Back Pain and Sciaitica – Penn Farm Physio in South Cambridge is here to help.

What is sciatica?

Are discs like Jelly Doughnuts?

Can your disc slip?

Is your nerve trapped or pinched?

Is there a best exercise?

Is surgery a good option?

Is there a quick fix? – often no.

Please click here to watch a very informative and research based video, regarding the above questions. For a specialist assessment regarding your sciatic symptoms and an individually tailored rehabilitation programme please click here to book an appointment at Penn Farm Physio.

Neck Pain – Cambridge Physiotherapist

Because of the rising popularity of media devices such as smartphones and computers, frequent users often exhibit sustained posture.

Forward head posture (FHP) is a habitual neck posture and is defined by hyperextension of the upper cervical vertebrae and forward translation of the cervical vertebrae.

Thoracic Kyphosis is a complication of the combination of slouched-forward shoulders and rounded upper back which can lead to a painful shortening of the muscles of the back of the neck, as well as loading of the neck vertebra.

Due to the increased compressive forces through the neck joints and increased muscle tension, pain is the common outcome. Some of the types of problems associated with FHP are:


Neck discomfort

Muscle tension in the neck and shoulders

Discomfort in the mid back

Pain, pins & needles and numbness in the arms and hands

Many people develop chronic or recurrent problems and receive treatment for the pain (e.g. pain killers or anti-inflammatory medication) but never receive treatment for the underlying cause which is their FHP.

Please click here for a great video on how to optimise your posture when using a laptop.

However, please remember that no one posture is good, its about movement and changing positions frequently. Click here to make an appointment with one of our specialist physiotherapist who can provide you with an individualised assessment to help reduce your postural related back pain.

A Physio Near Me can help with multiple co-morbid issues. WHO 2020 Guidelines on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour

The WHO Guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour provide evidence-based public health recommendations for children, adolescents, adults and older adults on the amount of physical activity (frequency, intensity and duration) required to offer significant health benefits and mitigate health risks. For the first time, recommendations are provided on the associations between sedentary behaviour and health outcomes, as well as for subpopulations, such as pregnant and postpartum women, and people living with chronic conditions or disability.

An example of this is regarding adults – physical activity confers benefits for the following health outcomes: improved all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, incident hypertension, incident site-specific
cancers, incident type-2 diabetes, mental health (reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression); cognitive health, and sleep; measures of adiposity may also improve.
Adults should also do musclestrengthening activities at
moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week. Click here for the full paper.

Here in South Cambridgeshire, Penn Farm Physio can help guide you through a structured / graded exercise programme to help optimise your overall health and quality of life. Click here to book an appointment.

Cambridge Physiotherapy – Safe exercise at home: Patient resources.

Just come across this really useful website which provides structured exercise regimes for the older population, with different levels of function.

Please click here to access this great resource.

Regular physical activity and exercise are vital for older people. They help maintain fitness, strength and balance, and can improve thinking and mood. This assists older people in maintaining their ability to do daily activities and live independently.


Public health guidelines recommend all older people should be active every day.

Our specialist physiotherapist, here at Penn Farm Physiotherapy in South Cambridgeshire, aim to‘Keep You Active’. Please click here to book an appointment for a personalised assessment and management programme to optimise your everyday!.

South Cambridge Physio – We feel your persistent pain!

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is usually defined as pain that persists beyond the normal time that tissues take to heal following an injury. Most soft tissue injuries heal up within 6-12 weeks, although some can take several months to completely heal.

If a pain continues longer than 3-6 months, it is usually described by pain specialists as “chronic” or “persistent” pain. It is helpful to understand the differences between chronic, persistent pain and acute pain.

Acute pain: short-term pains act as an alarm, telling us that something is wrong. While most minor pains are easily treated and quickly forgotten, others are a sign of something more serious that we shouldn’t ignore. For example, the pain of a broken leg is helpful because it makes us rest the leg until it heals.

Chronic pain: persistent pain though often serves no useful purpose. The pain messages linked to long-term conditions such as back pain or arthritis are not helpful, and can be annoying and sometimes devastating.

Over time, the pain may affect how we function, including our ability to work and our sleep patterns. It can also have a negative effect on our family and friends.

The causes of chronic pain are not always clear but in some conditions the pain is thought to be due to the pain signals through the nerve fibres becoming confused. The brain is then unable to understand the signals properly. Chronic pain can affect any part of the body and people of any age, including children.

The nerve network associated with chronic pain is also linked to those parts of the brain concerned with emotions. So, pain can affect our emotions, and our emotions can affect our pain. If we are angry, depressed or anxious, for example, the pain often feels worse. If we are feeling positive and happy, we may experience less pain and will often be better able to cope. Pain then is never “just in the mind” or “just in the body”, but a complex mix affecting our whole being.

The relationship between body and mind is complex, so it is important to seek help for any aspect of your condition that you might be struggling with, physical or mental.

How is chronic pain managed?

If your pain persists and becomes chronic then the emphasis might shift more to managing the condition and minimising its impact on your life, rather than necessarily finding a cure.

Some treatments are available which can reduce the pain intensity. For example, you might be prescribed medication, from simple pain-killers to more complex drugs. Other treatments to help reduce the pain include “hands on” treatments, massage and acupuncture, although the benefits of these treatments tend to wear off after each treatment session.

Another way of managing long-term pain is to find ways to reduce the impact of the pain on overall quality of life. This might include learning relaxation techniques, developing goal-setting skills, and learning ways of improving sleep quality.

You could be referred to a specialist pain clinic or a specific pain management programme. Some pain clinics have teams of expert healthcare professionals including doctors, psychologists and physiotherapists. However, pain clinics are not available in every area.

Click here for a very good web site and video to further expand on this.

Click here to make an appointment with one of our specialist physiotherapist to help you move forwards to manage your pain.

Preserving muscle strength and function in old age – South Cambs Physios can help!

Old age is more often associated with a progressive loss of muscle mass, strength and functional performance. Climbing the stairs, getting out of a low chair or getting up from the floor can feel difficult. This form of loss of muscle mass is often regarded as a ‘given‘ or ‘normal healthy ageing‘.  However, the good news is this is not always or need not be the case. This loss of strength and function can be attributed more to a change of lifestyle as we age and retire. We often becoming more sedentary and reduce the amount of exercise we do, rather than normal changes associated with ageing.

 ” Use it or lose it”

The loss of muscle bulk and function appears to be a natural ageing process in sedentary adults, not healthy active ones.

8 Top tips for building or maintaining  healthy muscle .

  • Exercise four times per week. Combine the following:  Slow controlled resistance training such as weight training or the use of body weight (Squats, Calf raisers, Push-ups) or resistance bands, and brisk Aerobic workouts such as walking, cycling or Swimming.
  • Seek an achievable and sustainable programme of exercises backed up by a physiotherapist. Avoid generic advice and programmes off the internet.
  • Make sure exercise is fun and enjoyable. This way you are more likely to stick at it.
  • Try something new like Dancing or Nordic walking. These forms of exercise, with a group of like minded people can keep you motivated and stimulate you to work harder.
  • Gardening for 1 hour or longer.
  • Take a look at your general lifestyle and look for changes you can make. Walking instead of using the car, or just better time management to allow quality time to devote to exercise.
  • Yoga and Pilates! These are not just a gentle stretch or slow workouts on mats. They can work you very hard and build strength.
  • Sleep well. Sleep is when the body heals and muscle building is at its greatest. If you are a poor sleeper look at ways of switching off and relaxing your brain before bed. Try to stick to a regular bed time as routine really does help.
  • Regular activity can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, some cancers, depression and dementia.
  • Moving more helps your thinking skills – like problem-solving, decision-making and remembering facts and words.
  • Being active can lessen aches and pains, help you stay steady on your feet and boost your mood.

Please click here for more information about exercise and aging.

Here at Penn Farm Physio we aim to keep you active. Please click here for a personalised physiotherapy assessement.

NB: It is always wise to get the all clear from your General Practitioner before any vigorous programme of exercise.