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Clinical decision making & Diagnosis in physical therapy: Course Outline

The Clinical decision making & Diagnosis in physical therapy course is designed to teach the students about decision making processes that are used in clinical practice.

Course Objectives

  • To introduce the students about the concept and process of differential diagnosis in physical therapy.

  • To enhance the capability of the students to thoroughly review of the different system for proper diagnosis.

  • To enhance the knowledge and skills of the students for interpretation and understanding of the referred, visceral pain and the musculoskeletal and neurological conditions.

  • To enhance the knowledge and skills of the students for differential diagnosis and the scope of physiotherapy practice and referral issues.

Course Outline


 Introduction of the participants, course overview and the importance of differential diagnosis in physical therapy.

 2. Introduction to differential screening in physical therapy.

  • Case Examples (a, b, c)

  • Physical Therapy Diagnosis (Historical Perspective)

  • Classification System

  • Scope of Practice

  • Decision-Making Process (Client History, pain patterns/Pain Types, associated signs and symptoms of systemic diseases and systemic review)

  • Physician Referral

  • Practice Questions.

  • 3 Introduction to the interviewing process.

  • Interviewing Techniques (Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Questions, Follow-up Questions and Paraphrasing Technique)
  • Interviewing Tools; a) Subjective Examination (Family/Personal History, Core Interview). b) Hospital Information (Medical Chart)
  • c) Objective Examination (Physical Therapy Evaluation & Assessment)
  • Physician Referral
  • Practice Questions

    4. Overview of Cardiovascular Signs & Symptoms.

  • Signs & Symptoms of cardiovascular disease.
  • Cardiac Pathophysiology.
  • Cardiovascular disorders.
  • Laboratory Values
  • Effects of cardiovascular medication
  • Physician referral.
  • Practice Questions.
  • .

Course Outline

5. Overview of pulmonary signs & symptoms.

  • Pulmonary pain patterns.
  • Pulmonary physiology.
  • Pulmonary Pathophysiology.
  • Neoplastic disease.
  • Genetic disease of the lung.
  • Occupational lung disease.
  • Pleura pulmonary disorders
  • Physician referral
  • Practice questions.
  • 6 Overview of Hematological signs and symptoms.
  • Classification of blood disorders. (Erythrocyte disorders, leukocyte disorders, platelet disorders and coagulation disorders).
  • Systemic signs & symptoms.
  • Physician referral.
  • Practice questions.
  • 7. Overview of Gastrointestinal signs & symptoms.

  • Gastrointestinal Organ symptoms.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Gastrointestinal complication of NSAIDs.
  • Diverticular disease.
  • Appendicitis, pancreatitis, pancreatic carcinoma, and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, colorectal cancer.
  • Physician referral.
  • Practice question
  • 8.Overview of renal & urologic signs & symptoms.
  • Urinary Tract
  • Renal and urologic pain
  • Renal and urinary tract problems.
  • Diagnostic testing.
  • Physician referral.
  • Practice question