Meeting with Craig Liebenson

This post is long overdue, as I wanted to recount my time spent with Dr. Craig Liebenson @ his LA Sport and Spine when I was in LA a week and a half ago.

Often we hear many mentor-types suggest also go out and see people, watch other coaches coach, find someone you want to be like and do whatever they do. This is just a world of truth. I am priveleged to travel a lot with education and Vibraflex, so whenever I go somewhere, I try to not only meet up with colleagues but also friends that maybe I haven’t seen in some time. Connecting with someone for a brief breakfast can wipe out a decade of incommunicado.
But particulalrly in visiting clinical colleagues and friends, it is a very potent tool in learning, networking, and positive mind frames.

So while I run the risk of sounding like an ass kisser, the fact of the matter is that there are superstars in our field, and Craig Liebenson is one of them. For some time, I’ve known the name and read some publications, but we recently began communicating more regulalrly when I signed up his Kolar course back in the summer. I also set him up with Joe Heiler to get some stuff on

Anyway, he was a gracious host as I spent a good 3 hrs when I got in. He practices almost right out of his textbook which is refreshing since I don’t think all pundits actually really do what they publish or say they do. I watched many Lewitt mobilizations that I do not know how to do as well as DNS from someone far more experienced than I.

It should be comforting to many to know that there are legit chiros out there that don’t manipulate everyone that walks in the door. Patients were there 30-40 minutes plus going through the Janda-manual therapy stuff, soft tissue work, and exercise. There ARE people out there that do this stuff.

Very cool was that someone had sent him copies of the SFMA breakouts, which he thought were very complicated. I would agree if you were looking at them out of context and not knowing the system. I don’t think he’ll be using the SFMA any time soon, but I think the flowcharts were a friendlier read after I explained.
Something very key though is that just like Gray, Dr. Liebenson has a painful evaluation and a non-painful evaluation. He scores the non-painful one with the 0-3 scale like the FMS.
There are always more fundamental similarities than differences in great systems.

After a while as we got more comfortable, we found out that we share MANY of the same beliefs and critical evaluations of prominent systems. Let’s just say we agreed on a lot. It was a tremendous ego boost to hear one of the leaders in our profession as equally staunch on some of the same things we often bark about.

Go out and visit and meet people.
Aside from major league sports situations, good people will always welcome you in to watch.
The best part is that instead of learning new things, you may have the confirmation that you were doing things right all along.

  • May 19, 2010

Leave a Reply 2 comments

Jeff Cubos Reply

Fully agree with you. In fact, I recently sat down with Patrick Ward while in Arizona to talk shop.

As a chiro, myself, I find that I am frequently having to explain that there ARE some of us who actually have more than one tool in our toolbox. That said, as some of us were discussing on a social media outlet the other night, the problem lies in not knowing when to use each particular tool as far too many professionals spend more time learning techniques than actually enhancing their diagnostic ability.

Regardless, I am in full agreement that any chance you get, always try to find time to talk shop with your “colleagues”. Reply

It was equally my pleasure to spend time with you. Learning is a 2 way street & I use many of the FMS screens such as OH squat & lunge. If I am picking just 7 tests though I cannot leave off 1 leg stance balance (EO/EC) or a breathing evaluation. What you include in your screen is very individual.

I look forward to seeing you again – maybe in Seattle or at API.

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