This course is designed for physiotherapists who have some experience and knowledge of assessment and treatment of patients with primary symptoms of back and / or referred lower limb pain. Although my course Back Pain 101 is not a pre-requisite, it is recommended for recent graduates or undergraduates. 

Back Pain 201 opens the door for lumbar spine and pelvic diagnostics and treatment selection based on a broad perspective that includes pathoanatomy, neurophysiology and the psychosocial dimensions by teaching you the essentials of a comprehensive clinical history and physical examination. 

By the end of this course you will be able to confidently identify:

  1. Mechanical discogenic pain.
  2. Radicular syndromes.
  3. Spinal stenosis.
  4. Sacroiliac joint pain.
  5. Hip and buttock pain sources. 

Course Structure:

Chapter 1: History and Screening

  • Red Flags
  • Pain Drawings
  • Advanced Clinical History
  • Psychosocial Screening Questionnaires
  • Observations of Lateral Shift & 
  • Advanced Neurological Examination

Chapter 2: Centralisation & Directional Preference

  • The concept of Centralisation
  • Directional Preference
  • Implementing Repeated Movement Testing

Chapter 3: Non-Lumbar Pain Sources

  • Sacroiliac Joint Pain & Instability Assessment
  • Hip and Buttock Pain Assessment

Chapter 4: Putting It All Together

  • Efficient physical examination sequence
  • Utility of advanced assessment

Learning outcomes:

  1. Able to identify red flag indicators of serious spinal pathology.
  2. Understand and interpret pain drawings.
  3. Make appropriate use of pre-screening health, pain, disability, sensitisation and psychosocial questionnaires.  
  4. Complete a detailed neurologic screening examination to identify radicular pain and radiculopathy.
  5. Understand the history and concepts of the centralisation and directional preference phenomena.
  6. Able to conduct a repeated movement / mechanical loading assessment to identify the subcategory for patients whose symptoms show directional preference or centralized.
  7. Able to carry out reliable and validated sacroiliac joint pain provocations tests and understand interpretation of patient responses.
  8. Able to carry out a standard orthopaedic medicine assessment for painful disorders of the hip and buttock structures.
  9. Implement a practical sequence of assessment and testing that is efficient and practical within normal clinical settings.
  10. Use clinical reasoning to interpret the clinical data derived from the advanced assessment.

Study time: 10 hours approximately + self directed reading

This course builds on Back Pain 101,  providing a structured assessment method that will be further expanded upon in the Back Pain 300 series.

Course curriculum

    1. Where did you hear about this course?

    2. Course Introduction from Mark Laslett

    3. About Mark Laslett

    4. Course Manual

    1. References for Chapter 1

    2. Using Questionnaires

    3. Quick Q & A Link

    4. Pain Drawings

    5. Pain Drawing Quiz

    6. Red Flags

    7. Red Flag Quiz

    8. Advanced Clinical History

    9. Select Questionnaire System

    10. Notes of the Clinical History

    11. Observations

    12. Observations quiz

    13. Neurologic Screening Examination

    14. Neurologic Screening examination quiz

    1. References for Chapter 2

    2. Centralisation: The Concept

    3. The Test Movements: Extension

    4. The Test Movements: Flexion

    5. The Test Movements: The Lateral Component

    6. Practical Implementation

    7. Centralization: A Case Study

    8. Directional Preference

    9. Case Study: Directional Preference to Extension

    10. Case Study: Directional Preference to Flexion

    11. Directional Preference to Side Gliding and Asymmetrical Extension

    12. Chapter 2 Quiz. Centralisation & Directional Preference

    1. References for Chapter 3

    2. Sacroiliac Joint Assessment

    3. SIJ testing: Pressure Variations

    4. Hip Joint & Buttock Testing

    5. Chapter 3 Quiz. Sacroiliac, Hip Joint & Buttock

    1. References for Chapter 4

    2. Notes of the Physical Examination

    3. The Physical Examination Sequence

    4. Physical Examination Quiz - assessment of Tom

    5. Putting the pieces together

    6. Using the Advanced Assessment

    7. Self-Directed Reading Documentation

    8. More Resources and Suggestions

    9. Before You go...Course Evaluation

About this course

  • $249.00
  • 44 lessons
  • 8 hours of video content


Instructor Dr Mark Laslett


Physiotherapy Specialist Musculoskeletal

Mark has over 50 years of clinical experience in musculoskeletal practice. He completed his PhD in “Diagnostic accuracy of the clinical examination compared to available reference standards in chronic low back pain patients” at the University of Linköping, Sweden in 2001 and in 2014 he became the first Specialist Physiotherapist registered in New Zealand.

His academic and research interest is in the theory and practice of diagnostics, has over 40 publications, contributed chapters to two multi-author books and published his own text Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy: The Upper Limb in 1996.

He became a Fellow of the New Zealand College of Physiotherapy in 2007, was made an honorary Life Member of Physiotherapy New Zealand in September 2014, and of the New Zealand Manipulative Physiotherapists Association in 2015.

He continues to practice as a consultant clinician in Christchurch, NZ and remains active in clinical research.

More info about Mark Laslett:

Mark’s publications: