Therapist Spotlight: Claire Gurney, physiotherapist and clinical Pilates instructor at Treat
This week we interview Treat’s talented physiotherapist, Claire Gurney. In this blog she tells us how physiotherapy can help a wide variety of conditions and more about how she integrates Pilates into her approach…
How can physiotherapy help. Is it just for bad backs?
It’s true, physiotherapy is well-known for helping people with back problems but it’s also good for anyone who needs support in managing pain, mobility, balance or motor function. Often people come to me after surgery or an injury. In addition to helping with back pain and recent injuries, physiotherapy is also great for helping with long term conditions such as arthritis, neck and shoulder problems, temporomandibular (TMJ) issues. It can help women during pregnancy and post-natal recovery.
Can you tell us more about your background and what areas of physio you specialise in?
I graduated as a physiotherapist in 2019 and have worked in a few different roles for the NHS and in private practice, before fully investing in my own business this year. I specialise in "musculoskeletal" physiotherapy, treating people with muscle and joint problems including back pain, arthritis, post-surgical recovery. I also specialise in temporomandibular (TMJ) problems related to the jaw, which can lead to headaches. I also work in women’s health, helping women with pregnancy or post-natal concerns, as well as menopause-related physical heath issues.
What did you do before physiotherapy, Claire?
I worked as an exercise and Pilates instructor and massage therapist for years before training as a physio. I taught exercise classes for people with health conditions such as arthritis, back pain, breast cancer, heart and respiratory conditions. Many of these conditions can be managed well with a suitable exercise programme, once the person has been cleared by a medical professional. I discovered that I really enjoyed learning about and advising on different health problems, and my clients were benefiting by becoming stronger, more independent and active. During some of my cardiac rehab exercise specialist training, I worked alongside physiotherapists. I soon realised I too wanted to do something similar and help more people. I then applied to UEA to do a master’s degree in physiotherapy and the rest is history.
Why did you decide to integrate Pilates into your approach?
The use of Pilates is great in treating back and joint health and managing long term conditions. When I used to predominantly teach circuit-based and aerobic forms of exercise, I started doing Pilates to improve my own core fitness and manage the odd bout of shoulder pain. I really enjoyed the approach and started to integrate some of the exercises into my classes, with good results. I then trained to teach Pilates classes and found people really enjoyed the classes and 1:1 lessons, experiencing improvements in their balance, posture, core strength and physical heath too. These days I often teach Pilates exercises to my physiotherapy clients, as the exercises can be very effective at improving a wide range of health issues including back pain and pelvic floor dysfunction. I either incorporate some Pilates exercises into my physio client sessions or I can also offer 1:1 Pilates classes too.
Tell us more about what a session involves.
An initial physiotherapy session includes a discussion about your present and previous injuries and health problems. We will then identify some of your personal goals targeted towards recovery e.g. to get back to playing golf after back pain.
This is then followed by a physical assessment involving posture screening, movement tests and an examination of the area in question, to help me identify the problem. I’ll then decide what treatments are needed to aid your recovery. This appointment might also include some treatment e.g. massage or acupuncture and some exercises for you to practice at home. The exercises are emailed to you after the session.
Follow-up appointments are shorter check-ups to assess your progress and allow for questions, any further assessments, treatment and an exercise review.
How long is a session, how much does it cost and how many sessions will people need?
An initial appointment is £60 for 45 minutes, follow-up appointments are £45 for 30 minutes. Most people need around 4-10 sessions depending on their problem, activity levels or goals and length of time they’ve had the issue. I work Monday to Friday and there are some evening slots available too. Check out the booking system and my calendar on the Treat website for more.
Tell us more about you, Claire. What do you like doing in your spare time?
I enjoy running, dance-based exercise classes, Pilates, yoga and travelling to explore other places in the UK and abroad.
To book with Claire:
Treat is a Norwich-based Health & Wellbeing Clinic. Founder and acupuncturist - Rebecca Geanty - started Norwich Acupuncture Rooms in 2011. Offering a cross section of therapies and a community multi-bed clinic. Norwich Acupuncture Rooms expanded into Treat in 2016 and was located at Capitol House in Norwich. However, in January 2022, Rebecca and her business partner David renovated the old Dyers Arm pub on Lawson Road in NR3. Today Treat therapists offer over 50 different health and wellbeing therapies, beauty and spa services.