Q & A with Physiotherapist, Rachel Worsley
Meet Rachel, another talented physiotherapist in the City Sports & Physiotherapy team. A graduate of the UBC Masters of Physiotherapy, she enjoys working with clientele of all fitness levels and has experience working with a wide variety of injuries.
Although many people see an undergraduate degree in biology and a master degree in physiotherapy as accomplishment enough, Rachel continues to increase her knowledge and expertise of her practice. She is currently completing her manual therapy levels with the Orthopaedic Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association!
We’re so lucky and grateful to have such a talented and driven team member in Rachel! Read on to learn more about what drives and inspires her to continue doing what she does best: helping her clients enjoy their active lives, pain-free!
- What is your primary area of interest within the field of physiotherapy or massage therapy?
When it comes to physiotherapy, my main interest lies in the field of orthopaedics. This field encompasses any injuries having to do with the musculoskeletal system (i.e. muscles and joints). Many of my clients have sports-based injuries but quite a few of them have injuries which have developed from years of postural issues, or from simply working at a desk all day. All of these injuries fall into the orthopaedic field.
I have chosen to work my way through the Canadian Orthopaedic Division’s manual therapy levels in order to advance my hands-on treatment techniques for such injuries. I really enjoy these courses and find them very applicable for the clients I treat. I’m excited to soon be able to explore another area that interests me as well, which is Acupuncture. I’m beginning my certification in the fall and I’m looking forward to adding Acupuncture to my treatment tool belt.
- Why did you choose this profession?
Physiotherapy always felt like the perfect profession for me.
Throughout high school and university, I tutored other students and I loved it. I was often told that I should go into teaching but that didn’t quite feel like the right fit for me. My undergraduate degree was in biology and I fell in love with anatomy and physiology. However, I knew research work or any other job where I would be stuck behind a desk was not the right fit for me either.
After years of working in the hospitality industry to put myself through school and travels, I knew I wanted a career that revolved around helping people. I’ve always been an active person and I truly believe in the value that exercise can add to people’s lives and wellbeing. I had been considering physiotherapy for years so I took a part-time job at the front desk of a physiotherapy clinic after I finished my degree. The therapists encouraged me to shadow them when possible and that experience really solidified, for me, that this was what I wanted to do with my life. It was the perfect combination of everything I enjoy – anatomy, exercise, and being able to help and connect with people so that I can teach them how to get back to being active and having fun after an injury.
- What is your favourite body part, injury or condition to treat?
That’s a tough call. Although I find the shoulder to be one of the most complex and sometimes complicated body parts, I think it may be my favourite to treat. Every shoulder injury can be so different and I enjoy the challenge of helping a client figure out what exactly is contributing to their injury and what we can do to treat it. Plus, it gives me an opportunity to talk to people about their posture and desk ergonomics, a conversation that is usually pretty eye opening for clients.
That being said, I also love treating surgical clients such as ACL reconstructions. I really enjoy being able to take a client from post op and seeing them all the way through their rehab to successfully return them to the sports they love.
- What do you do to keep fit and stay injury-free?
My favourite ways to keep fit are definitely through running and hiking. I’ve run for as long as I can remember and in a city like Vancouver, there’s no shortage of beautiful running routes. One of the many bonuses of being a physiotherapist is that any time an issue starts to crop up from running, I know exactly what exercises to do to settle it down.
More recently, I jumped on the Vancouver bandwagon and began going to yoga classes. I realized that I needed to do something consistent to improve my flexibility and core strength so that I could stay ahead of my injuries as opposed to just treating them as they cropped up. Yoga has helped me do exactly that.
- Do you have any favourite exercises or stretches for yourself and/or your clients?
My favourite exercises tend to be ones that incorporate a number of different muscle groups working together to perform a functional movement. I find exercises like airplanes and mini single squats help improve core control, stability and strength in a manner that can directly translate into many different sports. As a result, you’ll likely see me demonstrating these at some point during my day in the City Sports gym.
- Tell us one of your favourite memories or a highlight of working in the physiotherapy or massage therapy industry.
One of the highlights for me would have to be the first ACL reconstruction client I treated after graduating. He was a young rugby player who tore his ACL while playing, but after his injury, he was given no guidelines on what to do for his knee and was only told to rest while he waited for surgery. By the time he saw the surgeon, his knee was so stiff that they were unable to operate until he regained some range of motion. The surgeon sent him to our clinic for physiotherapy and I have never seen a patient work so hard to rehab an injury. He was so frustrated at the lack of education he received and he was incredibly grateful for all the time I was able to spend with him as a physiotherapist, both treating his knee and teaching him what to do at home so that he could get back on the rugby field.
It was exciting to have such success with my first ACL reconstruction client and it was especially rewarding getting him back out playing rugby after all the challenges he had faced. The experience really proved to me just how important patient education is in any situation, a lesson that I have never forgotten.
- What is the most rewarding thing about what you do? What motivates or inspires you to be a great physio or massage therapist?
The most rewarding part of my day is when I can sit down with a client and talk through exactly what their injury is, why it developed and what we can do about it. I love the moment when everything clicks for the client and we can make a plan that they’re on board with because they understand their injury.
- What makes City Sports & Physiotherapy Clinic a unique place to work for you?
The team. 100%.
I worked at a number of other clinics after I graduated but none had the same camaraderie amongst the staff as City Sports & Physiotherapy. All of the therapists and front desk staff get along like a house on fire and it’s that fun team atmosphere that made me want to stay at City Sports. Well, that and my fantastic clients of course!
- In your opinion, what makes Vancouver a great city for (safe!) sporting and fitness challenges?
Vancouver is surrounded by mountains and ocean. It’s full of active and adventurous people who want to take advantage of where we live. The combination means that nearly any sport or activity you could imagine is possible here. People move to Vancouver for the active lifestyle and they never seem disappointed!
- What’s your favourite thing about living in Vancouver?
There are almost too many things that I love about this city to list. Amazing views, beaches and restaurants are of course always at the top of the list. However, one of the things I’m most excited about every year is my first hike of the season. I’ve gotten more and more into hiking over the last few years and I can’t believe how many amazing trails Vancouver has to offer so close to the city. The goal for this year: the Lions. I can’t wait!
Rachel works Monday and Wednesday, between 7 am and 12:40 pm; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, between 1 pm and 7pm. To book an appointment, contact rachel[at]citysportsphysio.com.
Credit to Little Goblins Press for this blog post.