Assessment & Exercise Interventions for the Flexion-Intolerant and Disc-Injured Low Back – Calgary 2019

DATE: May 4-5, 2019
9:00- 5:00 Sat + Sun
(early bird prices in effect until 3 weeks prior)


The Clinical Companion to

Course Description

Managing a lumbar disc injury in the clinic requires an understanding of the mechanics of flexion intolerance. This requires an approach that incorporates a functional toolbox, not just a structurally oriented viewpoint. Participants in this event will learn structural and functional assessment techniques to find the complaining disc before it produces neurological symptoms. Treatment strategies utilizing movement re-patterning exercises will help you teach patients to help themselves. Special attention will be paid to common exercises to avoid in the gym and rehab environment which frequently result in re-injury.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the seminar, the participant will be able to:

  • Recognize key elements of effective exercise interventions in managing lumbar disc injury
  • Appreciate major movement patterns contributing to ongoing peripheral nociception and the development of chronic pain, central sensitization and fear avoidant behavior
  • Recognizing the continuum of flexion related structural injury in the lumbar spine
  • Differentiating discriminating factors between the injured disc vs. other commonly presenting back injuries
  • Demonstrate ability to troubleshoot mixed presentations of flexion intolerance and extension intolerance
  • Develop effective treatment plans incorporating specific exercise interventions to manage pain associated with lumbar disc injury
  • Understand key elements of hip dissociation using Prague School and University of Waterloo derived principles
  • Demonstrate ability to integrate Joint by Joint Approach to improve mobility in the hip and T-sp to reduce load on the injured lumbar disc
  • Understand key safe ways to build strength in the recovering flexion-injured spine
  • Understand how to build agility in the injured spine to avoid re-injury with rapid movements
  • Understand when to add power exercise into the rehab programs for the injured lumbar disc
  • Appreciate varied sport specific considerations in rehab of the flexion-intolerant back
  • Discuss key epigenetic factors resulting in  histochemical changes associated with painful vs. non-painful herniated discs

Course Schedule


“I took this course over 3 years ago. It is still the blueprint for treating patients with low back pain of a discogenic origin. It has greatly formed my clinical thought process with this specific population. I’m confident treating the condition/presentation that I otherwise would have referred out.”–Porter Brown, DC, Thunder Bay, Ontario


“This course synthesizes the leading research in back pain treatment and rehabilitation into a highly effective and useful format that I could apply Monday morning.”–Steve Shirley, DC, Spokane, WA


“The Fix Your Own back course is a refreshing approach to a terribly misunderstood topic. I learned more in two days about flexion intolerance than I have in my entire coaching career, while enjoying every minute of it. It’s an excellent balance between an education seminar and an engaging hands on experience.There’s no doubt, Dr. Snell is an expert on the topic but more importantly, he’s able to impart his knowledge in clear, concise fashion. I left the course with a much better understanding of the topic, practical steps to take back to my clients and genuinely excited put it all into action. Highly recommended!”–Mike Panarella, Personal Trainer, Vancouver, BC

Your Instructors

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Your Instructor

Dr Phillip Snell

I’m Dr. Phillip Snell, chiropractic physician and creator/content manager of and In the past I’ve also helped teach graduate and post-graduate levels of classes in functional rehabilitation to students and doctors in the US and Canada. My clinical practice is in Portland, OR, and focuses on movement assessment/rehab, sports injuries, and myofascial pain.

Early in my career, an old spinal injury re-surfaced and periodically made my ability to perform my daily clinical work very difficult. In my training as a chiropractor, I had learned that spinal manipulation was one of the best tools available for managing back pain. Unfortunately, when my back pain flared, manipulation was only mildly helpful, and only for a short period of time. Frustrated, I searched for other treatment options as I was sure the world had little use for a supposed spine specialist who couldn’t manage his own back pain!

At this point, I came across some new research from a spine researcher/biomechanist named Stuart McGill. McGill’s name, now ubiquitous in spine research, was at that time relatively unknown. As I read his studies and applied his exercise research to my own condition, I found my own back pain steadily improved. Over the years, I continued adding to my toolbox studying with the icons in the world of spine rehab and developed a successful algorithm of treatment for the type of back pain that had plagued me. Indeed, I found that one of the most difficult types of back pain, those involving lumbar disc injury, responded incredibly well to this collection of “tools”. On many days, it was humbling as a manual therapist of sorts, to note that the most effective tools in my box were education and exercise instead of my hands. That’s when the idea for this site was born. represents the combined works of researchers like Robin McKenzie, PT; the aforementioned Stuart McGill, PhD; Craig Liebenson, DC; Gray Cook, PT, Vladimir Janda, MD; and Pavel Kolar, PT,PhD. It also reflects the exercise strategies used by the kettlebell communities and functional training movement, as well as the neurology research of Michael Shacklock, PT; David Butler, PT; and Lorimer Moseley, PhD. Over the years, I’ve found that some of the assessment tools that dictate progression of patients along a treatment plan are relatively easily self-administered. While in a perfect world, expert movement assessment would be available to all patients, I realized we don’t live in a perfect world. I decided that a site like might be helpful to those who don’t yet have an expert on their side to guide them.

Assessment & Exercise Interventions for the Flexion-Intolerant and Disc-Injured Low Back – Calgary 2019

DATE: May 4-5, 2019
9:00- 5:00 Sat + Sun
(early bird prices in effect until 3 weeks prior)