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A patient’s story – low back pain recovery

As one of the UK’s leading London physiotherapists, I regularly write about injuries, treatment and assessment techniques.

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Many assume a stiff or sore back is an inevitable part of aging. 

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Many people assume that a stiff or sore neck is an inevitable part of aging. 

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Another lovely patient, Anushree (who is happy to be named!) contacted me to offer to write the story of her recovery from low back pain. I was chuffed to bits to accept, as I think it’s really powerful when people tell their own stories, but I also thoroughly enjoyed reading Anushree’s reflections, so I hope you do too – and I’m hopeful that her journey will be able to help other people who are struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

When this story first started, Anushree was just 18 years old, and had recently moved to the UK from India to begin her undergraduate university degree. That’s a tough enough transition for most teenagers, but Anushree was also in pain.

How we started

When I came to Nell, I had just spent a summer where I’d wake up feeling almost all right in the morning; but by the end of the day my lower back was so sore that it was acutely painful for me to even turn over in bed.

I had seen a doctor at a sports clinic in India, and had an MRI which showed issues with my spine that were severe enough to demand attention but thankfully not irreversible. However, the doctor’s sage advice to me to help with the pain was that I should either lose 10kg or make my peace with lifelong reduced mobility at age 18!

I came to Nell through another one of her patient’s recommendations. She was insistent I see Nell and after my first meeting I could see why. I don’t actually think I actively decided to stick with Nell after my first session, it was just a given, the obvious thing to do to heal. Nell provided a holistic outlook from the very first meeting, discussing my food habits, sleep, movement and my emotional state – which, having only recently moved from my home country to London, was definitely strained!

What we did

What made Nell’s approach different was she didn’t see my current state, whether it be the injury or the holistic factors around it, as bad or wrong; she just helped me to practically build a support system around it, so I could work on recovery.

Physiotherapy wise, we focused on small things to get the spine moving more fluidly. She would give me no more than three simple drills at a time, to help make my routine easier without overwhelming me. At the time I was at university, so a lot of our work was around counteracting the effect on my spine of sitting in lectures all day.

It was a slow process to say the least because of the nature of my injury and my lack of confidence in my physical capabilities; but Nell never made it seem that way, which made a world of difference. This gave me permission to be imperfect and not feel guilty that despite being in pain, the pain itself was not my number one priority at time – my priority was to have a fulfilling university experience and be young!

Nell understood this and supported me accordingly.

Graduating from physiotherapy

When the time came, Nell also helped me find a gym and trainer that suited my physiotherapy needs but also had the right mindset to create the best environment for me.

One of these recommendations was neurological movement specialist Elizabeth Banks. Given my lack of confidence in my physical abilities, Elizabeth was key in restoring that link and explaining how the body’s movement was connected to the body’s vestibular system and how things like clumsiness had a perfectly logical neurological explanation: your body was tired and couldn’t study its environment as effectively as it could.

This helped give me even more agency and take away guilt from the process. Nell helped me build body awareness through her hands on treatment sessions and Elizabeth helped me build confidence through training sessions where I learned how my body was moving and why.

How it’s going

It has been a long road to recovery but a solid one indeed. I feel more equipped and confident than ever, to not only manage my spine but the whole apparatus it carries. This past year I have been able to do intensive yoga, hiking and swimming – things that would have unthinkable for me five years ago.

Beyond fixing my injury, Nell’s advice and extended team has helped me build a new mindset and support system for whatever my personal movement goals may be, now and in the future: even if sometimes they lead through inevitable strains and injuries.

I can’t recommend Nell enough. She has the empathy it requires for you to heal a broken body part, and does it with the levity necessary to help you keep from being overwhelmed – while at the same team being insanely talented and skilled at her job. Nell is fully equipped to help ease your pain – not only right there on her treatment table but also afterwards as you move through life, long after your injury has healed.

Thank you so much Anushree – honestly I wasn’t sure whether to have a little cry or do a happy dance when I read the last paragraph. Anushree’s has indeed been a long journey for many reasons, but the result – out of pain, stronger, and confident to move forward – is exactly how I hope all my patients feel when we finish working together.

If you’d like to give yourself the chance of a recovery like Anushree’s – please call my team on 0207 175 0150, or email them at, and they’ll arrange an assessment session so that we can get started on the journey.

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Many people assume that a stiff or sore back is an inevitable part of aging. 

I’m here to show you that doesn’t have to be the case!

Are you isolating at home? Use my online service!

It's convenient and easy to assess and treat you at home, through a secure video platform

5 Minutes to Healthier Knees

A short online course to help keep your knees in shape

Many people assume that a stiff or sore neck is an inevitable part of aging. 

I’m here to show you that doesn’t have to be the case!