefits of Pain Neuroscience Education (PNE) and a best practice approach to combining hands-on treatments, exercises and patient education to achieve a more precise prognosis and expectation of outcomes will be discussed.


  • Identify the prevalence/incidence of cervical and lumbar pain and how this influences clinical practice
  • Discuss the most common forms of self-report patient outcome measures used for complex back and neck patient.
  • Identify the most prevalent red flags during the spine examination, in addition knowing what yellow flags to consider.
  • Apply the most diagnostic cervical oriented special tests and lumbar oriented special tests
  • Explain the proposed benefit to classifying low back and neck conditions by similarity
  • Analyze the effectiveness of each technique for treatment within the classifications



    • Pain is complex
    • Outcomes for treatment of Back Pain are not good

Complex Back Patient

    • Occurrence
    • Outcomes Measures
    • Interview
    • Assessment
    • Differential Diagnosis
    • Treatment options

 Complex Neck Patient

    • Occurrence and Risk factors.
    • Outcome Measures
    • Interview
    • Assessment
    • Differential Diagnosis
    • Treatment options

General Treatment Guidelines for complex patients, or patients with chronic pain