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Mark Laslett is a New Zealand Board Registered Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Specialist (NZRPS), based in Christchurch, New Zealand. He is a former manipulative therapy instructor for the New Zealand Manipulative Physiotherapists Association and AUT University, and a former international instructor for the McKenzie Institute International. He completed his PhD from Linköping University (Sweden) in 2005, which was based on his clinical research on the diagnostic accuracy of the clinical examination of patients with chronic low back pain. He has been a tutor in biostatistics and study design for AUT University, a supervisor for doctoral students undertaking diagnostic accuracy research and he remains an Adjunct Research Fellow for AUT University. Mark has about 40 scientific publications, many of which relate to diagnosis and management of low back pain. His book “Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy: The Upper Limb” was published in 1996 and is now out of print.

Mark was the first physiotherapist to be Board registered as a clinical specialist in New Zealand (2014). He is an honorary life member of the New Zealand Manipulative Therapists Association, Physiotherapy New Zealand, and the Swedish branch of the McKenzie Institute International.

Mark currently sees patients mostly with persistent spinal pain and is active as a triage consultant for the Canterbury Initiative Low Back Pain Health Pathway until 2020. In 2015 he co-founded “Southern Musculoskeletal Seminars” with Dr Angela Cadogan, and together they provide online structured education courses for clinicians on musculoskeletal diagnostics. His advanced 0online course “Diagnosis of Persistent Low Back & Referred Lower Extremity Pain” has been running since early 2016 and is now available in the French and Spanish languages. He has published new courses, "The Science of Diagnostic Accuracy", and a Case Study course in 2020. Later in 2020 he will publish a shorter course of the basics of back pain management for recent physiotherapy and medical practitioners. 


More Detailed Biography

After graduation as a physiotherapist in 1971, Mark owned and operated his own private practices in Auckland, New Zealand  from 1972-2001, including a specialist Spine Care Clinic (1991-1997). He completed the Diploma in Manipulative Therapy in 1976 (Dip.MT) and the Diploma in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy in 1991 (Dip.MDT). He is skilled in Orthopaedic Medicine (Cyriax), The Nordic system of manipulative therapy (Kaltenborn/Evjenth) and Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy (McKenzie).  Mark moved to Christchurch in 2005 and has practiced as an independent musculoskeletal consultant since then.


Mark was a manipulative therapy instructor for the spine and upper and lower extremities for the NZ Manipulative Physiotherapists Association 1980-1988 and was its president 1988-89. He commenced teaching mobilization and manipulation workshops for the McKenzie Institute as an international instructor in 1985 and added his own courses on the upper and lower extremities in 1990. Mark ceased active involvement in the McKenzie Institute in 1997. He has presented about 250 short courses in Scandinavia, Europe, North America and Australasia, and has presented at many international conferences with free papers and as plenium session and keynote presenter. In 2019 he has taught in France, Taiwan, Chile, Brazil and Argentina.


His academic and research interest is in the theory and practice of diagnostics as distinct from therapeutics. Mark commenced doctoral studies at the University of Linköping, Sweden, successfully defending his thesis “Diagnostic accuracy of the clinical examination compared to available reference standards in chronic low back pain patients” in 2005. He became a Fellow of the New Zealand College of Physiotherapy in 2007 (FNZCP) and served as a member of its Academic Board since 2008-2014. He was a senior Research Fellow for AUT University from 2008-2012 supervising doctoral and Master’s research projects until 2016. He became the first physiotherapist to be registered as a clinical specialist in February 2014 and was made an honorary Life Member of Physiotherapy New Zealand in September 2014, the New Zealand Manipulative Physiotherapists Association in 2015, and the Swedish branch of the McKenzie Institute in 2017. He continues to practice as a consultant clinician privately and in a triage role with the Canterbury Initiative’s Low Back Pain health Pathways. He remains active in clinical research and recently published, with Tom Petersen and Carsten Juhl the first multi issue systematic review of diagnostic studies for the lumbar spine in 2017. His most recent publications can be seen at and Clinical diagnosis of Sacroiliac Joint Pain 


Main areas of Interest

Painful musculoskeletal disorders of the spine and extremities with special emphasis on persistent low back, neck and shoulder pain. Musculoskeletal diagnostics (as distinct from therapeutics) remains an ongoing research interest, and he is working with Emergency Medicine physicians in Christchurch to improve the post-discharge management pathway for patients presenting to the Emergency Department of the Public Hospital.

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