Introduction to Movement System Impairment Syndromes of the Lumbar Spine

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Tired of patients coming back with the same pain?

You may have all the tools in your toolbox already.  But how do you know which ones to use?  Despite performing a specific technique flawlessly, the patient's pain returns after a while.  Movement System Impairment (MSI) Syndromes courses are for you if you want to understand the underlying problems of patients with musculoskeletal pain. 

If you understand the reasons why that patient is having pain, then the treatments will become crystal clear: because you're diagnosing their movement system problems.  Why did we go to school for a long time?  We are the experts in the human movement system.  Let's figure out why we learned all those basic sciences back when we were in school.  

If you're just starting out as a new physical therapist, let's get a good habit of constantly asking yourself the "WHY?" questions.  Introduction to MSI Syndromes of the Lumbar Spine will help you understand basic concepts such as path of least resistance, joint relative flexibility, muscle relative stiffness, and motor learning.

Focused on the lumbar spine 

Learn from the world-class instructors virtually from the comfort of your own home.  Study the systematic examination of the lower extremity and understand the Lumbar Spine Movement System diagnoses

What's included in the 

Introduction to Movement System Impairment Syndromes of the Lumbar Spine

2-day virtual course with pre-recorded videos

MSI Syndromes courses are specifically designed for physical therapists who want to take their professional to the next level, and become proficient in diagnosing the human movement system. 

  • Must study the pre-recorded lectures on MSI principles, lower quarter systematic examination videos, and lumbar spine demonstration videos (contents in the Lower Quarter Basics course).
  • 13 hours of live webinar
  • Breakout room (small group) interaction with virtual lab assistants to improve your postural and  movement analysis 
  • 3 months access to the recordings from the live lectures and demonstrations
Register for June!
Details for BUNDLE package
Group rate

Pre-Recorded Videos

In addition to the free 3.75 hour content for the introductory lecture and lower quarter / lumbar examination videos, you are getting additional 1 hour lecture on the upper and lower abdominals before even attending the live webinar in June!

World-Class Instructors

You are learning from physical therapists who have been developing the MSI Syndromes framework for decades, and the instructors trusted by the core faculty.

Back to the Basic

Why do people move the way they do?  Body takes the path of least resistance.  How?  You will understand the concepts of relative flexibility, relative stiffness, and motor learning. 

1st Step of Your Growth

Once you have an appreciation of the kinesiopathologic model, you will want to apply the principles to other body parts: hip, knee, shoulder, etc.  Check out the BUNDLE package of MSI courses for 2023!

Virtual Perks

Skip the airport hassle, and save time & money on travels / hotel / meals by joining us from the comfort of your home!  There will be an interactive small group (breakout room) session for you to practice your postural and movement analysis.  And no one is blocking your view of the demonstration because everyone gets the front row seat! 

Learn and Review

Will you have access to the 2-day course recordings?  Of course!  In addition to the pre-recorded lectures, the live lectures and demonstrations (breakout room is NOT recorded) during the weekend will be recorded.  You have 3 months access to learn and review for deeper understanding of the movement system.

July webinar info
August webinar info
September webinar info

Course Description



June 10~11, 2023


9am ~ 5pm central time

The virtual introductory course consists of lectures and related research about movement system impairment (MSI) syndromes of the lumbar spine. Participants will be required to view a series of pre-recorded lectures describing the MSI concepts, principles, best available evidence, and the role of abdominals. During the course, the content of the lecture will be reviewed and applied to the lumbar spine. Specific syndromes of the lumbar spine will be described.  The systematic examination for lumbar movement system impairment syndrome is available to study prior to the course in the pre-recorded videos, and the specific tests will be demonstrated with live subjects during the course.  Systematic examination as well as the relationships of the specific test results to the diagnosis and treatment program will be described.  The role of the hip as a contributing factor to lumbar spine dysfunction will be discussed. Video demonstration of the examination of patients with low back pain will be presented. Participants will be able to interact with the presenters and participate in smaller breakout rooms to practice skills in examination and diagnosis.

Course Objectives:

After completing the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the kinesiopathological model, concepts and principles of movement system impairment syndromes.
  2. Describe the adaptations of muscle, nerve, and bone associated with repeated movements and sustained alignments.
  3. Describe the concepts of relative flexibility, relative stiffness, and motor learning as determinants of the path of least resistance which is associated with changes in precision of movement.
  4. Understand the importance of a systemic examination which includes specific tests and task analysis.
  5. Recognize impaired alignment and movement patterns of the lumbar spine.
  6. Identify the interaction of the hip and lumbar spine.
  7. Recognize movement system impairment syndromes associated with painful conditions of the lumbar spine.
  8. Be able to identify the contributing factors to the lumbar movement system impairment syndrome.
  9. Describe how the results of the examination guide the development of a treatment program with an emphasis on task performance.


Shirley Sahrmann, PT, PhD, FAPTA 

Dr. Sahrmann is professor emerita of physical therapy at Washington University in St. Louis. She received her BS degree in physical therapy, masters and PhD in neurobiology from Washington University, where she was a clinician and faculty member for 56 years. Her research interests were in disordered motor control and classification of musculoskeletal disorders. Dr. Sahrmann with her colleagues at Washington University has been a major promotor of the movement system and the development of movement related diagnostic categories to direct physical therapy treatment which formed the basis of her published books. She has lectured extensively nationally and internationally.

Nancy Bloom, PT, DPT, MSOT

Dr. Bloom is a professor of physical therapy and orthopaedic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine.  She received both her master’s degree in occupational therapy and her clinical doctorate in physical therapy from Washington University. She teaches in a wide variety of courses and treats multiple types of musculoskeletal problems. Nancy has taught numerous continuing education courses on the topic of Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement System Impairment Syndromes and has made several national and international presentations.

To view all of the speakers and virtual lab assistants, click here!

Detailed Schedule

Click below to download the 2-day live virtual schedule.  Over 13 hours of intensive learning with the pioneers of MSI!

Download Schedule

Recommended Reading:

  •  Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes by Shirley Sahrmann
  • Muscles: Testing and Function, with Posture and Pain by Florence Peterson Kendall and Elizabeth Kendall McCreary (5th edition)
  • Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System: Foundation for Rehabilitation by Donald Neumann


Required preparation:

All participants of this course will be expected to study the Lower Quarter Basics (free course) and the pre-recorded upper and lower abdominals lectures in the course page prior to attending the live event on 6/10/2023.


Keep up to date and receive a FREE COURSE!

The Lower Quarter Basics course is a PREREQUISITE for the Intro to MSI Syndromes of the Lumbar Spine virtual course. Make sure to sign up for a free monthly newsletter to stay in touch.  Be the first to know when registration opens up for the normally sold out MSI courses!  When you subscribe, you will automatically have full access to both the Lower and Upper Quarter Basics online courses.  Be sure to check your junk / spam box immediately after, so you can access the course content.

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You're getting so much value from this 2-day virtual course!

We are applying for CEU's through the California PT Association for at least 1.3 CEU's (13 hours) for this 2 day course.    



  • Study the Lower Quarter Basics course and Abdominals pre-recorded lecture
  • Live webinar with lectures, live demonstrations on painful subjects
  • Access to the 2-day recordings of lecture / demo for 3 months
  • Save money and time with virtual course
  • Ask your questions during the live webinar hours
  • Front row seats for the live demonstrations!
Secure your spot NOW!

Bundle Package


Only for Physical Therapists!

  • Introduction to Movement System Impairment Syndromes of the Lumbar Spine

  • 7/18/2023: Evidence for MSI, 1.5 hour Zoom webinar with Dr. Shirley Sahrmann

  • 8/15/2023: Lumbar MSI case study #1, 1.5 hour Zoom webinar with Dr. Nancy Bloom & Dr. Shirley Sahrmann

  • 9/19/2023: Lumbar MSI case study #2, 1.5 hour Zoom webinar with Dr. Nancy Bloom & Dr. Shirley Sahrmann

  • 9/30 ~ 10/1/2023.  Advanced MSI: femoral and hip syndromes (potentially knee syndromes).  You have the choice of participating in the advanced course virtually or onsite in St. Louis.
  •  We are considering the above courses AND the additional practical exam day 10/2/2023 to be a part of certification.

Find out details for BUNDLE package!


Best Value!

  • Bring two or more of your colleagues to join you in June, and get $50 off per person (GROUP RATE will be applied for 3 or more in a group)
  • Specific coupon code will be created for YOUR group
  • Please send inquiry to [email protected] to get your coupon code!
  • Bundle package is already at a discounted price, so there is no group rate for the bundle.

Summer Webinar #1


7/18/2023, 6pm central time

  • Evidence for Movement System Impairment
  • 1.5 hour Zoom webinar with Dr. Shirley Sahrmann
  • MSI concepts are one of the most evidence based principles!  Dr. Sahrmann will simplify the evidence for you so you can be confident that what you do in the clinic is really effective.  
  • You will have a 2-week recording access if you cannot join us live.
Register for July webinar only

Summer Webinar #2


8/15/2023, 6pm central time

  • Lumbar MSI case study #1
  • 1.5 hour Zoom webinar with Dr. Nancy Bloom & Dr. Shirley Sahrmann
  • An individual with low back pain can present in different patterns.  We will go deep dive into a specific lumbar MSI syndrome case. 
  • You will have a 2-week recording access if you cannot join us live.
Register for August webinar only

Summer Webinar #3


9/19/2023, 6pm central time

  • Lumbar MSI case study #2
  • 1.5 hour Zoom webinar with Dr. Suzy Cornbleet & Dr. Shirley Sahrmann
  • An individual with low back pain can present in different patterns.  We will go deep dive into a specific lumbar MSI syndrome case, which will be very different from the August case study. 
  • You will have a 2-week recording access if you cannot join us live.
Register for September webinar only