Finding Dysfunction: A Master Clinician’s Approach to Finding the Cause of Patients' Pain

Course Description

This course highlights how master clinicians use straightforward and easy to apply concepts to treat their patients. These clinicians usually apply 1-2 simple frameworks or models over and over again to make them really good at this one thing: finding the source of patient's pain.

This course will give you a unique and systematic framework for assessing the body and finding the true cause, or driver, of a patient’s limitation of motion and/or symptoms. The major focus points of this approach are the muscle, joint, fascial, and compensatory barriers that a patient has in their system that are causing their pain. You'll learn to assess the body in such a way that you'll look beyond the pain area and find the dysfunctions causing the problem. This course will cover the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle, and foot, as well as look at spinal referred pain.

What people are saying!

Top Takeaways

  • Learn the JMFC framework and hypo-hyper compensation model, both in theory and on actual patient case studies.
  • Hear a ton of clinical pearls our instructor has learned throughout their career.
  • Learn why we choose to assess and treat in a specific order, and why the answer usually comes back to something anatomical that clinicians typically don't understand.

What makes this course great?

This course highlights the value of what we do as clinicians: know where to treat so we can diminish patients' pain and get their life back. Patients seek out certain therapists who have a great reputation for making a difference and these simple concepts and frameworks will help you develop that reputation.


Course Objectives

At the completion of this seminar, the participant will be able to:

  • Synthesize data from a clinical exam to develop a master-level approach to finding the root cause of upper and lower extremity pain
  • Identify 4 pathological barriers to motion which can contribute to peripheral joint pain
  • Apply the Joint-Muscle-Fascia-Compensation Framework to justify single and multiple dysfunctions that can contribute to peripheral joint pain
  • Devise 1-2 pain pathways for upper and lower extremity joints in all 3 planes of motion
  • Apply the Hypo-Hyper Compensation Model, and as outlined in the manual, and identify 4 ways in which this model contributes to the origin of peripheral joint pain
  • Accurately describe the significance of applying the Test-Treat-Retest concept and justify the use of 1-2 manual therapy techniques for each pathological barrier to motion
  • Explain 2 mechanisms by which mechanical pain is perceived in the brain
  • Interpret 3 key pieces of the patient's subjective history that give the clinician information by which to find dysfunction effectively and efficiently

Course Instructors

Kelly Poppaw


Kelly holds a Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from Grand Valley State University. Kelly received her Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University where she was a NCAA Division One athlete and Captain of the Women’s Soccer Team. As a Certified Integrated Manual Therapist, Kelly is credentialed through Great Lakes Seminars to assess mechanical dysfunction from a holistic perspective, and she is very comprehensive in her treatment approach. She uses a wide variety of manual therapy techniques, functional exercise, and patient education to provide people with an exceptionally high quality of care. She treats orthopedically across the entire age spectrum from birth to adult to geriatrics. Kelly created this course after working under Patrick Hoban for a number of years. She has a passion to teach clinicians how to think systematically; find the root of the patient’s problem on day-one, and eliminate the potential for misdiagnosis. Kelly is a Physical Therapist and Clinic Director at Probility Physical Therapy, a Trained Steward of the leadership methodology Intentional Energetic Presence (IEP) and uses her experience in these areas to create and sustain thriving businesses and cultures.

Kelly Poppaw

Course Outline



Doors Open


Lecture: Introduction, Overview of the Keys to Finding Dysfunction


Lecture: Key Concepts - Discussion on Mechanical Pain


Lecture and Lab: Key Concepts with Finding Joint Dysfunctions


Lunch (on your own)


Lecture and Lab: Key Concepts with Finding Muscle Dysfunctions


Review of Evidence-Based Literature for Today's Topic's


Review Questions and Self-Assessment





Doors Open


Lecture: Review Questions


Lecture and Lab: Key Concepts with Finding Fascial Dysfunctions


Lecture and Lab: Key Concepts with Finding Compensation Dysfunctions


Lunch (on your own)


Lecture: Applying the Join-Muscle-Fascia-Compensation (JMFC) Framework (identifying key dysfunctions in hip, knee, ankle, foot, shoulder, elbow, and wrist regions)


Lecture: Case Studies and Speed Thinking using Pain Algorithms


Questions, Post-Test, Course Evaluation



Course PDF

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