Vancouver Physiotherapist Simon Kelly – Sport and Spinal Injury Rehab

The thing I like most about being a physiotherapist is just helping people walk through their goals and their rehab, their rehab stages, I really enjoy the fact that I get to talk to people on a daily basis.

I always knew from a young age when I was eighteen picking my profession that I didn't want to sit in front of a computer nine to five, just couldn't do it. I do have to use a computer still with this job but  I don't have to do it full time so that's great.  I also get to like, its like problem solving, I like to come in and be a bit of a detective and kind of figure out what's the root cause of somebody's problem.

I don't believe in like relying on analgesics for short term fixes so I believe in conservative management for many many different injuries is much more important, than just a quick fix in a doctors office.

And why did you become a physiotherapist?

I was involved in lots of sports from a young age. I played hurling which is an Irish sport.  One of the fastest field sports in the world actually.  Played rugby as well, played soccer, tennis every sport you could think of. Probably too much actually because I got injured on numerous occasions.  But the injury I remember the most is that dislocating and breaking my left elbow, my ulnar nerve which is the nerve that passes back here. Got impacted and I had a bit of tingling into my baby finger which I found out later on what that was all about. But I enjoyed going to the physiotherapist and I kind of thought to myself this would be a really nice way to actually make a living out of.

Biology was always my favourite subject in school. I went to the west of Ireland a place called Galway to do physiology. That's kind of what I majored in, that's kind of looking at the body at sort of a molecular level, ions in and out of cells. Kind of complex stuff but a little too micro. So I decided to do a masters in physiotherapy in Edinburgh in Scotland.  I brought it up to a macro level.  I enjoyed the whole anatomy and the fact that most of the language comes from latin which I kind of enjoy actually.

And why did you choose to work at Insync Physio?

I choose to work at Insync Physio because it's a small clinic which I quiet like, it's kind of personable, you can become much more friendly as opposed to being lost in a nationwide company. I worked in a nationwide company back in England and I felt like I was just a number. So here its a lot more personable there's Physios that get together. We get together once a month. We sort of bounce ideas off one another and we can sort of come up with the latest research, techniques, sort of investigate each others techniques. And that way we can become better practitioners actually. The other thing I like about here, is it's kind of patient centred it's one on one. You build a lot of rapport. It's not just like a factory setting where your getting clients, rush them through the door in and out, thanks for coming, it's more just like one on one, 30 minutes or 45 minutes. I like that the most to be honest, and I can build good rapport with my clients due to that.

What other outside hobbies and interests do you have?

My latest hobby is actually cycling. I picked up cycling at the start of the summer and I love it actually. I cycled the Gran Fondo, it's a race from Vancouver to Whistler, its 122 km, and didn't take too long. I was kind of happy with my progress. Trained a little bit, but could of trained a little bit harder. But I found a few little things that I might incorporate into my sessions with cyclists in the future, you know a lot of core. My core was kind of grumbling early on in the race, and a little bit of tingling into my left shoe as well. So have to address that but maybe that will be in another video.

And in the winter I like to ski in the mountains and there is not too many mountains in Ireland to be honest, so I only picked that up four years ago when I came over here. Started to do a few little jumps which is, I'm pretty impressed with after three years. A bit of an adrenaline junkie. I like the speed even though I know the injuries involved with that as well. So that's kind of a kind of funny as well.

I play hurling as well but I kind of gave that up two years ago, that's that fast sport I was telling you about earlier, kind of like a cross between lacrosse and field hockey. But lots of injuries in that too but I hope to get back into that in the Irish community as well so.

What’s your special interest or focus in treatment?

My special focus in treatment is mainly just educating the patients on the diagnosis, time lines, never keeping them in the dark but also mainly got to do with like pain modulation. You know people use medication like I spoke about earlier, I just don't think that, that's just a quick fix and the doctor is just getting you out of the office in a two minute consult. We deal a lot more with hands on. Mobility, nerve flossing, other techniques that kind of desensitize pain and different methods of pain modalities.

I heard a lot of bad stories about people just being put in a room and put on electrical machines and forgotten about. That's not how I work. I kind of do a bit of a combined method. Maybe some machine work, maybe some hands on, mobility and lots of strength and conditioning as well. Most of the research basically goes for strength and conditioning once the acute and sub acute stages have settled, that kind of where I'd be going, education on pain modulation is by far the most important thing and not relying on analgesics and surgeries if we can - avoid them.

Are there certain types of injuries that you’re more drawn to treating?

Yeah, particularly interested in the shoulder and the knee they are more so my specialty. I enjoy that. And there is lots of shoulder injuries in many many sports more because you're sacrificing mobility for stability, so that pretty enjoyable to me. And sometimes the neck as well we get a lot of sensation down into the fingers for different reasons. Anywhere sort of in the upper quadrant I kind of like.