This unit introduces students to clinical examination and osteopathic management, including manual techniques relevant to the cervical spine. Students will continue to develop history taking and communication skills specifically for spinal conditions. Students will be introduced to HVLA spinal manipulation of the cervical spine and the safety issues and procedures relevant for these techniques. Clinical reasoning continues to be developed in this unit with a focus on patient presentations affecting the head and cervical spine.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


HBS1204 - Clinical Skills 2 and

HBO2005 - Biomedical Science for Osteopathy 5

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an ability to ask key history taking questions related to the head and neck;  
  2. Exhibit and interpret a physical examination of the head and neck;  
  3. Interpret common medical tests and diagnostic imaging that may be used in diagnosis and management of conditions of the head and neck; and  
  4. Exhibit and explain osteopathic manual techniques and management strategies of the head and neck.  


The first quiz assesses fundamental knowledge about history taking, common conditions and medical tests for complaints of the head and neck. The second quiz assesses student knowledge of diagnostic imaging and treatment and management strategies. These assessments are scaffolded to the group presentation, which involves developing a rationale for assessment and treatment of a case complaint and to the Observed Performance in a Simulated Setting (OPSS) where students demonstrate their assessment and treatment skills based on a case vignette on a peer model.
Assessment type Description Grade
Test Online in-class Quiz (30mins) 15%
Test Online in-class Quiz (45 min) 20%
Presentation Group Presentation (15mins) 15%
Practicum Observed Performance in a Simulated Setting (OPSS) (30 minutes plus reading) (hurdle requirement) 50%
80% attendance is required at Clinical Skills classes, tutorials and workshops, which develop knowledge, competency and safety in practical clinical assessment and treatment skills. These requirements align with the VU Osteopathic Course documentation to AOAC.

Required reading

Manipulation of the spine, thorax and pelvis: An osteopathic perspective 4th ed
Gibbons, P., & Tehan, P. (2016)
Australia: Elsevier

RECOMMENDED TEXTS: Bickley, L. S. (2017) Bates' guide to physical examination and history taking. 12th ed. Philadelphia, US: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.Destefano, L (2017) Greenmans Principles of Manual Medicine 5th ed. Philadelphia, US: Lippincott Williams Wilkins. Magee, D (2014) Orthopedic Physical Assessment. 6th ed. St Louis, US: Elsevier.

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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