Do you remember studying hard at school to get good A levels? Your dream was to get accepted onto a physiotherapy university degree course, as the idea of helping people to get out of pain and live a higher quality of life really appealed to you. Physiotherapy suited your personality because it was a proven hands-on technique that made a measurable difference. And that was what you really wanted to do, to make a difference and help people.
All that hard work and determination got you the A levels you needed and you were accepted onto the course of your dreams. You started your career in physiotherapy determined to help people.
Now a few years on, as you look back on your career, you can’t help feeling that something is missing. Your dreams are not being fulfilled and more to the point, many of the skills you studied so hard to learn are not being used. You seem to be stuck on this treadmill of seeing patients, knowing you could help more, that you could make a bigger difference to their lives, but not able to as the guidelines are to avoid treatment wherever possible and send patients home with some exercises.
As you reflect on this, you wonder, if you continue this way, how you will look back on your life when you are retired. You realised there is a Grand Canyon-sized divide between your dreams at school and university, and what you were actually doing.
Now is the time to act, not tomorrow, as tomorrow never comes
At Nicky Snazell Clinic, we are 100% committed to providing the very best treatment we can, and it is exceedingly rare for that treatment not to involve hands-on, allowing our therapists to use the finely honed skills they were taught at university and refined in their years since. We of course incorporate exercises where appropriate and send online exercises with video links direct to the client. The clinic is also very well equipped with technology often only available in private practices and all this technology is available to all therapists to use free of charge.
Our therapists are able to devise meaningful treatment plans with their clients which will optimise the degree and rate of recovery from injury or pain and then go on to provide ongoing maintenance where needed to ensure that the improvements made are retained.
We have the luxury of both an excellent in-house MSK training resource, plus world specialist pain relief skills that attract clients from around the world, skills that are also readily taught in-house. Simply put, a combination of learning opportunities that’s hard to match.
Emma joined us as a MSK physiotherapist after 9 years of feeling restricted.
“I was so frustrated seeing patient after patient, never really helping them as much as I knew I could. It was equivalent to be trained to use a complete toolbox, but only allowed to use one tool.
The best decision I’ve ever made was to join Nicky Snazell Clinic. The breadth of their knowledge and skills still blows me away every day.
When I reflect back, I realise how my enthusiasm for being a physio was wilting. Now I’ve found my passion again and I can’t wait to learn something new and know there are no restrictions on me. I can now use every tool in the toolbox to get the best result possible.”
What Are You Going To Do Today?
There is no one right answer and we are all individuals. If the idea of actually treating MSK problems appeals to you, in an environment of total commitment to providing the best hands-on treatment possible, supported by an abundance of latest technology and ongoing learning from the best, then you should consider applying for an MSK physiotherapist role at Nicky Snazell Clinic.
You can be confident you will be applying for an opportunity at a well recognised facility. We have more Google reviews than most near us put together and we are rated 5.0, the highest possible. Our latest client satisfaction score was 93.5% and we have already taken action to address the improvement opportunities identified.
If this opportunity appeals to you, send in your CV and a covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about our clinic at www.painreliefclinic.co.uk
So, how do you choose your physiotherapy clinic in seven easy steps?
Physiotherapy skills and qualifications
The most important question - is the physiotherapist appropriately qualified and is there any evidence of ongoing learning and development? Although principals remain consistent, the skills and style of approach can be different as can the aftercare. Please make sure you get reassurances of qualifications and can see ongoing development of therapists.
If you need physiotherapy, it is important to consider a local physiotherapist or one that is convenient to you. At Nicky Snazell Clinic we do provide specialist physiotherapy to clients from all over the world who come to Nicky for healing, but in general, we would recommend that you consider a therapist who is within a commutable distance of your work or home location. A commutable distance is 40-60mins for the right care, Nicky Snazell Pain Relief Clinic service; Stafford, Lichfield, Cannock, Rugeley & Stone.
Style of approach
Like people, physiotherapists are all different. While we hope that they all subscribe to the highest possible standards and approaches, it is important that you make sure that from the initial consultation you feel connected with your therapist and their unique style of approach.
Consider the following:
- Have your questions been answered?
- Did you feel a connection with the therapist?
- Are you clear on the next steps?
- Did the therapist explain costs?
Getting to the root cause
Spending time to find the root cause of pain is more important than the treatment itself. We find some clients have pain that is the result of unresolved childhood issues, bereavement and work-stress for example. Without spending the time to really understand your unique situation, often it can be like treating the surface of the problem and not the long-term view of the issue.
Ongoing Physiotherapy care
Once your initial condition and pain are 'fixed', ongoing care is essential. As they say, prevention is better than cure, so periodic check-ups and follow-ups will help ensure that you are maintaining your health. We quite often treat sports injuries and also recommend massage for clients which can relax and rejuvenate you avoiding the aggravation of the problem area.
Sometimes you may receive physiotherapy which can show that you would benefit from other services such as electro-acupuncture, the aforementioned massage. Does your therapist offer other services to support your wellbeing?
A good physiotherapy clinic has a team who can facilitate customer support and great customer service, like helping you to book your appointments, reminders and periodic communication in the form of useful insights, tips and observations to help.
If you are looking for a Physiotherapist why not give our team a call: 01889 881 488
The Physical Assessment
In my three previous blogs on physiotherapy assessment
I discussed concepts and steps which for most will not have been considered and most will have assumed that the physical assessment was the first step.
That is the mistake that so many make, missing out on the vital steps of creating the right environment to build connection and trust and gaining a deeper understanding of your important beliefs. Make that mistake and you are destined to gain so much less.
So the physical part of the assessment. What do we do? Well, in a private room we may ask you to take off some of your clothes, so you might want to be wearing clothes you're comfortable in and can take off quickly. If you're too shy to take off your clothes, just say it, it's not a problem.
Many of the assessments we make at my clinic are not common in the UK or anywhere else in the world. I am fortunate to have studied and qualified at the highest level in specific pain relief techniques and as a result I have learnt and ingrained advanced assessment techniques in myself and the rest of my team.
Then we'll be looking structurally at your skin. What does it look like? How healthy it is? What are the hairs like? Are there hairs missing? Does that mean the nerves are not working properly in that area? What's the temperature of the skin? Is it sweaty? Is it dry? How does the limb move? Does it move normally? If not, it will tell us is it’s likely to be arthritis in the joint that's blocking it. Or is it likely to be a tendon? Or a muscle or ligament? Or is it the nerves? Are they transmitting messages normally?
Or is it the brain? Has your brain created the pain felt in the body, possibly locked in from an emotional trauma many years earlier, even back to when you were a child? Chronic pain is created in many parts of the brain (evident in scans). Mindmapping physiotherapy techniques help to unwire the pain felt in the body.
So we're assessing the physical aspect. And that tells us so much about where we believe the problem is, or which systems are mostly causing the problem. Is it mostly the muscles? Is it mostly the nerves innovating the muscles? Is a blood flow problem? Is it something to do with what you are eating or if you don't move enough you are too weak. Or are you so stressed up, that you’re just pumping out inflammation into the area and you’re getting a more aggressive form of arthritis. And you don't need to. By looking at and at the same time feeling the response of your body, we learn a lot. If we hold a patient's hand that's sore, your eyes tend to move very differently than if you hold part of the body that isn't. Also there's a feeling about the hand, there's a hesitancy and there's a sort of a difference in the tone or strength.
There is so much in our senses, that we pick up on when we're assessing physically. Clearly this can only be done physically, face to face. Most of the above would be totally impossible to achieve by virtual means.
In my next blog Your Physiotherapy Prescription I’ll take you through how we develop a Physiotherapy treatment prescription, or plan, which takes you through the steps needed to achieve a successful outcome and let you get on with your life.
In the meantime, if you are in pain right now and you feel confident we can help, then why not call now. Erica, Jean and Charlotte will be happy to help.
Ok, you are in pain, you have tried the obvious remedies, like pain killers and anti-inflammatories or a bit of exercise, but they didn’t fix the problem. You don’t want to be on drugs for too long, so you are thinking about getting to see a physiotherapist to assess you properly and find out what the problem really is and how best to fix it.
This presents you with a number of problems, such as where is the best physiotherapy clinic to go to and is it experienced with helping your type of problem. If you have friends or family who can provide help, based on their own experiences, then great. If not, the next best thing is to look at Google reviews and /or ask on social media. If you want some help on how to choose a clinic and what you need to ask, then click on this link How to Choose A Physiotherapy Clinic
You may have assumed that a physical assessment will be the first step.
That is the mistake that so many make, missing out the vital steps of creating the right environment to build connection and trust, and gaining a deeper understanding of your important beliefs. Make that mistake and you are destined to gain so much less.
Many of the assessment skills we use at my clinic are not common in the UK or anywhere else in the world. I am fortunate to have studied and qualified at the highest level in specific pain relief techniques and as a result, I have learnt and ingrained advanced assessment techniques in myself and the rest of my team.
Thus today, I want to approach this from a different angle, one you might not have thought of as being important, but trust me, it’s vital to a successful outcome. It’s the environment of the assessment room, and that means not only your room but the physiotherapists as well when the assessment is being done virtually.
You see, we all have an inherent ability to recognise if there is a true focus on the problem and that you are being listened to. If the environment is full of distractions or interruptions, then your physiotherapist’s thoughts will be disrupted and you will sense it. Your physiotherapist needs to be in the present moment, focussed and not allowing other thoughts to clutter up their head.
That’s my number one piece of advice.
Clearly, the environment is much better when you are face to face with the physiotherapist who is assessing you. There’s much less probability of distraction and that vital bond of trust is so much easier to build.
If your physiotherapist practices mindfulness techniques, they will induce a mental state capable of focussed attention on you. Your healing will commence as soon as you sense the caring intention.
I’m going to continue this explanation of how to achieve a successful assessment in more blogs. If you want me to keep with me on this journey, look out for my next instalment ‘The Subjective Physiotherapy Assessment’, which continues to look at this topic from a new perspective.
In the meantime, if you are in pain right now and you feel confident we can help, then why not call now. Erica, Jean and Charlotte will be happy to help.
In my two previous blogs A Different Perspective On Your Physiotherapy Assessment and The Subjective Physiotherapy Assessment, I discussed the importance of getting that connection and really listening to get the patients story. Why are you here, what are your beliefs about treatment?
Now it’s time to go further, honing it down with specific questions about the problem.
Let’s use an example to help illustrate. Someone comes to me and they've had chronic pain in their foot for a very long time. I would be asking questions about the possibility of arthritis. Questions regarding the nervous system. Looking at the way that the body moves. Seeing if the pain is transmitting down from the spinal cord, because it could be a problem in the spine itself and not the foot at all. Having a look at the function of the foot, seeing if biomechanically the patient is walking in a strange way, and is that is making it worse?
How does it feel? How does the tissue feel? Is there any swelling? Are there problems with circulation? Is the sensation there? Are the nerves working properly? Is there an amplification of pain so that when I touch, the tissue is overly sensitive? What are the clues as to what's going on?
This is a very important start to this part of the assessment, which leads to the physical assessment.
To recap, the first part is establishing the connection and the story, the background, the beliefs, the values. The next part is to do with the Four Keys, to do with your immune system and your general health.
The next part is to hone it down into the particular problem today and how it's starting to manifest itself physically.
The final step is to go into the physical, which we can't do remotely by zoom. The physiotherapist has to get hands-on and assess physically, face to face.
In my next blog The Physical Assessment I will delve into the actual hands-on physical assessment. Many of you may have thought that this would be the first step in an assessment and that is the mistake that so many make, missing out on the vital steps of building connection and trust and gaining a deeper understanding of the all-important beliefs of the client. Make that mistake and you are destined to gain so much less.
In the meantime, if you are in pain right now and you feel confident we can help, then why not call now. Erica, Jean and Charlotte will be happy to help
I get asked a lot of questions about physiotherapy assessment. What do we do at my clinic? How do I assess? How do I teach assessing?
In my previous blog A Different Perspective On Your Physiotherapy Assessment, I mentioned that the first and most important thing is to have a safe, quiet environment that builds a connection and trust. If you don't feel that with your physiotherapist, you're not going to want to proceed to any kind of medicine or treatment and your outcome won't be as successful. There won't be that connection.
To recap, the most important thing for the patient is that the physiotherapist has created a sacred space, a quiet office, where the phones are switched off, the computer is not a distraction, and you eyeball each other to get that connection. And then your physiotherapist listens to your story. And how you describe what's going on with you. And then, in that moment of connection, your physiotherapist can get glimpses of the real authentic self behind the story, who you really are.
Once your physiotherapist glimpses the story of the problem, he or she can start to elicit some background which is past medical history. So we'll ask questions like the health of your family to see if there are relevant genetic links. We may also explore your beliefs and values and more about your family so we'll know how difficult it is for you to attend and for you to have the necessary treatment. We may touch on your past experiences of treatment because if you've been scared or let down previously, you're going to have very different expectations. We need to address that head-on.
And then, of course, my favourite four keys questions (see my first book ‘The Four Keys To Health’ available on Amazon), which looks into your mindset, lifestyle, fitness and what you eat. All these help us assess how well your immune system is working, and your general health, which helps refine our treatment prescription.
That, in a nutshell, is the first part of the physiotherapy assessment.
In my next blog ‘The Subjective Physiotherapy Assessment – Part 2’ I will continue on this journey of helping you understand how to really get the most out of this process.
In the meantime, if you are in pain right now and you feel confident we can help, then why not call now. Erica, Jean and Charlotte will be happy to help.
How can I relieve neck pain? The first thing to understand is how this happened, neck pain can be caused by other conditions such as muscle weakness in the shoulders, perhaps lifestyles such as workplace seating or even sports. Take a moment to consider what could be causing yours. While doing this, think about the type of pain you have. Is it a strain or a trapped nerve?
What does a trapped nerve in neck feel like?
A trapped never typically feels more painful in certain positions, and the pain again can be shooting, described as electric or pulsing. A trapped nerve can throb and jolt when you are moving. A strain usually feels more like a burn or a tear; these sensations can be confusing, so please do not worry if you struggle to distinguish between the two - Our team can help you understand this better and decide the best ways to help you.
How long does neck strain take to heal?
A strain can take between 24-hours and a week to recover. If you are concerned Nicky Snazell can help you with pain relief, it is still worth considering what caused this. The underlying source is always the best way to provide you with long-term pain relief, and maintenance can reduce reoccurrence.
What is the fastest way to fix a stiff neck?
If you are not ready to consider treatment, we recommend gentle stretches and a gentle massage in-between cooling and warming treatments like an ice-pack and a hot water bottle/wheat/rice bag. Be careful when doing this yourself. If you are unsure how to manage this effectively, contact us.
Which massage is best for neck pain?
This depends on how you got the neck pain; if it was doing sports, then as you might expect, sports massage could be the proper treatment. Typically, massage is the right treatment for neck pain; manipulating the soft tissue can relax the problem and promote blood flow and healing.
Where can you go for help with neck pain?
Nicky Snazell pain relief clinic in Stafford can help with neck pain. Please view this page for more information on neck pain, or contact us. Our experienced team of physiotherapists will help you navigate your pain and provide the most effective advice to help you long term.
With the daily media bombardment about COVID, it is no wonder that fear is generally growing. Fear of the social impact of another lockdown, fear of the uncertainty of our livelihoods and even fear of our very existence. Staffordshire has announced that it will go to Tier 2 at midnight on Friday and this will inevitably raise the fear factor higher.
Mental health has taken a back step with this pandemic and never before in my working life has there been so much anxiety, loneliness and grief hidden away in society.
Your pain, whether physical, mental or both, isn’t going to disappear and many of you are going to need a lot of help in the coming months. Increasingly, we are being asked to help guide people through these difficult times both mentally and spiritually, the latter problems only serving to multiply the actual physical pain.
We Are Staying Open
We know that stress lowers our immunity and raises our sensitivity to pain. Gold standard trials have also proven a relationship between lifestyle stressors and white cell count. What this means is that stress, if left untreated, will slow down your ability to heal, plus worsen your response to pain, inflammation and disease. Yet psychosocial pain is, I believe, wrongly still an afterthought in western medicine, even though more often than not, it holds the key to hidden trauma and deep emotional stress.
At this clinic, we have long recognised the importance of looking at the whole person, rather than just the location of pain. That’s why, even though I am highly qualified in western medical techniques, I have written 5 books on a more holistic approach. In my first book, The 4 Keys To Health, I introduced a simple traffic light scoring system which encompassed the psychosocial factors that affect our health and which can cause so much of our pain.
Our goal is thus to help people in all aspects of their health and never before in my lifetime has there been such an urgent need for this approach. Beyond treating your pain, we wish to get you to as close optimum health as possible to help protect your immune system.
That’s why at the clinic we love to build a relationship with our clients to prescribe a tailor-made treatment plan, working out the best way to help with the mind set and adding in massage, and technology such as laser, shockwave, deep oscillation, acupuncture and IMS dry needling.
Keeping Abreast Of Research
We are constantly monitoring recent research to find new techniques to help. As an example, a recent Harvard trial successfully used electroacupuncture to improve survivability in COVID infected mice. This is highly relevant research, as in some cases it has been shown that it is the human bodies over response to COVID infection which has caused excessive inflammation [cytokine storm], leading in some cases to death. The research findings are significant. Electroacupuncture treatment before the cytokine storm increased survivability by a factor of four, from 20% to 80%. When applied after the cytokine storm, survivability increased by three-fold, from 20% to 60%. Both are huge benefits and it emphasises the benefit of preventative treatment.
As a result of our integrative approach to treatment, combining orthodox western medicine with alternative, we routinely carry out electroacupuncture here.
For those of you who need our help, we are open and will continue to be open unless forced to close by government ruling.
None of us know how long this pandemic is going to last, but the expectation is that it’s going to be a long time. If the availability of treatment is shut off there is going to be a drastic rise in pain and suffering. We have already seen this in the lockdown with patients begging us to see them. That’s why I believe it is so important that we stay open in the coming months.
Our patients are so grateful that we are here now to help them with their pain, pain they suffered for months without any help during lockdown. They have bombarded us with thanks. We will continue to stay open and help you unless and until the government dictates otherwise. Sadly, the chances are there will be few, if any, alternatives for you.
Control Your Stress Now And Improve Your Resistance To Disease
While the government is correct to react to rises in cases, we each need to keep in perspective what the tier trigger points represent, so that we can keep better control of our stress. Tier 2 is triggered at 100 per 100,000 population. Put another way, on average you would need to get close to 1000 people before you are likely to be near a COVID positive risk. How likely, if you are careful, are you to interface closely with 1000 people, especially in these troubled times? Maintain social distancing and always wear a mask to reduce your chances of infection further.
What does this tell us? Mix only with people you are reasonably sure act sensibly and act sensibly yourself. Nothing is guaranteed in life, but by acting sensibly and taking all possible precautions, you can use your own positive response to improve your health.
COVID-19 has had a dramatic affect on all our lives and not surprisingly at Nicky Snazell Clinic as well. Our foremost concern is the safety of patients and staff and we strive to stay fully up to date with the almost daily changes and wherever possible keep ahead of the curve. More on that later.
Even if you are an existing patient, but definitely if you are a new patient, we will take you through a screening process to make sure it is safe and justified for you to come in for treatment. There will be quite a few questions, and we ask you to bear with us on this as it’s all in our best interests. For sure, the questions asked will constantly change in line with latest guidelines. Where the risk is deemed higher, then a more detailed assessment will be needed with a physiotherapist, before treatment can be authorised.
Please note that in cases where you may need to be accompanied, then that person also has to pass screening to be allowed on site.
Changes At The Clinic
All of our 13,000 plus patients will know that our aim has always been to create a welcoming, peaceful and relaxing environment from the moment you walk in the door. Well that of course, to an extent, went out the door when we adjusted rapidly to the pandemic. Our waiting room has been effectively closed and patients are now asked to wait in their cars until their allotted start time. At that point they should come in alone with a face mask on, use the readily available hand sanitiser and their therapist, wearing full PPE, will take them to the treatment room.
At the end of the appointment the therapist will, if necessary, book a follow-on appointment and we then ask that you go to reception, where we have installed protective screens, to pay in advance for the next appointment. To speed this process, we now only take payment by card and by touch whenever possible. Where a payment requires a pin, the terminal is sanitised after use.
We then ask that you leave the clinic immediately as we want to minimise time that patients are in the clinic. Please don’t think we are being rude if we don’t chat as we used to. We are minimising your time on site. We have also staggered the start times between therapists, to avoid multiple patients being on site outside of a treatment room at the same time.
All rooms are sanitised between treatments and thus treatment times will be slightly shorter. In addition, we use a spray which lasts up to 5 hours on surfaces and this is used on all common touch points every 3 hours. Thus, for example, when you open the door to come in, you can be sure that the handle and surrounding woodwork will have been sprayed and is as safe as is practical.
We understand of course that some patients will need to use the toilet and we request that if needed, you first advise us so that we can sanitise after each use. Note, however, that the toilet is also thoroughly sanitised every 3 hours with our 5 hour effective spray. Please try to avoid the need to use our facilities wherever possible.
We require that you use a face mask which covers your mouth and nose at all times while inside the clinic. All of the available scientific information supports the need to wear masks inside a building. It is important for each of us to realise that wearing a mask helps protect those around us from us. By not wearing a mask properly, this would be putting our staff at additional risk and this is not acceptable.
Patients at times have found difficulty in wearing a mask, but we politely request that you must do so for the short time on site. Bear in mind that our staff are in full PPE all day to protect you.
Patients who do not comply with this request may be refused further treatment.
We also need your help in running to time. It is vital that you have vacated the treatment room on time, leaving sufficient time for the room to be sanitised. Any overrun will mean that patients will be held in the waiting room and this is not acceptable.
Payment In Advance
We have changed our payment procedure, as we now ask for payment in full at time of booking and in 99.9% of cases this has been fully understood and accepted. On one or two occasions, however, patients have misunderstood our reasoning for this. We have made this change by necessity, as many patients leave the building immediately after their treatment and it would be totally unworkable for us to have to continuously call patients to take payment. We had to come up with a single system for all, so this change is not a reflection on any one patient.
Staying Ahead Of The Curve
Part of our role is to stay up to speed with the ongoing changes caused by our government updates, but in addition, we, and in fact all of us, can choose to operate more safely if we wish. An example would be that last night Scotland announced that most COVID-19 infections were caused by meeting people from outside our household within our homes and thus banned this. In England a more relaxed position has been taken. It is, however, up to us to decide which position is more in our best interest. If we at the clinic feel it worthwhile to use more strict guidelines to help protect all, then we reserve the right to do so.
Having lived in the USA twice, I personally check in on their news channels and in particular I look for information from Dr Anthony Fauci, who is the USA’s leading disease expert, having been advisor to the last six Presidents. He talks more openly and simply than we tend to get in the UK. He is also completely apolitical and is only interested in scientific proof. There is also a wealth of real world, scientifically based information put out by Dr Sanjay Gupta.
Yesterday Dr Gupta interviewed Dr Fauci and for those who want a better insight and understanding of where we are right now, then I recommend you watch the interview on YouTube.
For those who don’t have time to watch this, here are some snippets:
- Dr Fauci is optimistic that a vaccine may be ready for approval by November or December, based on the limited results available in the small-scale phase one and two trials. But, and this is a big but, the all important large scale phase 3 trials are double blind, placebo controlled trials and so even he has no idea what the current results are. In fact, nobody does, except one or two statisticians who see unblinded results. In simple terms, a double blind trial means that only the statisticians know who is getting the placebo and who is getting the vaccine being tested, not even the manufacturers, as the trial is conducted by an independent group. This is the gold standard for scientific testing and is not something that can be politically manipulated.
- The best advice is that we must all wear face masks if social distancing can’t be maintained.
- What we didn’t know a few months ago was that 40% to 45% of COVID positive people were asymptomatic, nor were we aware that a substantial proportion of the infections were coming from those who were without symptoms. That makes it overwhelmingly important to wear a mask.
- There is a suggestion that some of the virus droplets in the air may be light enough to hang around and circulate, thus acting as an aerosol. The facts are we don’t know yet, but in many respects, it doesn’t matter. It just emphasises the advice given: wear a mask, keep your distance, avoid crowds, wash hands regularly, ventilate rooms.
- Yes, the elderly are more at risk, but people with underlying conditions, at any age, are at risk.
The overwhelming issue is that we all need to get on with our lives while we minimise our risk during this pandemic. We believe we are taking every possible step to minimise that risk and that we have created a far safer environment than most.
Take care, be safe, think of others
Some of you may remember the time when there was a national outcry about the so-called ‘post code lottery’ with the treatment on offer from the NHS varying dependent on where you lived.
Subsequently a new organisation, NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) was setup to take responsibility for authorising which treatments should be made available in the NHS. Those treatments approved were then to be made available by the NHS equally to everybody and thus put an end to the so-called post code lottery.
NICE thus has essentially total control of what the NHS can and cannot offer. Their published guidelines are broadcast by the press, radio and TV and as such the general public are influenced by the NICE recommendations. This in turn has an indirect impact on private healthcare providers, as the public perception on what is good, bad and ugly will align with what they see and read in the media.
Acupuncture In The NHS
Over recent years acupuncture acceptance in the NHS has generally been in decline, with some regions considering it quackery, using the NICE guidelines as support, while others still considered it a valuable treatment. Some of our own therapists who worked part time with us, and full time at the NHS, reported being banned from using acupuncture in the NHS and they came to us to retain their skills in what they considered a beneficial treatment.
Back Pain and Acupuncture
For a number of years NICE considered acupuncture as a Gold standard treatment for back pain. Then this decision was reversed, and acupuncture was considered as ineffective in treating back pain and this situation has persisted until recently. This was equivalent to swinging from the top end of a scale to the bottom.
New NICE Guidelines
On 3rd August 2020, NICE published a draft clinical guideline
“commonly used drugs for chronic primary pain have little or no evidence that they work and should not be prescribed. Instead it recommended that people with chronic pain should be offered supervised exercise programmes, some types of psychological therapy, or acupuncture”
Now this situation is nothing new. It has been known for years that the prescription of some drugs, such as opiates, are ineffective with chronic pain and yet have been overprescribed to the extent that it has caused an opiate dependency crisis. In the USA, the majority of drug addicts have been created by prescription drugs. Think about that for a minute. Ok, it is not so bad here in the UK, but the issues are the same.
Until the COVID pandemic hit us worldwide, the opiate crisis was very high profile and during that time Nicky was asked by 30 radio stations across the USA to speak and advise on other methods for treating chronic pain. In this she talked about the evidence of the inappropriateness of certain drugs on chronic pain and at the same time talked of the benefits and success she had seen when using acupuncture and even more so with dry needling. With over 13,000 patients and 30 years of treating, she had had a massive opportunity to see the evidence of the benefits of needling. So much so that we have quietly ignored NICE guidelines at her clinic.
NICE To Know We Were Right
So now NICE has done it’s second U turn and acupuncture is recommended again for chronic pain, something we have persisted with throughout our existence. Of course, it’s far too early to know what impact this will have on the NHS. While we would like it to be lifted out of the quackery branding, this will take quite some time, no doubt. That, however, is not our concern.
What Does It Mean For You?
For those who have been to our clinic for treatment, some travelling hundreds of miles or more, you will have most likely experienced our acupuncture skills. Some of you will have experienced and gained the benefits of dry needling.
For sure, the media is going to be talking about the benefits of treating chronic pain with acupuncture. That in turn is going to increase the demand for this type of treatment and raise the confidence level in the general public that this type of treatment can help them. This in itself is of tremendous importance as a positive mindset is so important to outcome.
Better yet, we can offer more effective treatments for chronic pain and at the very highest level available in the world.
Nicky Snazell is trained to the highest level in GunnIMS and worked directly with Professor Gunn, the forefather of todays dry needling. She has taught IMS internationally and is teaching her skills to the team at our clinic.
We have also recently added Jon Hobbs to our team. Jon is Chairman of the UK’s Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP), the body responsible for setting the standards of acupuncture training for all physiotherapists in the UK, whether private or in the NHS. Jon is also one of the worlds’ leading acupuncture trainers and is passing his knowledge to our team during in house training.
The benefit to you is that you can be sure that our clinic has skills and knowledge which is at the very highest level in the UK. And now we have national support ………. again.
If you, or someone you know, is suffering chronic pain, then please contact us. We can help.