Episode 148 - Phil Commons, part 1: A Range of Countries, Cultures and Patients

Phil Commons, PhD, PT, Dip MDT

In episode 148 I speak with Dr. Phil Commons of West Yorkshire, England. She shares highlights of her professional career and some of the specializations and patient populations with which she works. She also tells about her experience of teaching and treating in a number of countries and what she's learned in an array of cultures. This week on MCF!

Dr. Philomena Commons is a Senior lecturer in Physiotherapy and Sports therapy in Leeds Beckett University. She also works as a clinician in Neurophysiotherapy, Leeds and St. Georges Crypt in Leeds treating musculoskeletal disorders. She is a faculty member with McKenzie Institute International and has introduced the McKenzie Method to Physiotherapists in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Madagascar, and DPRK. Her particular interest lie in the area of improving services for marginalized group in the UK and overseas, and developing physiotherapy clinicians

Show Notes



Phil is a faculty member of the McKenzie Institute, and currently a professor of physiotherapy in the U.K. She shares about the evolution of her career and some of her current interests. Her travels to Bangladesh early in her career led to her discovery of the McKenzie Method, and eventual completion of the MDT Diploma. She returned to Bangladesh for several years and returned to England to complete her PhD.


MDT and Disability

Phil shares some insights regarding her PhD work, and how the education of persons, students, and communities is of vital importance. She talks about the social model vs the medical model of impairment. She gives some real life examples of the relevance of the social model of disability, and the context of community integration in a different culture.


Current Endeavors

Phil has been working at Leeds Beckett University and as a clinician, but has been educating clinicians in Afghanistan, Madagascar, and North Korea. She shares some interesting stories and explains how cultural differences challenged Phil’s teaching style. She sees a tremendous thirst for knowledge, especially in areas worldwide where services are so limited. 


Treatment of Patients with Neuro or Pulmonary Comorbidities

Phil explains her experiences with patients with significant comorbidities. She has been working with patients with Parkinson’s and other neurologically impaired patients, and explains the relevance of posture correction in this population. She also explains the successes she has had with posture education and thoracic mobility within the COPD population.