Differential Diagnosis for Headaches and Cervical Spine Pain


About the Course
When evaluating head and neck pain in physical therapy, we must recognize that many conditions share similar signs and symptoms. This course presents information to help the evaluating clinician determine when a client’s symptoms may be the result of systemic or viscerogenic causes and when referral to another healthcare provider is indicated. In addition, this course presents a framework for differentiating and assigning the appropriate diagnosis for neuromuscular and/or musculoskeletal conditions.  

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the fundamental role of differential diagnosis in the practice of physical therapy.
  • Describe red flag and yellow flag conditions for headache and cervical spine conditions.
  • Describe important subjective, objective, and physical examination findings to consider when accurately diagnosing headache and cervical spine problems.
  • Outline potential viscerogenic and systemic origins of head and neck pain.
  • Outline the subjective, objective, and physical findings that are important in confirm a neuromuscular or musculoskeletal source of a patient’s problem 

About the Author
Dr. Lorie Schleck is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and Evidence in Motion Institutes of Health Professions. She has authored and taught dozens of continuing education course focused on sports medicine, orthopedic, and geriatric topics as well as instructing classes for DPT and PTA students. She currently works in clinical and operational quality for Optage Home Care in St. Paul, MN. 

How to Receive Credit

  • Read the entire course online or in print.
  • Answer the final examination questions at the end of the course. A passing grade of 75% is required. Test questions link content to learning objectives as a method to enhance individualized learning and material retention.
  • Provide required personal information and payment information.
  • Complete the mandatory course evaluation.
  • Print your Certificate of Completion.

Resolution of Conflict of Interest
Colibri Healthcare, LLC implemented mechanisms prior to the planning and implementation of the continuing education activity, to identify and resolve conflicts of interest for all individuals in a position to control content of the course activity.

Sponsorship/Commercial Support and Non-Endorsement
It is the policy of Colibri not to accept commercial support. Furthermore, commercial interests are prohibited from distributing or providing access to this activity to learners.

The information provided in this activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a healthcare provider relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition.

©2023: All Rights Reserved. Materials may not be reproduced without the expressed written permission or consent of Colibri Healthcare, LLC. The materials presented in this course are meant to provide the consumer with general information on the topics covered. The information provided was prepared by professionals with practical knowledge of the areas covered. It is not meant to provide medical, legal, or professional advice. Colibri Healthcare, LLC recommends that you consult a medical, legal, or professional services expert licensed in your state. Colibri Healthcare, LLC has made all reasonable efforts to ensure that all content provided in this course is accurate and up to date at the time of printing but does not represent or warrant that it will apply to your situation nor circumstances and assumes no liability from reliance on these materials. Quotes are collected from customer feedback surveys. The models are intended to be representative and not actual customers.