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January 2017 / Style & Wellbeing / by Ali Howard

Back to health

A niggling back twinge might not be the most painful thing you’ve ever suffered, but one thing’s for sure – it can seriously chip away at your wellbeing. This time of year we’re bombarded with ‘New Year, New You’ articles telling us to get fit, eat healthier, and detox our minds for a stress-free new start. But how often do we resolve to take better care of our backs? Realising I’d been putting up with said niggle in the centre of my spine for far too long, I decided to take action and, having discovered the London Wellness Centre, I’m beginning 2017 happier, healthier and miraculously, noticeably straighter!

Joanna Lowry-CorryMy miracle worker is one Joanna Lowry-Corry, London Wellness Centre’s chiropractor and clinical director. Having been to an osteopath a couple of times since having my child – a glorious life milestone but one that can have continuing implications for the old skeleton – I had some idea of what to expect. But I soon discover that with the incredibly informed and passionate Joanna, the devil’s in the detail. My appointment begins with a thorough health assessment that takes in everything from family history to previous surgeries, diet to current exercise regime (or in my case, dire lack of), to stress and mental wellbeing. There’s pretty much nothing Joanna doesn’t know about me – and that’s before she’s even assessed my spine.

So back to the back: I’m asked to assign my pain a number between one and ten. I give it a modest three. I can sleep at night but when sat at a desk all day there’s definitely an uncomfortable throb. Joanna takes all sorts of measurements as I stand up in my socks before I’m asked to lie on the bed and together, we work through a number of resistance exercises to determine my body’s strengths and weaknesses. I had no idea certain muscles weren’t working as well as they could, and that there was a discrepancy between my left and right sides, with certain areas being either over- or under-utilised. Joanna talks me through her findings with the help of a life-size spine and pelvis model and, astounded by her anatomical knowledge, it’s revelation after revelation for me. I learn about how the spine works as a central highway with messages being sent all over the body; how everything is linked and if one area is out of whack there’s compensation elsewhere; how the brain can effectively stop sending messages to muscles that are under-stimulated: all of it is really fascinating – even for someone whose scientific knowledge is, at best, questionable.

My immediate treatment involves a number of seemingly violent but actually seriously satisfying ROCK, ROCK, CRACK!s – it’s literally breathtaking but I know I’m in safe hands with Joanna. She recommends a bespoke course of treatment for me and reinforces the idea that now, maintenance is everything. The London Wellness Centre offers complementary treatments such as massage and acupuncture to help you keep up the good work, and of course, they’ll tell you that prevention is infinitely preferable to putting up with pain. I make a new year’s resolution to look after my poor, neglected spine from now on. After all, it’s got to carry me for the rest of my life – and what’s more important that that?

Canary Wharf: Port East Building, West India Quay, 14 Hertsmere Road, E14 and London Bridge: The Studio, 52 Weston Street, London, SE1 (020 7531 4444; thisislondonwellness.com