Cool continuing education course for PT’s on the SI joint

Hi, everyone!  Happy Monday.

I hope you found my series on how to find a good physical therapist useful.  I know it isn’t necessarily an issue all of you are currently struggling with.  However, it’s a question that’s come up so often in my emails from readers recently that I thought it would be good to put it out there.

For my next post, I want to share with you something I found kind of randomly, as I was browsing around in an Internet rabbit hole.

It’s an example of what I’ve been talking about in my posts about finding a good PT– a the type of continuing education course that would allow a physical therapist to develop a expertise in the SI joint.

Obviously, none of you (or me!) are in a position to sign up to take a course like this.  However, I like to share little tidbits with you so you have an idea of what is out there, and why some PT’s seem to be so much more knowledgeable than others.

The Maitland Technique

The particular course I wanted to share with you today uses an approach called the Maitland Technique.  I don’t have personal experience with it myself.  But I have definitely heard of it before, and I believe it’s pretty well-known and highly regarded.  I’m sharing it with you because I think it provides a good example of the kind of advanced training PT’s and other professionals can receive.   (I also think it looks interesting, so I want to make sure I remember it in the future!).

Maitland Technique is a form of manual therapy, which means “hands-on.”  A trained PT, athletic trainer, or doctor will use their hands to provide therapeutic touch and/or adjustments.

The official Maitland website says: “The technique allows a problem with the spine, for example, to be mobilised and treated locally and separately.  Manual techniques can also be used directly on joints such as the hip, knee and shoulder, allowing movement restrictions and pain to be positively influenced.”

The course

So here is the actual course I found: Maitland-Australian Physiotherapy Seminars: Sacroiliac Joint and Pelvis Seminar.

As you can see from the description, it’s open to:

  • physical therapists
  • physical therapy assistants
  • athletic trainers
  • MD’s
  • DO’s– that’s the abbrevation for Doctor of Osteopathy.  In the US, they can basically do the same things as traditional MD’s, yet historically their profession has placed emphasis on hands-on adjustments, or manual therapy.

In general, as patients we look for PT’s (or at least, I do).  But this gives you a sense of who is able to sign up for these courses.

For a while, I actually considered going into occupational therapy,rather than physical therapy.  But one of the reasons why I decided against it is that an occupational therapist wouldn’t be qualified to perform this sort of hands-on adjustment to the pelvis (and it wouldn’t be within her scope of practice anyway).   That’s just a little personal tidbit for you, about me!

As you can see, the course is two eight-hour days, with an expected 4.5 hours of home study as well.  The participants are asked to come wearing “lab clothes” which means wear comfortable clothes, because everyone will be trying out what they learn on each other.

The course goals (I’m going to copy and paste them here, with my notes)

  • Discuss and analyze the biomechanics and gross movement of the sacroiliac joint
  • Discuss and analyze the biomechanics of the pubic symphysis

So you can see how, as I always tell you, everything in the pelvis is connected!  No course on the SI joint would be complete if it didn’t also include the other major joint that makes up the pelvis, the pubic symphysis.

  • Identify and discuss the relationship between lumbar and pelvic stabilization processes

Along the same lines, lower back pain and SI joint dysfunction are so closely related, it can often be hard to tell the two apart.  (And often, people experience them simultaneously).

  • Outline an evidence-based examination process and be able to discuss and/or perform one

This means how would you actually examine and determine what was going on, when an actual patient came in to your office?  Evidence-based means the protocol you’re using is based on scientific research.

  • Identify and demonstrate at least two treatment methods that restore normal sacroiliac and joint pelvis dysfunction
  • Recognize and apply at least one muscle energy technique to realign the pelvis

So, this isn’t specifically a course about Muscle Energy Technique, but it’s included as it relates to the SI joint and pelvis.

  • Recognize and apply at least two special SIJ/pelvis tests with good diagnostic value

Because the SI joint is so complex, over recent decades people have tried to come up with lots of different ways to try to diagnose what’s going on there.  A lot of these involve the professional asking the patients to perform different motions, and using his or her hands to try to feel how the joints are moving.

Some of these diagnostic tests seem to work better than others, so today there is a movement towards trying to focus on the methods that are known to work well.  This is what “tests with good diagnostic value” means– it means the tests that are generally known to provide accurate information about what is happening in a person’s SI joints.

Okay… that’s all for now!

If you’re curious, you can go and read testimonials from the people who have taken the class, to see what they had to say.

I hope you found this post interesting!  I like to switch it up from time to time and remind you all that awareness is growing, and there are reasons to be hopeful!

If you liked this post, you might also be interested in this other cool course I found for PT’s: Evidence-Based Examination and Treatment of Pelvis, taught by Dr. Alexis Wright.

That’s all for now!  Happy researching!

Published by Christy Collins

Hi, I'm Christy! I'm a health coach who helps people overcome SI joint dysfunction and chronic pain.

2 thoughts on “Cool continuing education course for PT’s on the SI joint

    1. Hi Alex, glad you liked the post! No, I’m lucky that disc herniation never really seemed to be a factor for me.

      I did have lower back pain at times, but when that got really bad, my chiropractor was able to help with that. He said it was rotation of the lumbar vertebrae themselves, not a disc-specific problem. I did try talking to my PT about rotation of the lumbar vertebrae, but she was not familiar with the terms my chiropractor was using. That was one moment when I actually found chiropractic to be more helpful than physical therapy (I should probably write a post about this!).

      I do know from my experience shadowing as a pre-PT student that sometimes disc herniations can be present without causing any significant symptoms, And, with strengthening, they can go away without any other significant interventions. So technically speaking, it’s possible that I could have had a mild herniation at some point during this time, because I certainly did have pain in my lower back. But, if that was the case, all the strengthening (core strengthening, in particular) that I did for my SI joints must have resolved it, as well, because my lower back stabilized as my SI joints did.


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