Episode 70 - Anja Franz, part 1: Physical Solutions, Anytime, Anywhere.

Anja Franz PT, Dip MDT

Anja Franz, of Lahr, Germany, completed a diploma in physiotherapy in 1993 before immigrating to Canada.  She obtained a bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy from Laval University in 1999 and in 2004 she completed with distinction a postgraduate diploma in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy® at the University of Otago, New Zealand from the McKenzie Institute International.  In 2005, she became an instructor for the McKenzie Institute Canada.  


After a few years in the private sector, Anja joined the Canadian Armed Forces as a physiotherapist in June 2005.  During her career, she was posted to Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario, Two deployments to Kandahar, Afghanistan, participation in the Pacific Partnership 2012 (a US Navy-led humanitarian mission to Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia), and her role as a military liaison officer in the Governor General Leadership Conference in 2012, are the highlights of her military career.  Anja is currently completing a master’s program in clinical science at the University of Sherbrook, Quebec.  Her research focuses on the effectiveness of treatment guided by directional preference in Canadian Armed Forces Members suffering from any type of low back pain.

Anja and her spouse currently live in Ontario, Canada.  She enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, running, kayaking, and skiing.


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Show Notes

Personal Background

Lt. Franz grew up in Germany but moved to Canada in her 20’s.  Anja enjoys hiking running, skiing and kayaking and other outdoor activities.


Professional Journeys

Anja initially trained in physiotherapy in Germany. She completed additional training in University necessary to practice in Canada in Quebec City.  She later joined the Canadian armed force as a military physio about 10 years ago.  

She has seen a wide variety of orthopedic conditions while practicing in the military and more recently she’s been liberated to complete and into which she is now in her first year of that masters degree program.  



The physiotherapy slogan for the Candian armed forces and a phrase that Anja loves is, 

“Physical and measurable solutions to operational readiness anywhere, anytime.”

Times When Struggled

Anja was most frustrated early on when she had moved to Canada and she began in private practice.  She felt she was only creating short term pain relief.  She attempted to improve through continuing education and that frustration essentially stopped when she took her first McKenzie course. 


Memorable Patient Story

Her most memorable patients have come from her time in the service in Afghanistan.  One particular patient came in with a lateral shift that occurred  from jumping off a roof when he was under attack.  He was very motivated and although he centralized beautifully, Anja had to make a difficult decision regarding his return to combat.   


Common Mistakes in Assessment and Treatment

Posture correction all too often is simply not performed when it can make the difference for a good outcome.  Anja believes that so commonly therapists go to great efforts to learn complex procedures and proper special tests or techniques but overlook therapy 101 and the basics especially posture correction.  

Secrets for Completing Recovery

It depends of course on the patient and their scenario but many times more load is required. Another issue is making sure that a relevant lateral component hasn’t been missed or even needing to go another direction.

Patient Education Analogy

So often a large part of self-treatment for the patient is finding the right analogy for the right patient.  Learning what the patient does and what they enjoy or how they hurt themselves so you can use an analogy that will be meaningful to them.  She uses a door that doesn’t shut well.  For dysfunction she uses the idea of strengthening to explain the need for enough force and the need for consistency to correct their problem.