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The Sarah Key method

pressure change therapy

The Sarah Key Method

Sarah Key is a well-known Australian physiotherapist. You may have heard of her but not quite remember why? Let us remind you… Sarah looks after the Queen and the Royal Family; she has written several excellent books on back pain; and she has developed a marvellous system of diagnosing and treating spinal pain.

Fortunately for all of us, Sarah (enthusiastically backed by Prince Charles) is intent on teaching her approach to the rest of the physio world. We have one physio at present who has completed Part 1 of her training course and she is getting such outstanding results that several others of the Scorpio staff are booking to attend the next courses that are being run in the UK.

We have adapted this description of spinal breakdown from Sarah's website:

The spine consists of separate blocks of bone called vertebrae. In between each vertebra sits a hydrated fibrous disc that acts as a connector and shock absorber. The discs stay healthy by sucking in and squeezing out the nutritious fluid that surrounds them in a sponge-like manner. Back problems begin when a disc becomes unduly dehydrated through excessive compressive loading (mainly through prolonged sitting) and a lack of expansive spinal movement. Over time, this causes the lowermost discs to lose the ability to absorb shock and resist stretch. The outer wall of the disc is called the annulus fibrosis: this is the only part of the disc with a nerve supply and therefore capable of sending the brain signals of pain. Spinal pain then worsens as surrounding joints and ligaments adaptively shorten and further restrict spinal movement. In addition, spinal muscles develop a protective muscle clench [called spasm], which simultaneously inhibits your abdominal muscles, and the deep spinal muscles which control segmental movement. This cascade of breakdown is of course, entirely counterproductive as the evidence based science suggests: discs need to receive nutrition from the fluid sucked in and pushed when squashed and pulled apart with everyday movement.

Sarah Key Block

So what's the solution?

Sarah advocates stretching and compressing the disc by performing full range, large-scale spinal movements to cause significant disc pressure changes and shunt nutritious fluid in and out of the disc. This is achieved by using a small block (called a BackBlock – see website www.sarahkey.com) under your back followed by spinal bending movements such as squats and knee hugs. Sarah combines this with her own 'feet on' treatment methods to mobilise and loosen individual vertebrae that need un-jamming.

This is one of the treatments we offer at Scorpio. We don't quite walk on your back, but we do get you to lie face down on the floor and use our heels to mobilise your back. It's incredibly effective and not as painful as it sounds! (in fact most patients describe it as a "sweet pain"). This approach to treatment is always accompanied by the backblock exercises which are quick and easy to perform. Do research Sarah's treatment on the internet. We guarantee you'll be impressed. www.sarahkey.com

jHours of business

Egham Sports Centre
Monday to Friday 7.30am – 7.00pm

Virginia Water
Monday to Friday 7.30am – 8pm
Saturday 8.30am – 5.30pm
Sunday emergencies – please call 01344 845801

Ashford
Monday 8am - 12.30pm
Wednesday 8am - 6pm
Thursday 9am - 12.30pm
Friday 8am - 12.30pm

Lightwater
Monday 9am - 1.30pm
Thursday 8.30am - 11.30am

Bank Holidays
Emergencies can usually be seen at Virginia Water. Please call 01344 845801

How much will it cost?

Each session is charged at £47.00, whether it is the initial assessment / treatment session or a follow-up treatment, with pilates by arrangement. Find out more about private medical insurance cover...

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