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2016 Level 2 Upper course, 1st weekend

This past weekend, I was in Vancouver helping out with a Level 2 Upper Course. I had helped with this course last year as well. This weekend was the second weekend of the four weekend course. The Level courses put on the by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association’s (CPA’s) Orthopaedic Division are quite intense and in depth course. The topics being covered this weekend were the shoulder and the elbow. This does not sound like much, however, the shoulder is a very complex joint. It is actually made up of four joints, the glenohumeral joint, the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, sternoclavicular (SC) joint and the scapulothoracic joint. The scapulothoracic joint is a difficult joint to access because it the shoulder blade suspended in muscles surrounding it! Then there is the elbow, we normally think of the joint as two bones, but there are three bones there and three different joints! But I digress. I will give you a quick summary of the days on this weekends course.

Friday we started off with a lot of theory behind all the different shoulder joints. It is a necessity to cover all the basic joint functions, shapes and how the different bones move, when they move. And how the joints glide during the different movements of the arm. It may sound simple but it is anything but. Sometimes the bones move in the opposite direction to what you think they should move simply because of how the different joints are shaped. It is really quite fascinating to me. It was probably a little overwhelming to the newer physiotherapists taking the course.

Saturday, here was another day, loaded with information about the shoulder. We covered stiff shoulder syndrome, which includes frozen shoulder, ligament testing, capsular tightness testing, rotator cuff testing and treatment for all of the above. The day was actually cut short by about 20 minutes or so, as the physiotherapists were finding it really hard to concentrate and take in all the information thrown at them that day.

Sunday, the final day of this weekend of the course. Again, a ton of information was given to the physiotherapists. We finished up with the shoulder with A/C joint stress testing, impingement testing and SLAP (superior labral anterior posterior) lesions. Just think about how much information was given to the physiotherapists about the shoulder. 6 hours Friday, 8 hours Saturday and 2 hours on Sunday. That is 16 hours. Normally a university course has 3 hours a week for 12 weeks, 36 hours. That is almost half of a university course on the shoulder in basically two days. Did I mention that the students are given a lot of information? The final 6 hours on Sunday were given to the elbow. This was too little time for the elbow, 3 different bones and 3 joints all found in one joint capsule. For a part of the body that most people think about when they have ‘tennis elbow’, there is a lot going on there. The physiotherapists on the course got a review of the anatomy around the elbow as well as the biomechanics (arthrokinematics, what happens at the joints, and osteokinematics, what happens to the bones) of the elbow movements. The physiotherapists all went through a thorough elbow assessment, talk on elbow pathology and different treatments for elbow issues.

In addition, I met a couple new physiotherapists that were instructing and assisting on the course. Leigh Negin, from Victoria, and Kendra Mulligan, from Comox, respectively. Kendra works at Ascent Physiotherapy, if you are on Vancouver Island in the Comox area, check her clinic out at They both seem to be great physiotherapists and would recommend people on Vancouver Island go to see them.

On the lighter side, I guess :), at the end of the course we cleaned up the plinth lab on the 3rd floor of the Friedman Building on UBC campus. Kendra quickly left to head to the airport for her flight back to Comox. I gathered my things and waited for Leigh and we headed off together. We walked down the stairs together said good-bye and went our separate ways. No more than 2 minutes later, I realized that I had forgot my lunch cooler in the room. It contained food I had brought down for the weekend, plastic containers for my salads/ veggies. I realized that I did not get Leigh’s phone number so I called Kendra. She did not have Leigh’s phone number either. I guess I just feel silly for forgetting something so important. I guess I will be calling the UBC Physiotherapy Office Monday morning to see if someone can go to the room, grab my cooler for the next weekend of the Level 2 Upper course, when I am back in Vancouver.

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