Raj Dhillon – Q & A

Author: Raj Dhillon


If we’ve met before, you’ll already know that I “act like a physio”. At work you’ll see me correcting people’s posture, at home you’ll see me rolling on the foam roller, at basketball you’ll see me warming up before anyone else shows up. I’m that intense. But I really do care, and so does the rest of my team. In fact, it’s what keeps us moving.

At our clinical retreat in Canmore last year, the team came up with the acronym “CARES” when asked about their impressions of what PIVOTAL PHYSIO was all about.

If you’ve ever been to a physio clinic, these stories won’t surprise you. If you’re a first timer, enjoy the belly laughs and maybe along the way you’ll learn a little too….


What time do I start in the morning? Nothing special – just 630am three days a week. I love treating the “morning crowd”. These are the intense, motivated early risers that are waiting eagerly at the door when I walk up from my car at 625 Monday morning with no coffee in my system and pump me up for the rest of the day. Don’t worry – me and the rest of our team have daytime and evening appointments too 

Ask if your PT has experience and/or a special interest in treating a condition like yours. I’m sure you can see the benefit in having an interested PT taking on your case, and helping you recover. Ensure that you and your PT are communicating about your current symptoms, your perceived progress and timelines, and your overall goals. This communication is critical to facilitate your success, and it will ensure that your PT and the rest of your medical team is able to support you in the best possible way.


Have a positive outlook towards your injury and know that there is help available.

We had a phone call come in today: “I am lazy and don’t like to exercise. I need a PT who is miserable and is willing to kick my butt”. Naturally Sam booked this lady with me. I guess my reputation amongst our Front Desk ladies is that I’m a miserable butt-kicker. As I ask Sam about this, she laughs it off and goes back to typing. Thanks for the validation Sam – just what I need after starting at 730 this morning 😉

I am actually quite proud of this lady. She identified her needs very clearly, and made the move to identify the right professional to help her. She had the right attitude. Kudos ma’am!


“It’s SHARP pain!! It’s KILLING me!!”

This is the first thing many of my patients say when they come to see me on Day 1. Never mind that “SHARP” is pronounced with the shrill pitch of a siren and the crispness of a Ginsu knife, but is it really “KILLING” you? Unless you have a serious disease, the pain isn’t going to kill you. Nonetheless, you do have to RESPECT the pain. Pain is usually your body’s way of warning you of something.

As your body moves through different stages of healing, we will advise on which pains are appropriate, and which ones are signs of something more serious. Please remember – RESPECT your body. Don’t overdo it!


In the Main Gym on the U of A campus in 2003, there was a 3 on 3 basketball game going on. On one side there was a semi-retired prof with a killer 3 point shot (Dave Wangler) and two athletic firefighters built like tanks. On the other side there was a 6’3” center (known as “Captain Intensity”), a 6’2” forward and a 6’0” East Indian guard. As the game went on, Dave kept hitting 3’s while quipping “Pretty Babe!” We have yet to figure out if he was referring to his shot or himself. I don’t remember who won that game, but I remember thinking to myself “I wonder where this crew of guys will be a decade from now”. The forward and the guard (Craig and myself) have since then figured out that our education didn’t end there, but rather was just starting.

You’d never guess that between the two of us, there are 6 University degrees and over 20 post-graduate courses. Two tall chilled out guys loving what they do in the rehab world – providing physio to our crew of patients – and having fun at the same time! Not exactly the scholarly uptight professionals our resumes would have you believe.

When you come in for physio, please ensure you make educated decisions about your treatment, and that you are comfortable with your knowledge about your injury/condition. If not, please ask! It’s vital that you learn more about your condition as you move through your rehabilitation plan.


A few years back, I was treating a patient (oddly enough, he looked like a slightly older version of Snoop Dogg) who had suffered whiplash injuries. He had been off work for a number of months while recovering, and he and his wife would come into the clinic together. As we got to know each other more closely, he came to tell me that this was his first experience with physio, and that he really liked seeing the progress as he moved towards returning to work. I’ll never forget his last day of treatment. He stood, all 6’4” of him, in the middle of the clinic with his arms over head looking towards the sky screaming “Yes! Yes! I’m done! I’ve never felt so good!” A look of overwhelming joy overtook his face, and he started to hug the other patients in the clinic that day.

Much like the Kobe system, he had achieved success at success. We had found a way for him to recover from his injuries, and to be able to resume working at his normal job. He couldn’t have been happier. We’d love to help you too.

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