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The Neurocentric Approach - Upper Quarter


Sep 23-24, 2023




Using best evidence practices, the NCA assessment considers the role of distressed neurology at all levels of tissue organization. This is vastly different from the much less useful standard testing for numbness/tingling/weakness, etc.


Findings of the neural assessment drive the application of education, manual therapy and exercise to reduce the threat to distressed neurology. By using the Neurocentric Approach, observed myofascial and joint “dysfunction” syndromes are often quickly correctable once a neurological threat is removed. In athletes, this may be the difference between returning to training today vs. 6 weeks.


After removal of painful threat, pain-free movement is possible and allows the patient to engage in the best medicine...exercise. “Motion is lotion!”


After years of practice and study with leading researchers in manual therapy and rehabilitation exercise, Dr. Phillip Snell began blending multiple systems into a coordinated approach which prioritized assessment and treatment of neurological distress and threat.

Working in tandem with Dr. Justin Dean, they refined and honed the Neurocentric Approach by blending research from multiple medical specialties.

To date, there are no other systems of physical medicine and rehabilitation that combine BOTH manual therapy AND rehabilitation exercise. The Neurocentric Approach (NCA) is unique in allowing clinicians an easy-to-learn, easy-to-apply system to speed care and improve outcomes.

NCA gets to the root of the pain and movement problem and uses a clinical audit process so that both doctor and patient know whether the therapy is effective within the treatment. This improves compliance with home care and establishes a “locus of control” as patients learn how to manage their own condition effectively.


The NeuroCentric Approach (NCA) challenges the thoughtful clinician to reconsider chronic pain and many musculoskeletal "syndromes" through a different lens. When the systemic, local and mechanical health and behavior of neural tissues are thoroughly assessed, commonly a new avenue of beneficial intervention is apparent. With NCA, we prioritize the patient's ability to take part in the discovery, in the short term pain management and in the long term functional improvement to truly bring healing to conditions previously thought to be untreatable.

In this 12 hour, upper quarter course, headache, neck pain, upper back pain, shoulder/elbow/wrist and hand pain will be considered and explored in a fun, informative and engaging clinical vignette and grand rounds environment. This approach assures that participants can return home with a new set of readily available skills to tackle their most challenging cases.

This course is a lecture/lab course. Please wear comfortable clothing you are able to move freely in. Exercise apparel is encouraged. Local participants are encouraged to bring treatment tables.


This course is for licensed physical therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, naturopaths, acupuncturists, osteopaths, etc.

Prior exposure to the work of rehab pioneers such as Robin McKenzie, Stuart McGill, Gray Cook, Greg Rose, Pavel Kolar, David Butler and Michael Shacklock is strongly encouraged but is not a prerequisite to attendance.

By the end of this 12 hour course, attendees will be expected to understand and appreciate the following concepts in regards to upper body conditions:

1. Recognize the importance of thorough neurological assessment which includes the mechanical behavior of neurological structures.

2. Learn to work within the Graded Neurological Exam to determine which neural compartments are most affected for the presenting patient.

3. Recognize the continuum of neuralgia>muscle hypertonicity>altered arthrokinematics>joint pathology.

4. Consider the best-practice application of current pain science and mind-body research as part of a holistic NMS program.

5. Possess familiarity with specific exercise interventions to manage pain.

6. Take part in assessment and treatment plan development on patient cases.

7. Possess a base level of understanding of common rehab and exercise science principles for application in clinical practice.

8. Appreciate and evaluate the effects of stress, diet, exercise, and sleep on biochemistry associated with pain.

9. Appreciate the effects of trauma exposure to common pain conditions and clues to identify and appropriately refer these patients.

10. Understand how and when to appropriately assist in co-management of trauma patients.

11. Have a base level understanding of current technology to help patients track the effect of stress, sleep and lifestyle on heart rate variability (HRV).

12. Develop an understanding of sympathetic/parasympathetic imbalance in pain conditions and ways to mediate the ANS toward balance

13. Identify and address dysfunction of central, peripheral and superficial neural structures.

Dr Justin Dean

Dr. Justin Dean has a clinical practice in Los Angeles, CA where he helps many of the best-known celebrities in the entertainment industry. He has worked as a clinician with the Chinese National Team in track and field as well as with many standouts in Olympic weight lifting, and soccer.

Dr Phillip Snell

Dr. Phillip Snell holds an adjunct faculty position at the University of Western States and has a clinical chiropractic practice in Portland, OR. He lectures internationally to other medical providers on the use of exercise interventions and manual therapy in the treatment of lumbar disc herniation.

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The Neurocentric Approach

Upper Quarter


Sep 23-24, 2023


8:00- 5:00 (subject to change)
Location: Greater Vancouver, BC (Venue TBD)



Complete NCA Upper Quarter or NCA Lower Quarter


Complete remaining NCA Course (Upper or Lower)


Complete the online proficiency test with >80% correct answers.


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