Cervical Spine: Manual Therapy Management

Manual Therapy Certification for Physical Therapy

This course will cover current best evidence in the physical therapy management of neck pain. Laboratory sessions will focus on the safe and effective delivery of thrust and non-thrust manipulation to the cervical spine, cervicothoracic spine, and upper ribs.

Additional labs will cover evaluation and treatment of the thoracic spine, management of cervical radiculopathy, upper cervical thrust manipulation/mobilization, and progressive exercise concepts with particular emphasis on performance and incorporation of the overhead press. Mobility and motor control exercises will be included to complement the manual therapy techniques.

Lecture material will summarize the developing body of literature regarding the subgrouping of cervical spine patients, differential diagnosis of cervical conditions, safety of manipulation, treatment of cervicogenic headaches, and cervical spine examination based on clinical practice guidelines.


Day One

8:00am - 10:00am
Subjective Exam and Clinical Reasoning

10:00am - 11:15am
Cervical Examination and Lab

11:15am - 12:00pm
Mid Cervical HVLAT Lab

12:00pm - 1:00pm

1:00pm - 2:00pm
Cervical HVLAT and Safety

2:00pm - 2:30pm
Lower Cervical HVLAT Lab

2:30pm - 3:00pm
Subgrouping and Manual Therapy

3:00pm - 3:30pm
Cervical Non Thrust Mobilization

3:30pm - 4:00pm
Thoracic Screen: Mobility or Stability?

4:00pm - 4:30pm
Mid Thoracic Mobilization Lab

4:30pm - 5:00pm
Round Robin / Student Demonstration / Q&A

Day Two

8:00am - 9:00am
Q&A / Specificity / Cavitation / Exploration of Mechanisms

9:00am - 9:30am
Upper Thoracic / Rib HVLAT Lab

9:30am - 10:30am
Headache Subgrouping and Treatment

10:30am - 11:00am
Instability testing / CN test

11:00am - 12:00pm
Upper Cervical HVLAT Lab

12:00pm - 12:30pm
Student Demonstration Lab

12:30pm - 1:30pm

1:30pm - 2:30pm
Exercise Progressions / Overhead Press

2:30pm - 3:30pm
Managing Neck Related Arm Symptoms

3:30pm - 4:00pm
Cervicothoracic Junction HVLAT Lab

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Round Robin Lab

Spinal Manipulation Course Objectives

  • Understand the risk factors associated with spinal manipulation and be able to screen patients properly using a thorough history and targeted physical examination
  • Understand the strengths and limitations of current objective tests for vascular insufficiency in the cervical spine
  • Perform a thorough objective examination using clinical practice guidelines and current best evidence to determine which data to collect
  • Demonstrate an excellent understanding of current best evidence in regards to manual therapy, thrust and non-thrust joint mobilization techniques in the treatment of patients with neck pain.
  • Demonstrate proper technique with cervical mobilization and thrust manipulation to the cervical and thoracic spine
  • Demonstrate proper technique with all cervical and thoracic mobility exercises and their home exercise counter parts
  • Perform upper cervical ligament integrity testing


  • Physical therapists
  • Physical therapy assistants¬†
  • Occupational therapists
  • Occupational therapy assistants
  • Chiropractors
  • Physicians
  • Athletic trainers


  • NONE


  • Entry-level

Upcoming Cervical Spine: Manual Therapy Management Courses