17 Jul 2011

Harley Street advice for everyone

Back Pain, Lower Back, Press, Upper Back No Comments

In recent months, I’ve been focusing on getting solid advice on back care out to the most vulnerable groups in society.  

Pregnant ladies, older people, post surgery patients and manual labourers to name a few.

Back care is sorely underrated and people don’t appreciate how incredibly important it is to every aspect of your life.

As a Physiotherapist, I don’t want to be meeting people who are already in pain and already suffering… I want to help people way before that stage. 

Prevention is always better than cure.

So, it’s now a mission of mine to link up with as many groups as possible to help prevent back issues before they occur.

I’m going to be targeting people who, through no fault of their own, are more susceptible to back problems – and I’m going to be helping them. 

Watch out for Fatemeh The Physio

Thank you

23 May 2011

The healing effects of Spinal Touch on Scoliosis

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Scoliosis effects 3 out of 100 people worldwide.

Recognised treatments are observation, bracing or surgery.

Observation: Scoliosis can be non-progressive and can have no pain or ill effects. Observation, especially in children, is essential before any action is taken.

Bracing: Is an effective way to help children who are still growing to maintain as straight a spine as possible.  Bracing is not recommended for people who have stopped growing as it’s thought that it would simply not work. 

Surgery: If the spinal curve has reached 40 degrees by the time the patient has stopped growing, then it’s likely to continue changing by 1-2 degrees each year. If this is not prevented, the patient could experience problems with internal organs, so surgery is recommended.

Massage, exercise and yoga have long been recognised to ease pain symptoms in Scoliosis, but they have never been recognised as a method of correcting an abnormal curve.

Now… I’m incredibly excited to publicise my first evidence showing the benefits of Spinal Touch.

This x-ray is from a 17 year old girl who has 50-60% scoliosis of the spine. Going by the above statistics, the only treatment for her would be surgery to deal with the curve and massage to deal with the pain. In fact, doctors have predicted that up to 6 operations might be required to straighten her back, and the side effect of that would be a reduction of spinal movement by almost half.

This young girl came to me to see if Spinal Touch could be an alternative to surgery. 

The above x-ray was taken prior to the first session and the below x-ray was taken after the fourth session. 

The results are amazing and, maybe, with continued sessions, this young girl might not need surgery at all. 

Spinal Touch is a truly miraculous discipline and has not yet been fully recognised for the non-invasive benefits it can have on patients such as my 17 year old friend.

04 May 2011

Back exercises are essential at any age

Back Pain, Lower Back, Upper Back No Comments

Some older people suffer in silence with back pain, (some not so silent!) but the common point is that a lot of older people do suffer. They don’t need to.

People say things like, “I have a little back pain every now and then, but I am getting on now. It’s to be expected.” – No!

It is of course true to say that the older we get, the thinner our muscles get.  But this isn’t something we have to live with; we can build and maintain their strength again with a few simple rules to living well.

Rule 1) When you’re sitting or standing, remember not to slouch. Remain as upright as possible because, if you lean to one side, you put pressure on the disks in your back. This is a major cause of back pain.

Rule 2) Always make sure any work surface, whether standing or sitting, is the right height for you. Chopping veg in the kitchen, working on your computer, eating your dinner… your elbows should ideally be at a right angle and, if seated, you should use armrests. Shoulders back and down helps with posture.

Rule 3) Don’t stay in any position for too long as we tend to ‘seize up’. Our joints and muscles stiffen and make movement uncomfortable. Keep the muscles warm and flexible by changing position and walking round at intervals.

Rule 4) Don’t try to lift objects that are too heavy for you… that includes people! Lifting children or grandchildren who are getting a bit big, is a very common mistake in many families.

Rule 5) Maintain a good and proper diet – more healthy, less weight, better back.  And when you look good, you tend to feel good too!

Rule 6) If you suffer from a bad back and you’re a smoker – my advice is to quit. Smoking reduces blood flow to the lower spine and causes spinal disks to degenerate.

All of the above are just nice and easy ways to help reduce pain in your back on a daily basis.

On top of that, there are exercises you can do for extra strength, extra stability and extra comfort.

Next time, I’ll chat you through some of the simplest exercises that can be done anywhere, anytime.

Thank you


07 Apr 2011

Share your back care stories. “… my firsthand experience”.

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Hello again, 

Here’s the first blog to start you off.  Please feel free to contribute, I think you’d be surprised how many people are in the same boat as you.

For more than 20 years, I worked as a General Nurse in a variety of environments.  Each one, big or small, hard or easy, has contributed greatly to my poor lower back strength. 

I was a very good nurse, I did the manual handling training and knew the rules.  But when the ‘load’ you’re lifting is a person, the unpredictability is what makes it very dangerous.  Patients panic, they change their minds, they lose concentration, they move unexpectedly, they fall, they become aggressive… and that’s why nurses have such terrible back problems. 

Nurses are not supposed to ‘catch’ a falling patient, of course, but when it’s a 90 year old, post operative man, what else can you do? In doing right by the patient, we do wrong by ourselves.  

I wish I’d looked after my back from the start.

My back was okay when I started nursing, but I didn’t really look after it as I thought, “I’m young, I’m strong, I’m trained; that’ll be enough.”  It’s not, and I now know that simple back strengthening exercises could have made all the difference; better posture could have made all the difference; a less glib attitude could have made all the difference.

NOW I look after my back and the good news is that the damage is mainly reversible.  For me anyway.

21 Mar 2011


Advice Room, Back Pain, Lower Back, Upper Back No Comments

Spinal Touch is a unique and effective light touch technique.

Its aim is to bring the spine into mechanical balance by realigning the body’s centre of gravity which is situated on a plane between the fifth lumbar vertebra and the first sacral segment.

The treatment is based on the principle that such a realignment can play a central part in restoring health.  It works by releasing tension in adjacent muscles, vertebrae and nerves.

In both its postural assessment and its treatment, Spinal Touch has the great virtue of being so gentle and non-invasive that no physical harm can be done with it.

Although it is best known for helping with back ailments and associated disorders, Spinal Touch can be of benefit in a far wider range of conditions.  It is especially effective in conditions which are stress related.

Please feel free to contact me for information on where to go and what to do if you’re interested in Spinal Touch.

Here’s what some of my patients think about Spinal Touch.


13 Mar 2011

Back pain in pregnancy

Advice Room, Back Pain, Lower Back, News No Comments

There are two types of back pain in pregnant ladies: true back pain and pelvic girdle pain.

True back pain was probably always there, and is caused by poor posture in your everyday life.  Of course, poor posture during pregnancy is unavoidable and so it exacerbates true back pain.

Pelvic girdle pain is caused by movement in the pelvis as the body gets ready for birth. This is very different and must be treated differently.

True back pain in pregnant ladies.

This is very common and can be debilitating.  You can follow my ‘back facts’ on Facebook and Twitter; these explain why back pain occurs, so deals with avoidance. This blog deals with the treatment and handling of true back pain.

Treatment and handling of true back pain in pregnant ladies.

- Core stability exercises are vital to protect your lower back.  When you bend forwards, the extra weight on your stomach makes your lower back work extra hard.  Good core stability means good posture, which means less back pain.  http://fatemehthephysio.co.uk/fatemehs-dvd/  (I’m constantly happy to give free advice to anyone with back pain.  My DVD, however, provides a visual guide that you can use at home, in the car or at work.)

- You must have the correct posture when seated and when standing.  Please scroll down to read my “Feeling good – from top to toe” blogs.   

- Exercise regularly.  There are many simple exercises you can do to help your back. They’re not over strenuous and are suitable for women at various stages of pregnancy. Whenever you exercise, you must listen to your body… if your body says ‘no’, don’t do it.  (My DVD can show you everything you need to know.)

- When your back is strong, external factors will have less of a negative impact on your back.  Please scroll down to read my ‘Manual Handling’ blog. Manual Handling isn’t just for the workplace; it’s for home life too.  

- Pregnancy should be a pleasure.  Take regular breaks, rest with your feet up, maintain your fluid intake, exercise to a level that suits you and, I’ll say it again… take regular breaks! 

Once the baby arrives, your life will be beautifully hectic and you need to enjoy every second.  True back pain will come and go dependent on whether you remember to look after yourself.

So please take care and I’ll see you next week to talk about pelvic girdle pain.

Thank you your time


27 Feb 2011

Going global!

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Hello everyone,

This little blog isn’t about backs or pain management; it’s about the size of the world!  What a huge topic for a Physiotherapist?! 

What I mean is, the world has become such a small place.

Last week, I got an email from a Physiotherapist in Malaysia.  He started by complimenting my blog posts (thank you Siva!), he then mentioned that he’d been to my clinic in Dubai.  Siva is a sports Physiotherapist with the Malaysian Football Association and brought one of his players to Dubai for treatment on his knee.  Coincidence that he then read my UK blog and now we chat?  Maybe.

Or maybe Siva and I will now be of use to each other in the future, who knows; but I am glad to have spoken to someone, on the other side of the world, who is as dedicated to helping others as I am. 

The world may be small, but ideals as huge. 

Keep talking, keep striving and keep helping.  Siva and I will do our little bit too.


20 Feb 2011

Manual handling the right way

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Manual handling is very underestimated!  Yet it’s crucial to avoiding back pain and long term back damage.

Manual handling is a simple set of common sense points.

There are 4 major areas you need to address before lifting anything…

1) Item – you should answer ‘no’ to all of these…

a)  Is the item an awkward shape and size?

b)  Is the item too heavy for you to carry?

c)  Is the item unstable (does it ‘shift, is it ‘unpredictable’?)

d)  Do you really need more than one person to move this item?

e)  Is the item hazardous?  (hot, cold, sharp)

2) Task – you should answer ‘yes’ to all of these…

a)  Is lifting from above the head or below the knees being avoided?

b)  Is twisting being avoided?

c)  Is the item manageable?

d)  Do you know your route and is it clear?

e)  Does someone else know what you’re doing and where you are?

3) Environment – you should answer ‘yes’ to all of these…

a)  Have you got enough room to lift and move the item?

b)  If you’re on an uneven floor, do you know your route well?

c)  Is your route clear of obstacles?

d)  Indoors or outdoors – have you considered how your environment might change during the lift?

e)  Is the place you’re moving to, ready to receive the item?  

4) You – you should answer ‘yes’ to all of these…

a)  Are you fit and able enough to lift the item?

b)  Are you correctly trained, if training is required?

c)  Do you have the correct lifting equipment, if equipment is required?

d)  Do you have the correct protective equipment, if equipment is required?

e)  Have you answered all the above questions correctly?

The above list sounds like lots to learn, however, it’s mostly common sense.  Sensible thinking equals sensible lifting.

The most important rule of all is this one – use your head… not your back. 

Thank you for reading


08 Feb 2011

Feeling good – from top to toe!

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Hello again,

Okay, here’s part two of my ‘Top to Toe’ posture advice.

This one is for when you’re standing –

Whether you’re standing in a bus queue or guarding Buckingham Palace – there’s a right and a wrong way to position every part of your body.

So, here’s the right way to stand, from ‘top to toe’…

Your head:  should be facing forwards. As with sitting, your neck muscles are only perfectly balanced when you’re holding your head straight. It is good, however, to roll your neck at intervals in order to stretch and warm the neck muscles.  This keeps them flexible and stops them from seizing up.

Your shoulders:  should be back and relaxed down. Rolling them forwards and ‘slouching’ when standing, rounds that lovely natural curve in your spine. This puts pressure on your disks, can cause nerve damage, and it will certainly lead to lower back pain.

Your chest:  should be ‘open’ (so, shoulder back!). You will get tired more quickly if your breath is restricted; don’t underestimate the effort required simply to stand.

Your hips:  should be facing forwards and be in line with your shoulders and heels. Your hips are a sturdy, mid-way, centre of balance. As with your neck, you can roll your hips at intervals in order to stretch and warm the muscles.

Your feet:  should be shoulder width apart to form a wide, sturdy base.  If your legs get tired when standing for a long time, move one foot slightly behind the other and shift your weight onto the back foot. Alternate to rest each leg in turn.

Everything matters – from top to toe

Thank you

Fatemeh the Physio

30 Jan 2011

Feeling good – from top to toe!

Advice Room No Comments

Hello again,

I hope you’re having a stress free 2011 so far. 

I’m going to offer pieces of advice relating to posture that will definitely make you feel better from ‘top to toe’.  This one is for when you’re seated –

Whether you’re sitting slouched at your desk or flopping onto a sofa after a hard day at work – there’s a right and a wrong way to position every part of your body. Twisting sideways to see the computer or telly, reaching to the floor for that glass of wine, stretching to reach the phone… all these things put stress on your spinal disks and stretch your back ligaments. 

So, here’s the right way to sit, from ‘top to toe’…

Your head: should be facing forwards. Don’t have your laptop or telly to the side, above or below your natural line of sight. Your neck muscles are perfectly balanced when they’re holding your head straight; but when they have to hold your head at an angle, your neck muscles are pulled out of position.

Your shoulders: should be back and relaxed down. Don’t be tempted to slump them forwards as you relax; rounded shoulders stretch your back ligaments.

Your chest: should be ‘open’. If your shoulders are back and relaxed, then your chest is open and clear. If your chest feels restricted by your upper body weight, then your shoulders are in the wrong position.

Your hips: should be facing forwards and your bottom should create a nice 90 degree curve from your back down to your thighs.  

Your feet: should be flat on the floor.  If your feet are swinging, then the weight of your legs is pulling your bottom out of that lovely 90 degree angle, which means your back isn’t in the right position, which means your shoulders aren’t either, which means your head isn’t either.

Everything matter – from top to toe.

Thank you

Fatemeh The Physio.