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Management of the Cervical and Thoracic Spine in Sport

presented by Kyle Kiesel & Todd Arnold

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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, ATC

    Dr. Kiesel is an Professor and Chair of Physical Therapy at University of Evansville. His areas of research include motor control of the core and functional movement testing and training. Because of his long-standing interest in athletic performance, injury prediction and recovery, his research has also led to significant work related to functional movement screening, testing and assessment for athletes. He has authored over 20 peer-reviewed publications and regularly presents his work nationally and internationally as well as reviewing manuscripts for a variety of journals. He serves as a consultant for professional and college sports teams as well as the military where he assists with injury prevention and implementation of the functional movement systems model. He has extensive experience teaching lecture and lab courses emphasizing core training and functional movement assessment and intervention including both the FMS and the SFMA. He contributed his expertise related to the SFMA, FMS research, and the adverse affects of pain on motor control to the book, “Movement”. Dr. Kiesel is engaged in patient care in orthopedics and sports at ProRehab PC in Evansville, Indiana.

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  • Todd Arnold, MD

    Dr. Todd Arnold is a primary care/sports performance physician with over a decade of experience caring for athletes of all levels from scholastic to professional. He serves as a sports performance scientist for USA Track and Field, and has worked extensively with over 50 athletes in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games, where the team won 29 medals. He has served as head team physician at both Division I and Division II colleges. Todd has extensive training through the Titleist Performance Institute in the biomechanics of the golf swing, golf fitness and health care related to the golfer, and is the co-creator of Prescription Golf & Fitness™. He sees patients daily and is committed to increasing the public’s awareness of concussions. Dr. Todd Arnold is a board certified sports medicine specialist. He is currently licensed to practice medicine in Indiana. He received training at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Poudre Valley Hospital, and the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. Cervical Spine

    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

    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

    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

    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.