Back Pain & Physiotherapy

Back Pain is an extremely common complaint. There is a lot of conflicting advice as to the ‘best way to treat back pain’ and it can be difficult to know what to do for the best. Expensive treatment protocols which require you to commit to weeks of hands on therapy, supports, braces, creams, rubs and gels that all claim to ‘cure’ your pain are based on out-dated knowledge and clever marketing.

Back pain is one of the more common complaints that we see here at Peak Physio & Fitness and while no two patients are the same, there are some general themes when it comes to advice regarding back pain.The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy gives the following guidance:

  • Your back is stronger than you may think
  • You rarely need a scan and it can do more harm than good
  • Avoid Bedrest
  • You should not fear bending or lifting
  • Exercise and activity reduce and prevent back pain
  • Painkillers will not speed up your recovery
  • Surgery is rarely needed
  • Try to get good quality sleep
  • You can have back pain without any damage or injury

If managed correctly, almost all episodes of back pain are very short lived. Chartered Physiotherapists are experts in providing advice, guidance and treatment for back pain based on the best available evidence. A prompt and thorough assessment will identify the nature of your pain, allowing the right steps to be put in place to get you back in action!

An initial Physiotherapy appointment at Peak Physio & Fitness costs £38. We have appointments available Mon – Sat. In most cases you will be seen within a week and you do not need a referral.

Reflections on New Year Resolutions

Goal Setting, Motivation & Compliance

We are entering the month of June. Bewilderingly the halfway point of 2018 is drawing near. It doesn’t seem so long ago that we were welcoming in the New Year and with that resolutions were made. Many of us had aspirations and goals for the year. Myself included. But how are those goals looking now? Are we still sticking to them? Were your excuses greater you’re your dreams?

At the start of this year I set myself a fitness goal. I wanted to run more and I know that for goals to work they need to be SMART.


January’s goal was to run a total of 50 miles over the month. I decided that each month between January and May I would increase the total monthly distance working up to 62 miles (100km). My SMART goal was set.

Five months on and I don’t think it is too arrogant to say that I have smashed it! As a result of that, running has become a habit. An important part of my week and something that I relish. I’m proud of myself for sticking to my goal and following through on my intentions because I haven’t been as resolute in the past. As I’ve already mentioned I understand the SMART protocol for goal setting, I’ve done it before but with less success. So, what was different this time? This time there were some added extras. Accountability, Camaraderie and Kudos.

What I failed to mention in my opening paragraphs was that the goals I set were shared with a group of five friends who all wanted to achieve a similar objective. We each nominated a mileage for the month, abilities within the group varied and so January’s targets were set ranging from 20 to 50 miles and we agreed to increase the distances a little each month. We thought a reward might be helpful, so a Spa day was promised if we met our targets by the end of May.

It wasn’t realistic for us to exercise together at the same time in the way that running clubs might work so we set up a smartphone messenger group and posted evidence of the runs to the group having tracked them with our various activity tracking devices.

The message notifications telling me that a few of the others had been out that day would motivate me to get my running shoes on and brave the cold, the pride I felt for my friend who shared a Park Run PB or a Half Marathon finishers photo would encourage me to do my part. We congratulated one and other for our efforts.

At the end of each week, the ‘scores on the doors’ were posted. This was the total miles covered by each individual for that month. Sometimes it served as a nudge in the right direction when more work needed to be done. Often it was satisfying to see how the miles all added up drawing us nearer to the overall target.

I am proud to say that we have continually met our goals and a cumulative total of 1300 miles has earned us a Spa Day. But what now? The goal has been reached and the reward is soon to be redeemed. What next? I’ve been looking into what people should do once goals are reached. We can’t just keep increasing our mileage forever! That wouldn’t be realistic. We’d be setting ourselves up for failure. We need to re-evaluate. Our goals need to have a purpose. For our running group the initial purpose was to run more. Mission accomplished. Running is now a habit for all of us and it is fair to say we have the running bug. Now our attention can shift to areas of our performance that we want to improve. With half marathons and marathons on the horizon, speed is going to be an area of focus. Our goals need to be re-set. I’m pleased to say the squad are sticking together. New SMART goals are going to be agreed and I’m excited by the potential we have. Watch this space!

Do I need Sports Massage or Physiotherapy?

It’s a question that often arises when people contact us to make a booking. Often the answer is simple but there can be a grey area.

Sports Massage

Firstly, let us consider sports massage. The term ‘Sports Massage’ can be a bit misleading. You don’t have to be a sportsperson to have a sports massage! The primary purpose of sports massage therapy is to help alleviate the stress and tension which builds in the body as a result of physical activity. Physical activity may not necessarily be sport, it might be sitting at a desk all day or movingheavy boxes during a house move. Sports massage tends to be deeper and more firm handed than other forms of massage. It is based on the various elements of Swedish massage and often incorporates a combination of other techniques involving stretching, compression, friction, and trigger point release. A skilled therapist will bring together a blend of techniques, knowledge and advice to work effectively with the client.


Physiotherapists might use sports massage as a treatment technique to address a particular injury based on assessment and diagnosis of that problem. Interestingly not all Physiotherapists are equipped with the skills to deliver a sports massage treatment. It is usually a post-graduate skill that they acquire. Physiotherapists may often refer a patient to a sports massage therapist as part of their treatment plan.

But I still haven’t answered the initial question – Physio or Sports Massage?

In the event of a specific injury or an undiagnosed pain the correct choice of health professional would be Physiotherapist. As part of the management of an ongoing problem or to prevent the build-up of muscular stress or strain, then sports massage therapy is the way to go.

At Peak Physio & Fitness we are lucky enough to have both Physiotherapists with massage skills and a highly qualified sports massage therapist as part of our team. Timely and pro-active sports massage treatments can actually reduce the risk of overuse injuries (soft tissue stress) and prevent the need for reactive physiotherapy sessions to address actual soft tissue damage.

Choosing the right practitioner

Physiotherapists should be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).  The HCPC is an independent, UK-wide regulatory body responsible for setting and maintaining standards of professional training.

Sports Massage therapists unlike Physiotherapists do not have anational regulatory body but look for a minimum of a level 3 qualification to more confident of an appropriately skilled practitioner.

Mattresses, Sleep and Back pain

By Sally, Principle Physiotherapist


The right mattress can really help you have a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Sleeping on the wrong mattress can cause sleeplessness, back pain, and overall aches and pains. For people with a back problem, a mattress that isn’t a good fit can make the pain worse.  (more…)

Neuro Active Exercises for people with Parkinson’s

by Maria Lewis, Chartered Physiotherapist


How we can help you to a better quality of life?

Never has there been a more exciting time for physiotherapists working with people with Parkinson’s. The evidence that has emerged over the last few years has shown us how powerful exercise is, in the management of Parkinsonian symptoms.

Your brain is incredibly plastic and we now understand that the principles we have applied to people following stroke, can also be applied in Parkinson’s. (more…)