Sarah Key Method

The Sarah Key Method was developed by widely published Australian physiotherapist Sarah Key.  The method recognises the biomechanical breakdown of normal function in the spine, often as a result of poor posture and modern working ways, but highlights the potential in reversing some of this breakdown and promoting independent management for the future.

The method proposes that in most cases, back pain is a result of a spinal segment becoming stiff and jammed, and not moving properly, like a stuck link in a bike chain.  Resulting muscle spasm and dysfunctional movement can exacerbate the problem.  If this segment can be found and treated (using manual therapy, or joint mobilisation), and encouraged to stay mobile, the problem can be resolved, or at least well managed.

The method is unique in 4 ways:

5 stages of spinal breakdown

As thoroughly discussed in Sarah’s ‘Back Sufferers’ Bible’, spinal problems often follow a pattern of progression, with patients moving from one stage to the next.  Understanding what is going on is crucial for patients, and often reassuring, so following your assessment, we can explain which stage we think you are in, and guide treatment and exercises appropriately.

Mobilisation with the heel

While we often still use our hands as well, Sarah Key therapists are also trained to mobilise the spine using the heel.  This is highly effective as the broad surface area can be used to apply focused pressure in a much more comfortable way than pokey thumbs and fingers.  The gradual, broad-based pressure often uncovers issues that have not been found with the fingers, and facilitates relaxation and a ‘letting-go’ of muscle tension.

The Back Block exercise routine

Unless you are very acute, expect to be sent home with the Back Block exercise routine.  This gem of an exercise routine, if done properly can be life changing.  So simple, easy to do anywhere, and suitable for all levels, it takes only 5-10 minutes to complete and can help ward away future back issues.

The Back Block routine rights the wrongs of the modern day (sitting, weight training, poor postures), and if done daily, promotes disc metabolism and healthy, effective spinal mechanics.  Spinal decompression, gentle knee rocking and reverse curls can make a world of difference.

Identifies the importance of bending

For many patients, bending is scary.  Bending may be painful.  And for many patients, the world has forever told them not to bend if they have a bad back.  The Sarah Key Method takes away this old belief, and replaces it with the reassurance that bending promotes fluid exchange in the spinal discs, opens up stiff facet joints and maximises the potential of the spine we were designed to have.  We will teach you how to progress bending from the point you are at, and help you to use this to bring movement and health back to your spine.

The aim of treatment is to find your stiff segment (plus other relevant findings) and facilitate movement here with joint mobilisation, then send you away to continue easing out movement, rehydrating your discs and improving muscular control.  While we would love to ‘unlock’ your stiff segment at the first session, and some patients notice big changes straight away, complex cases may require a few sessions to achieve long-lasting benefit from the treatment.

Physiotherapists are trained to recognise and apply a range of treatment approaches when managing patients with back pain.  Post-graduate training courses and clinical experience shape the practice of experienced clinicians, so while we may focus predominantly on one method of treatment, please be aware that other approaches are considered.

 

Chiropractor North Sydney | Friendly & experienced