This weekend I attended the SMT-1: High-Velocity Low-Amplitude Thrust Manipulation in Atlanta, Ga. It was taught by Dr. Noah Zacharko.
Most people know that spinal manipulation is a polarizing topic in the field of physical therapy. Some clinicians build their practice off of it and others believe it is simply a trick based primarily on the placebo effect.
I believe exercise and patient empowerment should always be the main focus during any patient’s plan of care. However, I also believe modalities such as manipulation, dry needling, etc can be used appropriately to decrease pain and allow the patient to move more effectively.
With all of that out of the way, I’d like to outline some of the things about the course I particularly enjoyed.
Note: This post is simply a review of the course experience. Not my opinions about the research, techniques, etc.
The course itself was two full days of lecture/lab, accumulating a total of 15 contact hours. The course cost was $625. You can view more about the course by clicking here.
Seriously. Easily the best snacks from any con ed course I’ve attended. Freaking fruit snacks, Starbucks iced coffee drinks, full-size candy bars. You can’t beat that. I didn’t even need lunch.
The course instructor was very passionate and knowledgeable
Dr. Zacharko is very passionate about representing the field of physical therapy. I appreciate it when another clinician takes effort to represent the field.
Additionally, the instructor was very knowledgeable about different research studies, countering arguments, and clinical applications of all discussed.
The ratio of lecture/lab time
I felt like the course was adequately divided up so that we wouldn’t get especially burned out at either lecture or lab before switching to the other.
The Spinal Manipulation Institute also sent us an email about a week prior to the course with instructions and several studies to read through prior to attending the course. I didn’t read each article all the way through but skimming them definitely helped to reinforce the material.
I’m very uncoordinated and I definitely appreciated the effort put forth in making the course manual to review my techniques after the course was over. There was a large manual covering the research, power point slides, and pictures/instructions of techniques.
Things I would have liked
Ways to follow-up
I think it would have been great to have some sort of way to follow-up with questions. However, with that being said, the course instructor encouraged us to email him directly with questions. I appreciate that. But I think that puts a lot of work on one individual (Dr. Z.). I think a private forum/Facebook group, for only those who have taken the course, could have been a great way to follow-up with clinicians more experienced with spinal manipulation.
Along this same idea, I wish there was some kind of video directory of these manipulation techniques, which would only be available to course participants, to allow for easier review. I understand that organizations like to avoid putting too much information online, to prevent pirating and so forth, but I believe this could have been managed somehow through password protection or something along those lines.
Overall, I really enjoyed SMT-1 and I would definitely attend another course from the Spinal Manipulation Institute.