Michelle Day, MPT, BScEd, CAFCI
2421-5th Avenue NW
Calgary, AB T2N 0T3
Michelle Day was chosen from a well-deserving group of therapists for this month’s professional Spotlight. Michelle is a passionate physiotherapist who has been instrumental in bringing knowledge and growth for the utilization of a biopsychosocial perspective within pelvic health in Alberta. Alberta physiotherapists have enjoyed a strong legacy in pelvic health for several decades with many strong clinicians who have demonstrated a rich level of expertise in this specialized area of physiotherapy. Michelle, amongst several others, have taken on the mantel for critically integrating central pain mechanisms within pelvic health and integrating these concepts into her clinical practice with great success. She has also started teaching courses in Alberta for Pelvic Health Solutions, and we welcome her aboard as our newest associate instructor.
How long have you been practicing pelvic health physiotherapy?
I completed my first pelvic health course with Sonja Bray in 2009. I have been practicing pelvic health for the past 7 years combined with 18 years experience in orthopedic physiotherapy.
What lead you into the specialty of pelvic health?
I have always had an interest in the sacroiliac joint and realized how important the pelvic floor is to this area. My clinic manager encouraged me to pursue pelvic health so that it could be offered at our clinic and supported me as I set up my practice. I realize that many women and men experience pain and dysfunction in their pelvic floor muscles and do not understand how important it is to have a pelvic health physiotherapist on their team of health care providers.
What do you love most about your profession?
I truly enjoy teaching women and men about how their body and brain function. I previously was a high school chemistry and physics teacher before becoming a physiotherapist. I now use my teaching background to educate my patients and use my physiotherapy skills to help their tissues. I love it when the education and tissue work come together and the patient has that “AHA” moment!
I also love that I have chosen a profession where I can always be a learner. There is so much to learn in pelvic health physiotherapy and with treating pain. Both areas are evolving in wonderful ways. Learning and then applying what I have learned to each patient in an individual way creates an exciting challenge every day.
Which course did you enjoy the most/what course has changed your clinical practice the most?
The Pelvic Health Solutions Level III course definitely changed my clinical practice! That is where I learned treatment is not all about the tissues. I also learned that part of the challenge in successfully treating a patient is deciding what will work best for the individual. This requires being able to give each patient options by accessing many different tools and speaking their pain language. You can read my Pelvic Health Solutions blog post to hear my take on pain language!
What has been your most rewarding experience?
My most rewarding experience was when I taught my first course with Pelvic Health Solutions, the Non Internal Introductory course. It was amazing to pass on my knowledge and experience to a group of physios who were beginning their education in pelvic health. And to have them realize at the end of the course that there is so much more to learn!
What advice would you provide to new physiotherapists getting started in pelvic health?
Take time to listen and thoroughly understand your patients. Get to know them so you realize what direction to guide them. Don’t rush the process. Treat the person in a way that will make them successful. Address the brain and the tissues! Speak their language rather than a language that further complicates the process.