A psychiatric nurse who spent months in agony with back pain has described how a physiotherapist’s foot helped her recover.
Tracey Burgin was in so much pain she spent three weeks sleeping on the floor, was unable to sit or stand for more than a few minutes and had to take three months off work.
Now pain-free, she has spoken to the Examiner to reassure back pain sufferers that there is hope.
She credits her recovery to the Sarah Key Method which has a strong emphasis on self-treatment and has been endorsed by Prince Charles.
Tracey, 44, of Lindley Moor, had suffered a prolapsed disc and was treated with heel massage over a three-month period by physiotherapist Kay Bradley-Higgins who is trained in the Sarah Key Method.
Using the heel allows the therapist to exert more pressure over a greater area as the patient lays on the floor.
Tracey said it had worked for her.
“As well as the massage, there was a lot of education about how we perceive pain and my perception of my back problem,” she said.
“If you are having a good day, the pain is more tolerable than if you are having a bad day. The biggest thing for me that really helped is the knowledge of how the back works and that it would get better with time.”
She added: “I am now pain-free and my back is better than it has been for a long time.”
Tracey also credits various back exercises for long-term back strength. One involves using a back block ‘yoga brick’ which is placed under the sacrum, the hard flat bone at the base of the spine, whilst laid on the floor.
A second exercise is called the ‘modified plough’. Both exercises can be found on various websites.
Kay Bradley-Higgins, who is based at the Media Centre on Northumberland Street, is an accredited Sarah Key practitioner who treated Tracey.
She says the combination of giving advice (on anatomy, etc), simple exercises and therapy (using the foot to manipulate spinal joints) had worked better than anything she had used on patients in the past.
“It made good sense to me and my patients. Exercises are easier to comply with when you have an understanding of why you are doing them.”
The key to managing back problems in the long term is exercise, says Kay.
“Exercise is key, but education is also a very important part of the process. Sometimes a bit of manual therapy can help things along the way as well.”
She added: “I have had great success using the Sarah Key Method and do the exercises regularly myself, since an injury a few years ago.”
For further information on the techniques go to www.simplebackpain.com