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Referred and Radicular Pain Patterns in Orthopaedic Physiotherapy

Referred and Radicular Pain Patterns in Orthopaedic Physiotherapy

Referred and Radicular Pain Patterns in Orthopaedic Physiotherapy

This course includes
57:03 of Course Material (View)
Lifetime access after purchase
Certificate of completion


This online course presents clinically vital information with respect to both referred pain patterns and radicular symptoms.

Unfortunately, entry-level healthcare education leaves practitioners without a robust understanding of these topics, which partially sets clinicians up for failure. For example, do you know how many non-C6 nerve roots can radiate symptoms to the thumb? Additionally, can you name at least 7 non-neural structures that can mimic sciatic nerve pain?

If you don't know the answers to these questions then you would benefit from completing this course. And, most importantly, learning this content will help you correctly identify which tissues may or may not be causing your patients to seek healthcare services, which is the first step towards delivering effective and efficient rehabilitation services.


Learning Objectives

  1. Become familiar with the peer-reviewed scientific evidence regarding referred pain patterns pertinent to orthopaedic clinical practice
  2. Become familiar with published evidence regarding dermatomal patterns and their known shortcomings
  3. Identify non-disk anatomical evidence regarding multiple potential origins of radicular symptoms
  4. Establish a baseline understanding of a bizarre and poorly understood diagnosis that can cause a wide array of atypical but common clinical symptoms
  5. Develop clinically relevant pattern recognition skills to assist with examination, management, and clinical reasoning within an orthopaedic setting



Physiotherapists, physiotherapist assistants, chiropractors, massage therapists, physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, patients, and anyone else interested in understanding what is known about pain referral patterns and radicular symptom distributions.


What's Included

  1. A thorough review of the available evidence regarding referred pain patterns
  2. An introduction to published evidence that calls into question the accuracy of dermatomal patterns
  3. Review of different potential sources that can cause neural encroachment and/or impingement
  4. The presentation of a unique pathophysiological entity that can cause a wide and seemingly atypical distribution of symptoms
The instructors
Stephen Shaffer

Dr. Shaffer is a bilingual (English-Spanish) clinical specialist, educator, and scientist with seventeen years of experience in the physiotherapy profession. After graduating with a master’s degree in physiotherapy he went on to complete residency, fellowship, and academic doctoral training in advanced orthopedics. Initially, he spent years traveling the United States as a traveling physiotherapist but currently works in private practice in Ontario, Canada. During his career he has specialized in the evaluation and management of spinal, extremity, jaw, and headache disorders. Additionally, his professional experience has involved extensive time managing chronic pain as well as both complex and rare cases. In clinical practice he places an emphasis on research-informed evaluation and management as well as manual therapy, clinical reasoning, and shared decision-making. Dr. Shaffer prides himself on making sound decisions on behalf of his patients and strives to ensure that they gain maximal benefit from their healthcare experiences.

In addition to clinical practice, Dr. Shaffer is a researcher with experience on topics related to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and advanced practice physiotherapy rights. He also has experience teaching post-professional courses on cervical spine, jaw, and headache disorders. Currently, he is an active member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT; and is credentialed through the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (CAMPT; When not busy with these activities, Dr. Shaffer leads a team of contributors for the AAOMPT Podcast (, an interview show that addresses a wide array of topics related to orthopedics, and serves as a peer reviewer for an array of scientific journals.

Course Material included in this course
  • Handout - Referred and Radicular Pain Patterns in Orthopaedic Physiotherapy
  • Handout - Referred and Radicular Pain Patterns in Orthopaedic Physiotherapy
  • Video Lectures - Introduction
  • Part 1 - Introduction
  • Part 2 - Outline, Purpose & Expectations
  • Part 3 - Creating Context for the Patient
  • Feedback
  • Video Lectures - Referred Pain Patterns in Orthopaedic Physiotherapy
  • Part 4 - Pain Referral Patterns of the TMJ
  • Part 5 - Pain Referral Patterns of the Extremities
  • Part 6 - Pain Referral Patterns of the Cervical and Thoracic Spine
  • Part 7 - Pain Referral Patterns of the Lumbosacral Spine
  • Part 8 - Pain Referral Patterns of the Pelvic Floor
  • Part 9 - Pain Referral Patterns of Myofascial Trigger Points
  • Feedback
  • Video Lectures - Radicular Patterns in Orthopaedic Physiotherapy
  • Part 10 - Radicular Symptom Distribution
  • Part 11 - Maintaining a Broad Context for Radicular Symptoms
  • Part 12 - A Unique and Potentially Challenging Example
  • Feedback
  • Video Lectures - Conclusions
  • Part 13 - Take Home Message & Conclusion
  • Feedback
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