Differential Diagnosis in Physical Therapy: Upper Extremity and Lower Quadrant


About the Course
As the profession of Physical Therapy has progressed, the importance of differential diagnosis and medical screening has increased, especially with the mandate of autonomous practice. This seminar will give the clinician the ability to screen the multiple body organ systems for diseases and syndromes that are not of musculoskeletal origin. The seminar further addresses effective mechanisms that result in client referrals to appropriate health care practitioners. Through lectures and case studies, the therapist will be able to determine the best course of action with a patient utilizing the best available assessment tools and measures and evidence-based practice to determine diagnosis, need for referral, or method of treatment.

Learning Outcomes

  • Recognize how to apply the principles of Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) as it relates to clinical decision making in primary care physical therapy by applying optimal diagnostic standards to the clinical decision making process.
  • Recognize and utilize questions during the examination/re-examination and intervention phases of treatment to facilitate making an accurate differential diagnosis.
  • Distinguish between the presentation of clinical signs and symptoms associated with selected medical diagnoses to facilitate making a differential diagnosis.
  • Identify available medical information as a basis for making appropriate referrals to physicians, certified clinical specialists, or other health care professionals.
  • Recognize client signs and symptoms that require immediate and/or emergency medical attention and make appropriate referrals.

About the Author
Dr. Tinsley received her Master’s in Physical Therapy from Texas Woman’s University in 1986 and her PhD in Neuropharmacology from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport in 1999. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation. Sciences at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport. Dr. Tinsley teaches medical pharmacology in the School of Allied Health Professions, School of Graduate Studies and School of Medicine. Dr. Tinsley is an APTA Board Certified Neurologic Physical Therapist and has presented nationally at APTA conferences as well as numerous continuing education seminars on the topic of pharmacology and rehabilitation. She currently serves as Chair of the Stroke SIG, Neurology Section, APTA. She has an active clinical practice in the area of neurological rehabilitation as well as an active clinical research agenda. 

Marie Vazquez Morgan, Ph.D, PT, has been serving as an assistant professor at LSUHSC, Shreveport in the PT department since 1997, where she also spent several years as a clinical instructor and staff physical therapist. Marie holds a PhD in Health Studies from Texas Women's University as well as a Masters of Health Sciences from the Louisiana State University Health Science Center.  Marie’s recent publications include 'Wellness with Spinal Cord Injury: Impact of an Outpatient Ambulation Program’ with Suzanne Tinsley, and “Wellness With Spinal Cord Injury: Can Osteoperosis Be Improved Through Orthotic Driven Ambulation”. She currently holds a seat on the Curriculum Committee of the LSUHSC School of Allied Health Professions and on the Board of Directors fro the Independence Regained Rehabilitation Hospital in Shreveport, LA. 

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.