CLAIRE SANDERSON is a physiotherapist and trained at Guy’s Hospital School of Physiotherapy, London in 1990. She worked in various London hospitals and then for five years at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, and Somersham and Papworth GP Surgeries. She started working in private practice in 1999 and opened The Gingerbread Clinic in August 2011.

Claire treats all musculoskeletal conditions in particular back pain, neck pain and headaches, but over the years she has developed a special interest in persistent pain and more recently the rehabilitation of dancers and patients with dystonia. She has a hands-on approach and use soft tissue massage and mobilisation of joints to settle acute pain in the first stages of treatment.

Claire has undertaken muscle imbalance courses and later the APPI (Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute) modified Pilates courses leading to becoming a certified Pilates Instructor in mat-work and large equipment. In her clinic she uses a reformer, trapeze table and split pedal chair (spring based equipment) to assess and treat faulty movement patterns. She also runs small classes in order to consolidate movement patterns that she has taught patients during individual treatment sessions.

Claire’s philosophy is to make the most of the body we have, within the constraints we may have, and to keep that body going for as long as possible. In order to do this it is important to get back the normal movement of all the joints and to regain each person’s normal muscle length and nerve glide. No-one’s body is perfect and it is normal to have wear and tear changes- it is about keeping mobility of joints and muscles and re-gaining good postural control.

Claire believes it is possible to influence your own pain and therefore feel more in control and more able to manage your own body. Part of this is to learn to think differently about pain, by understanding that persistent pain is like an alarm system that has had its volume turned up. Research shows that pain can be changed and this starts with our brains.

In her experience, a significant amount of pain originates from inappropriately over-firing muscles, as a result of faulty movement patterns or compensations due to pain. This leads to decreased neural mobility and therefore further adaptive shortening of muscles with a resulting abnormal pull on the joints and so further pain. Thus, a vicious circle can be set up. Therefore, it is vital to correct faulty movement patterns (which may have contributed to the pain in the first place) and promote normal movement with correct movement patterns in daily life.

Claire has written a book for patients to use to manage and reduce their pain and get back to normal movement. This is written as an easy to use manual with photos and point by point instructions.