Clinical specialty area: Musculoskeletal

Year of Graduation: 1987

Areas of Professional interest: Cervical Spine 

What did you find most rewarding about the Specialty Program?
The process of specialization was interesting. It made me appreciate what a great profession we have.

What were your reasons for applying to the program?
To obtain the designation to add credibility to the profession as a whole and to use it to affect positive change for the profession from a lobbying perspective, inter-professional relationships and medicolegal aspects.

Where do you see the profession in 25 years?

Much more autonomous practice (injections, diagnostic imaging referral), greater respect within the public realm and immersed in evidence-based practice via a strong research base lead by Physiotherapists

What impact do you think specialization will have on your specialty area?
Good mentoring and better resources for younger graduates. Increased referrals and medicolegal work.

What is the value of the specialty program to candidates?
It is a process of self-reflection on professional practice which is always a good thing.

Have you used your specialist network and if so how?

I work directly with a few Ortho specialists on a daily basis.

What are important things to consider for those who are interested in pursuing their clinical specialty?

Don’t underestimate your knowledge, experience, and clinical abilities.

What new skills or enhanced skills did you obtain going through the specialty process?

The ability to articulate a treatment regimen on a difficult clinical case based upon sound practice evidence and research.

What advice would you give to applicants going through the specialty process?

It is a fulfilling but intensive process.


Michael Westaway is an orthopedic Physical Therapist who has been in private practice for the past 27 years. He has a degree from Toronto University (BSc-1984), a Physical Therapy degree from McMaster University (BHScPT-1987), a Masters (U of Calgary1993) and a Doctorate (DSc-Andrews University-2005). He is licensed to practice acupuncture and is a certified Active Release technique practitioner. He is a Fellow with the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Therapy (FCAMT) and is past President of the Canadian Orthopractice Manipulative Therapy Association and past Orthopaedic Division Chair for the CPA . He teaches at McMaster University and is past clinical instructor at U of Alberta. He holds a medical directive to perform trigger point myofascial injections and prolotherapy. Dr Westaway remains actively involved in current clinical research and holds various peer-reviewed publications focusing on outcome measure and cervical spine treatment efficacy and cervical biomechanics. He currently practices at the Caleo Health Center (spinal triage only), the Village Square Sport Physiotherapy Clinic and the Springborough Clinic. He is an Orthopaedic Specialist with the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. He is deemed an expert witness with the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.