Institute Faculty

Dr. James Dunning
DPT, MSc Manip Ther, OCS, MTC, MCSP, MAACP (UK), FAAOMPT, MMACP (UK)

Director, AAMT Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy
Fellow, American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (USA)
Member, Manipulation Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (UK)
Member, Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (UK)

Dr. James Dunning is the President of Spinal Manipulation Institute and Dry Needling Institute of the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy. He is the owner of Alabama Physical Therapy & Acupuncture in Montgomery, Alabama.  Dr. Dunning specializes in spinal manipulation, western and traditional Chinese acupuncture, and trigger point dry needling for a variety of neuromusculoskeletal conditions.  Dr. Dunning graduated Magna Cum Laude and received a Bachelor of Science from Brigham Young University, a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of the Pacific, California and a post-graduate Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, Florida.  In addition, he received a post-graduate Master of Science in Advanced Manipulative Physiotherapy from the University of Birmingham, England, and has completed advanced training in osteopathic spinal manipulation and acupuncture through the London School of Osteopathy, British Medical Acupuncture Society, and Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (UK). 

Dr. Dunning is a Manipulative Physiotherapist, Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist, Certified Manual Therapist, Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists, Member of the Manipulation Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (England), and Member of the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (England).  He has completed original experimental research investigating the effects of cervical manipulation on the electromyographic activity of the upper limb muscles.

Dr. Dunning presented on the neurophysiological effects of C5-6 high-velocity low-amplitude thrust manipulation on the biceps brachii muscle at the 2007 American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT) Annual Conference in St. Louis.  This original experimental research entitled "The effects of cervical manipulation on the resting electromyographic activity of the biceps brachii muscle" by Dunning & Rushton (2009) is published in the international journal Manual Therapy 14 (2009) 508-513.

Dr. Dunning has a special interest in the use of acupuncture and spinal manipulation for the treatment of cervicogenic headaches, whiplash associated disorders of the cervicothoracic region, post-partum pelvic pain, sacroiliac joint dysfunctions, lumbar zygapophyseal joint dysfunctions, neurogenic cervicobrachial pain syndromes, craniofacial pain, and neuromyofascial pain syndromes.

In 2008, Dr. Dunning presented original experimental research on the effects of HVLA thrust manipulation on the electromyographic activity of upper limb muscles in Rotterdam, Netherlands at the 9th Congress of the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (IFOMPT).  Dr. Dunning was awarded the 2009 AAOMPT OPTP Research Grant for the study entitled, "Upper cervical and upper thoracic thrust manipulation versus nonthrust mobilization in patients with mechanical neck pain: a multi-center randomized clinical trial"--Dunning et al (2012) was published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. Recently, Dr. Dunning presented the findings of his latest study entitled, "Bilateral and multiple cavitation sounds during upper cervical thrust manipulation" at the 2012 IFOMPT Conference in Quebec, Canada. Dunning et al (2013) was just published in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders and can be downloaded as a full text PDF. Most recently, Dr. Dunning taught spinal manipulation workshops and presented original experimental research at the 2013 Italian Manual Therapy Conference in Tuscany, Italy. Dr. Dunning's most recent article titled, "Dry needling: a literature review with implications for clinical practice guidelines" was published in 2013 in the journal Physical Therapy Reviews. This literature review can be downloaded as a full text PDF here.

Dr. Raymond Butts
PhD, DPT, MSc (NeuroSci), Cert. SMT, Cert. DN

Faculty, AAMT Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy
Senior Instructor, Spinal Manipulation Institute & Dry Needling Institute

Certified in Spinal Manipulative Therapy & Certified in Dry Needling


Dr. Raymond Butts is the senior physical therapist at Palmetto Health Research Physical Therapy Specialists, Columbia, SC.  Dr. Butts has a special interest in the use of spinal manipulation and dry needling for the management chronic neuromusculoskeletal pain conditions. He graduated with honors from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Psychology and served as an Army officer in the Bosnia-Kosovo and Iraq conflicts.  Dr. Butts received a post-graduate Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Brain and Neuroscience Research from the University of Tubingen (Germany), where he investigated the central mediated aspects of chronic pain with magnetoencephalography and fMRI. In addition, Dr. Butts completed a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) and a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Motor Rehabilitation from the University of South Carolina. His PhD dissertation investigated the use of transcranial magnetic and direct current stimulation for dis-inhibition of the motor cortex and facilitation of plasticity-dependent, motor recovery. Dr. Butts is the recipient of the University of South Carolina Distinguished Graduate Award for his innovative research. 

Dr. Butts became Certified in Spinal Manipulative Therapy (Cert. SMT®) after successfully completing SMT-1, SMT-2, SMT-3, and SMT-4 of the Spinal Manipulation Institute HVLA Thrust Manipulation Series; additionally, he became Certified in Dry Needling (Cert. DN®) following successful completion of the DN-1 and DN-2 dry needling courses through Dry Needling Institute of the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy. Dr. Butts is a Senior Instructor for both Spinal Manipulation Institute and Dry Needling Institute for the following courses:

1.    SMT-1: High-Velocity Low-Amplitude Thrust Manipulation of the Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar & Sacroiliac Joints

2.    SMT-3: Lumbar & Sacroiliac Dysfunction: Diagnosis & Management with HVLA Thrust Manipulation & Exercise

3.    DN-1: Dry Needling for Craniofacial, Cervicothoracic & Upper Extremity Conditions: an Evidence-Based Approach

4.    DN-2: Dry Needling for Lumbopelvic & Lower Extremity Conditions: an Evidence-Based Approach

Dr. Butts recently presented original experimental research titled, “Facilitation of Motor Skill Acquisition in the Non-Dominant Upper Extremity via Motor Training Augmented with Intermittent Theta Burst Stimulation and Anodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation”. In 2013, Dr. Butts co-authored and published “The Side, Duration and Number of Cavitation Sounds during Upper Cervical Thrust Manipulation” in the internationally recognized journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. Most recently, Dr. Butts is featured as a co-author of “The Within-Session Change in Low Back Pain Intensity Following Spinal Manipulative Therapy is Related to Differences in Diffusion of Water in the Intervertebral Discs of the Upper Lumbar Spine and L5-S1” published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 

Dr. Butts is an adjunct instructor of Anatomy & Physiology and Applied Anatomy & Biomechanics at Midland’s Technical College and the University of South Carolina, respectively; in addition, he is a guest lecturer in the University of South Carolina Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Lastly but not least, Dr. Butts is a former competitive rower and he has competed in numerous international and world-class rowing championships. 

Dr. Thomas Perreault
PT, DPT, OCS, Cert. DN, Cert. SMT

Faculty, AAMT Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy
Senior Instructor, Spinal Manipulation Institute & Dry Needling Institute
Certified in Spinal Manipulative Therapy & Certified in Dry Needling


Dr. Thomas Perreault is currently a senior Physical Therapist at ProEx Physical Therapy in Somersworth, New Hampshire. He specializes in the use of dry needling and spinal manipulation for a variety of neuromusculoskeletal disorders. Dr. Perreault received a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from the University of Maine and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from Franklin Pierce University in Concord, New Hampshire.

Dr. Perreault is a graduate of the Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy (IOMT) post-professional residency program. Dr. Perreault is a Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties and is a guest lecturer in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Boston University. Dr. Perreault is Certified in Dry Needling (Cert. DN) through Dry Needling Institute of the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy (Cert. DN) and is a senior instructor for the following courses:

1.    DN- 1 Dry Needling for Craniofacial, Cervicothoracic & Upper Extremity Conditions: An Evidence-Based Approach

2.    DN-2 Dry Needling for Lumbopelvic & Lower Extremity Conditions: an Evidenced-Based Approach

In addition Dr. Perreault successfully completed the SMT-1, SMT-2, SMT-3 and SMT-4 High-Velocity Low-Amplitude Thrust Manipulation Series, and he is Certified in Spinal Manipulative Therapy (Cert. SMT) through Spinal Manipulation Institute.

Dr. Firas Mourad

PT, OMT, Cert. SMT, Cert. DN, Dip. Osteopractic

Faculty, AAMT Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy
Senior Instructor, Spinal Manipulation Institute & Dry Needling Institute
Certified in Spinal Manipulative Therapy & Certified in Dry Needling

Lecturer, Manual Therapy Master (IFOMPT), Università  di Roma Tor Vergata, Italy
Lecturer, Sport Rehabilitation Master, Università di Pisa, Italy 


Dr. Mourad specializes in spinal manipulation and dry needling for a variety of neuromusculoskeletal & sport injury conditions. Dr. Mourad received a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from Brescia University (Italy), a Master degree in Manual Therapy (OMT-IFOMPT) from the University of Genova (Italy), and a post-graduate Certificate in Sport & Exercise Medicine from Ulster University (Belfast, UK). In addition, he completed a training program in musculoskeletal osteopathy through the Escuela de Osteopatia de Madrid (Spain).

Dr. Mourad is currently a PhD student at the Universidad Juan Carolos Rey in Madrid (Spain) supervised by Professor Cesar Fernandez De-Las-Penas. Dr. Mourad’s research is focused on the neurophysiological effects of spinal manipulation and acupuncture in patients with migraine, tension type and/or cervicogenic headaches.

Dr. Mourad is a Lecturer in the Sport Rehabilitation Master degree at Pisa University (Italy) and in the Master degree (Fellowship) of Manual Therapy at the Tor Vergata University in Rome (Italy). He is a member of the Board of the Italian Manual Therapy Group (IFOMPT MO). Dr. Mourad is a co-author of the Dunning et al (2013) study titled, "Bilateral and multiple cavitation sounds during upper cervical thrust manipulation" published in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders and “Dry needling: a literature review with implications for clinical practice guidelines” published in 2014 in the journal Physical Therapy Reviews.


Dr. James Escaloni
DPT, OCS, Cert. MDT, Dip. Osteopractic

Senior Instructor, Spinal Manipulation Institute & Dry Needling Institute
Diploma in Osteopractic, Certified in Dry Needling & Spinal Manipulative Therapy

Dr. Escaloni graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Health Science, and returned to the University of Kentucky for his entry-level Master of Science in Physical Therapy degree. Following residency training in Orthopedics through Select Medical & Kentucky Orthopedic Rehab Team, Dr. Escaloni returned to the university setting to earn his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Regis University. Subsequently, Dr. Escaloni attained post-graduate certifications in Spinal Manipulation, Dry Needling, Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy, Vestibular Rehabilitation, Instrument-Assisted Soft-Tissue Mobilization, Functional Capacity Evaluations, Selective Functional Movement Assessment & the Functional Movement Screen (Levels I & II). In 2014, Dr. Escaloni earned a post-graduate Diploma in Osteopractic through the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy.

Dr. Escaloni is Board Certified in Orthopedic Physical Therapy through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. He has served on the state board for the Kentucky Strength & Conditioning Association. Dr. Escaloni manages a large outpatient orthopedic practice, is a faculty member for Select Medical & Kentucky Orthopedic Rehab Team’s Orthopedic Residency program, and is a frequent lecturer on various topics around his home state of Kentucky and beyond.


Dr. Ron Pavkovich
DPT, Cert. SMT, Cert. DN, Dip. Osteopractic

Senior Instructor, Spinal Manipulation Institute & Dry Needling Institute
Diploma in Osteopractic, Certified in Dry Needling & Spinal Manipulative Therapy

Dr. Pavkovich specializes in dry needling, spinal manipulation, and extremity manipulation; in addition, he holds a Diploma in Osteopractic through the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy (AAMT). Dr. Pavkovich graduated with Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY. He attended undergraduate college at Murray State University and the University of Cincinnati. He is the co-owner of Advantage Physical Therapy with his wife, Estee (a Fellow-in-Training within the AAMT Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy) in Lexington, KY. He is the father of twins and triplets.

Dr. Pavkovich recently published a case report in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy entitled “The Use of Dry Needling for a Subject with Acute Onset of Neck Pain: A Case Report“--Pavkovich (2015).

Dr. Pavkovich is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, the Kentucky Physical Therapy Association, the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists, and is an adjunct instructor at the University of Kentucky. He is an APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor. Additionally, Dr. Pavkovich is a former State Trooper with the Kentucky State Police and was a bull rider for the Murray State University Rodeo team as past of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association while in undergraduate studies. 

Dr. Noah Zacharko
DPT, MPT, Cert. SMT, Cert. DN, Dip. Osteopractic

Senior Instructor, Spinal Manipulation Institute & Dry Needling Institute
Diploma in Osteopractic, Certified in Dry Needling & Spinal Manipulative Therapy 


Dr. Zacharko specializes in the use of spinal manipulation, extremity manipulation and dry needling for the treatment of a variety of neuromusculoskeletal conditions. He holds a Diploma in Osteopractic from the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy and is Certified in Spinal Manipulative Therapy (Cert. SMT) and Dry Needling (Cert. DN).

Dr. Zacharko is the owner and founder of Zacharko Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (Z Ortho Rehab) in Fort Mill, SC. He is dual licensed in North and South Carolina and serves patients in the communities of both states. Z Ortho Rehab is a cash-based, private practice specializing in the management of complex neuromusculoskeletal conditions, sports injuries, and the rehabilitation of amateur and professional athletes. Due to Dr. Zacharko’s insurance-free practice model, the treatment frequency, intensity and duration for each and every patient is determined by the clinician, not a third party payer.

Dr. Zacharko earned both a Masters in Physical Therapy (MPT) degree and a post-graduate Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from East Carolina University. While working towards his doctorate, Dr. Zacharko completed clinical residences at top level sports rehabilitation institutions including: ProSports in Westchester New York, Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, and USA Olympic Tri-Athlete Training Center in Clermont Florida. Dr. Zacharko previously worked in the Biomechanics and 3D Motion Science Laboratory at East Carolina University. He is currently a co-investigator for two randomized clinical trials within the AAMT Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy program.

On a personal level, Dr. Zacharko has studied several martial arts including Muay Thai kickboxing, and notably, he went on to become a competitive fighter for several years. Dr. Zacharko presently serves as a Muay Thai kickboxing instructor under
Ajarn Chai (SURACHAI SIRISUTE) and the Thai Boxing Association. He continues to serve as assistant fight-team coach for several kickboxers and MMA fighters.

Dr. Ian Young
DSc, PT, OCS, SCS, Cert. MDT, Cert. SMT, Cert. DN

Faculty, AAMT Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy
Senior Instructor, Spinal Manipulation Institute & Dry Needling Institute

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Dr. Young earned a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from North Georgia College & State University. He is Board Certified in Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS). Dr. Young also holds a post-graduate Doctor of Science degree from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions.

In addition to practicing full-time in outpatient orthopaedic and sports physical therapy settings for the past 17 years, Dr. Young held clinical adjunct positions in orthopaedics and gross anatomy at Virginia Commonwealth University (2001 to 2011). He currently serves as senior clinician and orthopaedic residency faculty at Spine & Sport in Savannah, GA. He also holds a senior faculty member position within the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy (AAMT) Fellowship program in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy. 

Dr. Young is actively involved as the lead investigator in several clinical research projects including: (1) efficacy studies for the treatment of cervical radiculopathy, (2) the clinical utility of manipulative therapy in various neck disorders, and (3) psychometric property studies for the Neck Disability Index and Numeric Pain Rating Scale. Dr. Young has published in several peer-reviewed journals including: Physical Therapy, Spine, and Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. He was also the recipient of the George J. Davies – James A. Gould Excellence in Clinical Inquiry Award in 2010.