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Justifiable Aquatic Therapy for the Shoulder, Neck & Thoracic Spine
Taught By: Kim Gordon, MPT

May 18-19, 2012
Boston (Framingham), MA



A 16 hr. training module packed into 2 days. Includes over 10 hours of hands-on pool + land labs.

How many times have you looked at your neck and shoulder patients and not known what else to do for -- or to --  them? Should you move them to deeper water? Bring out the mask and snorkel (Right! No one likes wet hair and racoon eyes!)? Or just discharge them to land?

Finally! Attend a class designed to provide evidence-based support for treating the shoulder, cervical and thoracic patient in water – then take to the water for 12 hours to practice these techniques.

This class will focus exclusively on the shoulder complex and upper spine and it will examine recent research which supports aquatic therapy for this population. Even better? On Monday morning, be prepared to make a compelling argument for incorporating aquatic therapy into many post-surgical shoulder protocols where you have heretofore feared to tread!


Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

Make a 3 minute verbal “case” for providing aquatic therapy services for a shoulder or neck dysfunction patient, including an appropriate plan for returning patient to land-based exercise and function. Be able to identify and locate supportive research to bolster case (lecture)

Match 2-3 mock patient scenarios with the specific aquatic postural correction and/or cervical spinal stabilization techniques that are most appropriate (lab)

Progress a specific aquatic task (such as shoulder strengthening) from a lower level of function towards increased independence. Demonstrate skilled use of verbal and tactile cueing to engage patient participation (lab)

Integrate aquatic-based interventions into 3 common post-operative shoulder protocols. Choose and progress exercises, stretches and functional tasks which match the phases of rehab and will not injure healing tissues or delay rehab (lab)

Demonstrate 1-2 aquatic tasks or activities from each of the following specialty techniques (as each relates to the shoulder/neck client): modified weight bearing, scapular and spinal stabilization, Ai Chi, Functional skills training; Progressive resistive exercise; Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF); aquatic manual therapy and stretching, and Salzman’s Aquatic Blanket Drills (ABDs). (lab)

Working with a partner, design and implement a 15-minute aquatic treatment plan (including equipment selection) for 1-2 of the following:

  • Frozen shoulder
  • Rotator cuff tear (conservative management)
  • S/p shoulder rotator cuff surgery
  • S/p shoulder stabilization surgery
  • Acute and chronic cervical spine dysfunction  (lab)

Describe why aquatic therapy may be the treatment of choice if (a) the patient is in pain or experiencing muscle spasm, (b) the therapist cannot adequately access the patient’s body on land, (c) the patient is unable to exercise in a gravity-dominant environment; (d) the patient is in the early or mid phases of rehab after shoulder or neck surgery (lecture)

Demonstrate correct procedure for Tegaderm application over recent shoulder surgical incision. Verbalize the appropriate timeline for immersion s/p surgery (lecture/land lab)

List 4 primary muscle groups involved in cervical spinal stabilization.

Discuss local vs. global muscle function and control as it pertains to cervical spinal stabilization.

Describe 3 common postural deviations and muscle firing patterns found in individuals with chronic neck pain (lecture)

Recite 3-4 aquatic precautions and contraindications specific to the headache, neck pain and shoulder dysfunction patient (lecture)

Document medical necessity for aquatic therapy and locate what payers (including Medicare) have to say about its use for the shoulder and neck dysfunction patient (lecture)

Find out more!

View all 2012 classes

ATU Schedule

8:00-11:30 Lecture/ Land labs
11:30-12:15 Lunch
12:15-2:45 Pool lab
2:45-3:00 Energy Break
3:00-5:30 Pool lab

8:00-11:30 Lecture/ Land labs
11:30-12:15 Lunch
12:15-2:45 Pool lab
2:45-3:00 Energy Break
3:00-5:30 Pool lab

Aquatic therapy seminars and trainings

Schedule Changes
Due to unforeseen circumstances or events, ATU schedules, instructors
or venues are subject to change without notice.

Cancellation Policy
The final date for refunds (minus $175 reseating fee) for cancellations by students is 3 wks before class start date. No refunds given for cancellations after this date.

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PH: (800) 680-8624
FAX: (888) 514-6133


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