Units of the PSP Certification Program™


Unit 1 – Fundamentals of Primary Spine Care


Unit 2 – The Lumbar Spine


Unit 3 – The Cervical Spine


Unit 4 – Clinical Management and Final Proficiency Exam


Prospective Students:

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What topics are covered in each PSP Unit?

The program consists of two components for each of five didactic units. The online educational modules provide most of the foundational and background information needed to optimize the experiential nature of the live workshops.


Breakdown of Units:

All program enrollees must view the online modules and pass each associated quiz PRIOR to attending the live workshop. Additionally, each unit of the PSP Program must be taken in sequential order.

Continuing education credits are available for each of the PSP Live Workshops for those that register for certification.


What are the Learning Objectives of the PSP?

  1. Understanding of the present state of health care in general and spine care in particular, with an appreciation for patient centered care, relationship centered care and value based care
  2. Understanding of the role that the PSP is to play in the present and future health care system
  3. Understanding of the biological, psychological and social factors that contribute to the spine pain experience
  4. Ability to differentially diagnose spine related disorders considering all the possible biological (including pathology), psychological and social contributing factors
  5. Understanding of and the ability to appropriately order and interpret diagnostic tests
  6. Understanding of the importance of language and communication in patient interaction and ability to apply a communication style that is empowering and that promotes self-efficacy
  7. Ability to provide clear, evidence based explanations to patients as to what is causing their suffering
  8. Understanding of and ability to apply an evidence-based management strategy for patients with spine related disorders, utilizing the most appropriate treatment procedures and care delivery personnel
  9. Understanding the role that medications, injections and surgery play in the larger picture of spine care
  10. Ability to identify indications for medication, injection or surgical intervention, to coordinate referral for these interventions, and to follow the patient following these interventions
  11. Ability to coordinate the activities of a variety of clinical personnel and to serve as “Captain of the Spine Care Team”
  12. Ability to manage disability, including motivating and coordinating return to work and providing opinions regarding work capabilities
  13. Ability to make clinical decisions regarding referral and follow up in patients who may require intensive interventions (interdisciplinary rehab)
  14. Understanding of and ability to apply the principles of evidence-based practice

Updated | 04.24.2020

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Questions regarding the program:

Michael Timko, PT, MS
Fellow American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy
Certified Primary Spine Practitioner (PSP)
he/him

Department of Physical Therapy
University of Pittsburgh
Bridgeside Point 1
100 Technology Drive Suite 228
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
P: (412) 383-4509
  mtimko@pitt.edu

Questions regarding program registration:

Clarice Rutledge
Post-Professional Education Administrator
ADaPT Administrator
she/her

Department of Physical Therapy
University of Pittsburgh
Bridgeside Point 1
100 Technology Drive Suite 210
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
P: (412) 383-4509



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