A Rehab Professional's Guide to Pharmacology

Chad Hensel, PT, DPT, MHS, CSCS

Online Course

Includes all course content in digital format

Prerequisites Required
6 hours - Provided by Summit Professional Education



While pharmacology is a critical component in the medical model of patient management, it is also one of the weakest areas of learning in most education programs for rehabilitation professionals. Thus, rehab specialists, unfortunately, often do not have the necessary background knowledge to understand and compensate for the ways that different medications may be negatively affecting their clients' outcomes. Despite this, they are frequently asked to document and report on their patient's medications!

This essential one-day workshop will increase attendees' comfort level with working around medication effects by presenting key information on pharmacology. Lab time will include review of drug commercial effectiveness and medical chart reviews. This course will cover the more popular and commonly encountered pharmacologics in rehab settings, including pain and cardiac medications, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, and antibiotics as well as vitamin and mineral supplements in relation to this topic. Side effects that can affect rehabilitation through altered coordination, balance, cognition and swallowing will be specifically discussed, along with drug interaction risks. In addition, all attendees will receive a practical, quick-reference handout on pharmacology specifically developed for rehabilitation professionals. After completing this course, attendees will see improved results in their daily practice through their recognition of patients' medication effects and ready knowledge of ways to offset them.

*Hands on lab will be modified for Web based delivery formats into recorded demonstrations


  • NEW: Now including information about COVID-19 medications and vaccines!
  • What rehab professionals need to know about how common medications work in the body
  • Identify medication side effects and interactions for at least 10 commonly prescribed categories
  • How dietary supplements and certain medications can improve performance both physically and cognitively
  • Identify a drug class immediately upon seeing it
  • Ensure success in rehabilitation despite challenges created by medication effects

Learning Objectives

  1. Explain how medication side effects can adversely affect rehab outcomes and what you can do to compensate for them.
  2. Discuss examinations, red flags and therapeutic workarounds through in-depth case studies representative of multiple patient populations.
  3. Examine the physiology of drug absorption and utilization.
  4. Analyze popular medication categories and sports/dietary supplements and at least two adverse reactions for each with review of the evidence.
  5. Identify the age-defying supplements and critically examine research on their efficacy.

Course Content

A Rehab Professional's Guide to Pharmacology
SCORM Package
Next Steps
  1. The Landscape of Pharmacology
    • Drug class
    • Mechanism of action
    • Absorption
    • Half-life
    • Approved vs off-label use
    • The FDA's role in development, safety monitoring, and enforcing
    • What's in a name? Etiology of drug names
    • Introduction to case studies of various diagnoses
  2. Pharmacologic Physiology
    • Drug administration method review
    • Pros and cons of each administration route
    • Clearing meds from the system
  3. Common Medications and Side Effects by Category
    • Pain medications
      • Prescription and over the counter (OTC)
      • Steroids
    • Muscle relaxers
    • Cardiovascular and blood pressure medications
    • Respiratory medications
    • Antibiotics
    • Anti-fungals and anti-virals
    • Diabetes medications
    • Anti-Seizure medications
    • Dietary supplements and vitamins
    • Performance enhancing meds/supplements
    • Commercial effectiveness
    • Interactive Lab
  4. Effective Application to Rehabilitation Programs
    • Assessment of medication effects
    • Physical examination red flags
    • Identifying adverse effects experienced
    • Working around side effects
    • Medical chart reviews
    • Interactive Lab
  5. Special Considerations for Across the Lifespan
    • Discussion of examination, red flag identifiers, and resolution
      • Orthopedic case
      • Neurologic case
      • Pediatric case
      • Geriatric case
      • Arthritis case
      • Hypertension case
      • Oncology case
      • Fitness enthusiast case
      • Case Study

*Hands on lab will be modified for Web based delivery formats into recorded demonstrations

Chad Hensel, PT, DPT, MHS, CSCS, is a licensed, clinical physical therapist with over 25 years of experience in sports medicine, orthopedics, subacute, neurological, and work hardening. He obtained his master's in health science and Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees from the University of Indianapolis. Currently, he is the Director of the PTA Program and Associate Dean of Health at Marion Technical College in Marion, Ohio.

Dr. Hensel is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist from the NSCA and serves as a founding partner of Creed Supplements, LLC-a sports performance supplement company. He continues to practice clinically at OhioHealth Marion Medical Campus. Dr. Hensel has been presenting continuing education workshops for over ten years in both live and webinar formats. His clinical experience has been focused on outpatient orthopedics and sports medicine. Dr. Hensel is also certified as a Trigger Point Dry Needling practitioner. He is a member of the APTA Education Section and attends the Education Leadership Conference annually. He also serves on the wellness committee at his institution.


FINANCIAL: Chad Hensel is compensated by Summit as an instructor. He receives a salary both for his role as the Director of the PTA Program at Marion Technical College in Marion Ohio and also for clinical practice at OhioHealth Marion Medical Campus. He serves as a founding partner of Creed Supplements, LLC a sports performance supplement company for which he has ownership interest.

NONFINANCIAL: Chad Hensel is a member of the APTA Education Section.

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