“I’m an active person,” says Anna who lives in Woodlands, “and as a Nursery and First School Assistant, I am always on the go. I also provide respite care for a child suffering from cerebral palsy so I have to look after myself. The first time I realised I was having any trouble was in January 2017 when I felt a pain in my knee.
“I mentioned it at a routine GP appointment, and was told to rest: that seemed to help but the pain came back. A few weeks later (it was now the beginning of February), I was out shopping and noticed another pain – in my back this time. Not one to ignore these things, I managed to get a triage appointment. I saw a different doctor, who recommended a heat pack and rest for my back and to keep on resting my knee. He said if I were patient, I could be referred to a physiotherapist in 4 or 5 weeks’ time. None of this was conducive to my job or my way of life.
“A friend of mine had told me about the benefits she was getting from deep tissue massage and I immediately booked an appointment. The massage certainly helped, but it was there that when I discussed my symptoms, the therapist suggested I should check my “alignment”. As the pain had now moved to my legs and was becoming increasingly painful, I booked a free initial consultation at Frameworks.
“Within 2 days, I met with the clinician who advised me that I was significantly out of balance which meant one knee was carrying more weight than it should: effectively one leg was longer than the other! I was relieved to hear the words, “Yes, we can help.” At my first treatment session, the pain was instantly relieved: all it took was one minor correction. It wasn’t uncomfortable, it didn’t hurt, and in a strange way because of that, I was sceptical as to its effectiveness.
“But I persevered and was diligent in keeping up the after care. That evening I was stooping as usual to brush my teeth and I suddenly realised it didn’t hurt for the first time in over a month.
“The following week, I went back for my second treatment and the clinician was pleased to see that the correction had been maintained. The next focus was to adjust the twist in my spine which had developed as a result of over-compensating for the original lack of balance
“By my fourth treatment, the Frameworks clinician just had to make a tiny correction. Now my back is balanced, I maintain its strength by religiously keeping up with the aftercare exercises. In fact, I felt so confident in my treatment that I embarked on the London Moon Walk on May 14th. I had previously run the Marathon so I knew I could do it mentally: I just needed reassurance that I wasn’t going to cause my body any damage. I went to Frameworks and was told that all was good: my back was strong and balanced.
“I walked alongside two friends which helped me moderate my usual fast walking speed and I had no adverse repercussions except from a general tiredness stemming from having walked through the night. On my next visit, I just had a tiny correction but all in all, my back had stayed where it was supposed to be!
“Now, I’ve built my pace up and am able to run again: I’ve got the exercise bug! Looking back, I could have been out of balance for years and just compensated for it if I felt a twinge. Of course I know now that because I adjusted how I sat or moved to avoid feeling pain, I was actually causing more damage.
“I am so much more aware of how I move. My job involves a lot of bending over low tables to interact with the primary school children and squatting repeatedly to (for example) fasten their coats (30 at a time!). As a result, I’ve consciously minimised the potential damage to my back by sitting on a low chair or on the floor when necessary and getting the children to come to me.
“I go to Frameworks for infrequent but regular maintenance appointments to make sure I’m staying on track. I also keep up the massage to maintain suppleness, and which has the advantage of clinical input from Frameworks.
“The main lesson I’ve learned is not to take your back for granted! Keep it strong and you’ll massively reduce your risk of pain and immobility.”