Differential Diagnosis in PT, P-05: When to Screen for Systemic Disease and When to Refer (U)


Physical therapists must be able to identify signs and symptoms of systemic disease that can mimic neuromuscular or musculoskeletal (referred to as neuromusculoskeletal or NMS) dysfunction. It is critical for physical therapists to be well versed at determining when referral to a physician (or other appropriate health care professional) is necessary.

The instructional focus of this course is on developing advanced clinical reasoning skills related to determining a client's appropriateness for physical therapy. The course builds on concepts of evidence based clinical practice as they are used to identify conditions that might mimic neuromuscular or musculoskeletal dysfunction.

Upon completion of this course, the Learner will be able to:

  • List the 4 essential questions posed during a clinical examination to determine pain patterns for patients with systemic disease
  • Describe 3 clinical scenarios when screening for systemic or viscerogenic causes of neuromusculoskeletal problems is necessary.
  • Identify the 3 guidelines used during the overall screening process of an adult client in the clinic setting.
  • Given a patient case problem, including history, noted red flags of physical findings, learner will differentiate a cluster of 3 symptoms typical of the endocrine system problems in that patient and design an appropriate treatment protocol based on the factors provided to apply to that patients program

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