Physical Therapy Differential Diagnosis Module 1: Screening for Referral, Physical Assessment, and Pain Patterns


Course Description

Course Description:

The purpose and the scope of this text are not to teach therapists to be medical diagnosticians. The purpose of this text is twofold. The first is to help therapists recognize the areas that are beyond the scope of a physical therapist’s practice or expertise. The second is to provide a step-bystep method for therapists to identify clients who need a referral or consultation to a physician or other health professionals who can best manage the presenting signs and symptoms. This content also includes a detailed overview of pain patterns that can be used as a foundation for the organ systems presented in this text. Information will include a discussion of pain types in general and viscerogenic pain patterns specifically. Additional resources for understanding the mechanisms of pain are available.

Finally, screening and ongoing physical assessment is often a part of an exercise evaluation, especially for the client with one or more serious health concerns. Listening to the heart and lung sounds before initiating an exercise program may bring to light any contraindications to exercise. A compromised cardiopulmonary system may make it impossible and even dangerous for the client to sustain prescribed exercise levels. The use of quick and easy screening tools such as the Physical Therapist Community Screening Form f or Aging Adults can help therapists identify limitations to optimal heath, wellness, and fitness in any of seven areas (e.g., posture, flexibility, strength, balance, cardiovascular fitness) for adults aged 65 years and older. With the recommendation that all individuals visit a physical therapist at least once a year to promote optimal health and wellness, evidence-based tests of this type will become increasingly available.


Contact Hours: 10
Text Course Format: Text
Target Audience:
Instructional Level: Intermediate BOC Level of Difficulty: Advanced