Episode 203 - Bob Robinson, part 1: The Local Spine Guy

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In episode 203 I'm joined by Dr Bob Robinson, a diplomat of MDT and fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists. He shares his story, those who've influenced his professional development, his clinic, how he serves his community and assists referring providers and more. This week on MCF!

Professional Background

Bob is the Vice-president of Craven Physical Therapy and Spine, in New Bern, NC. He is a Diplomat MDT and also a Fellow Orthopedic Manual therapist. He also is an adjunct instructor and helps with labs during the McKenzie courses. 

He completed his undergraduate degree in Buffalo, NY and continued on to receive his Masters degree in physical therapy at D'Youville College. In addition, Bob has earned a Doctorate in physical therapy from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.


Early exposure to MDT and the journey

Bob was introduced to MDT during his college years by Dr. Ron Schenk. During a semester Dr. Schenk and his colleagues introduced Bob and his classmates to the principles of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy. Bob also did an eight week internship in a Certified McKenzie clinic after which the seeds to pursue MDT certification were firmly planted. 

After graduating, Bob pursued a lot of different continuing education courses to plug in the holes of his education including Maitland and Cyriax and also wound care. But, after he took his part A with Gillman in late 90’s, there was no looking back, as he realized that the concept made a lot of sense and it was very succinct.After his Cert. MDT he took up a job in Savannah, Georgia and quickly developed a reputation in community as the “spine guy” due to his McKenzie credentials. To improve his success with the challenging and difficult patients he was consistently receiving in his practice, Bob decided to pursue the Diploma MDT program. 


Takeaway points from the Diploma program

Bob learned a lot during the program but what sticks out in his mind is how his instructors worked relentlessly to rule out the provisional diagnosis they had come to at the end of their history and assessment on day 1. He was impressed by his instructors discipline and thoroughness of applying the system to come to a diagnosis that was truly present in the patient and not what they thought it should be. Bob appreciates the importance of History taking and the purpose of each question that the McKenzie assessment has.


Work approach

Bob gives a lot of emphasis to history taking in his clinic. He believes that once you use the MDT assessment to classify and diagnose, you are already on the top of the game in mechanical therapy. He reaches out to the other systems of which he has an understanding with those patients that do not fit in any particular MDT classification criteria. He utilizes special tests as baselines during his assessment process that can be re-checked and also addressed using strengthening, stabilization, stretching interventions if he is unable to classify the patient using the MDT method. 


Private Practice

He started his clinic with his friend from college, Anthony Diamadi BHS, MSPT in New Bern, NC. Bob’s recommendations for those who are thinking of starting their own practice include: 

  • Have an established product that you are going to provide to the community.
  • Have the skills and also the knowledge of marketing, billing, coding before you venture out,
  • As for the community you are going to serve, look for the demographics, need, physical location, and proximity to other clinicians.


Bob recalls his initial conversation with the neurosurgeon Dr. Held who initially did not believe much in the current physical therapy that was being provided to his patients, but more into the discussion realized that Dr. Held wanted them to play the triage management role. After the start with Dr. Held, most doctors in town that work closely with Bob, work with the triage model. 


More information can be found at: http://www.cravenpt.com