Differential Diagnosis and Laboratory Analysis for Manual Therapists

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


The student will gain thorough knowledge about medical conditions that could be mistaken for musculoskeletal disorders, as well as gain knowledge in use of the most common laboratory examinations.


The course will cover central fields used as background information when practicing manual therapy, in the fields of neurology, rheumatology, use of medication, orthopedics, vertigo, pain psychology, internal medicine, oncology and urology.

An introduction to laboratory analyses and a review of the different laboratory tests related to clinics, focusing on the most common analyses and tests used in primary clinics are given. Various laboratory tests are accounted for (what kind, why, default values, deviations etc.).

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

* has thorough knowledge and insight in pathology related to musculoskeletal disorders, including current differential diagnoses in this category, as well as insight in diagnostic tools as e.g. laboratory analyses

* has insight in systemic conditions that may cause musculoskeletal pain

* is familiar with relevant laboratory tests and their discriminating ability related to serious diseases.

* has basic knowledge in the field of laboratory analyses related to clinical use


The student

* can interpret signs and symptoms of underlying disease

* can if neccessary refer patients to hospital or specialist service

General competence:

The student

*Has knowledge of the most common diseases which can mimick signs of musculoskeletal disorders

*Has knowledge about the role and responsibility of being the primary point of musculaoskeletal care

Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Applicants must provide documents showing that they hold a bachelor's degree in physiotherapy or equivalent, and Norwegian authorization as a physiotherapist. In addition, they must submit documentation that they have begun or completed a master's degree program in manual therapy, which is not inferior in content and quality to the Clinical Master Program in Manual Therapy at University of Bergen.
Teaching and learning methods
The teaching in differential diagnostics and laboratory analyses are given as lectures, group work and self-study, and is related to clinical examples and conditions.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Compulsory attendance
Forms of Assessment
There is a 2 hours written exam with multiple choice questions at the end of the course. Achieving the grade Pass requires right answers to at least 60% of the questions.
Grading Scale
Grading scale is Passed / Fail
Reading List
Literature that composes the basis for the students, learning activity will be suggested.