Category Archives: positive

Follow up on Lumbar Nerve Irritation – Updated

I saw John a while ago in the spring with a really sore upper back – due to my posture whilst working and using a rucksac with a road bike. John helped stretch me out by moving gently rotating my shoulders. It was amazing how the range of motion increased during the session. He also suggested that I should do more cardio work so that my rib-cage massaged my spine. Since this was caused by my everyday habits it’s difficult to fix with exercises and I need to work on how I’m using my body in day-to-day activities.

I felt much more comfortable afterwards, and made efforts to try and engage my mind to ensure my core continues to work all the time. So far this is going ok, but its something I have to be aware of and I noticeably deteriorate when I havn’t been keeping up with my exercises. I’m also finding when I overdo aerobic exercise (running or cycling) I do feel a little uncomfortable afterwards.

I was previously seeing John for a knee pain caused by lumber nerve irritation due to a core muscle weakness. I’ve been doing Pilates lessons for about a year which has given me a much better appreciation of how my body is working and how all the muscles in the core area engage. I feel it’s “woken up” my stomach area. I’ve also found John’s online information really useful with some good advice and exercises to try. I’m trying to be careful about how much exercise I do – little and often, so that the right muscle groups are worked out and I don’t fall back in bad habits which happens when I’m tired. I’m currently working towards running the Bristol half Marathon at the end of this month. So far it’s going ok and I’m feeling hopeful that I will finish the half marathon comfortably.

Learn to Run with AAA – “A more effective and quieter run, with much less energy wastage”.

With a few duathlons and road runs under my belt, I am inspired to step up the training and start planning 2012 competions.

However, after doing  a period of faster runs, I found I was having calf and back pain. Quite frustrating when you really want to do something and your creaky old body is letting you down.

I hadn’t previously given much thought to my running technique, but after seeking some physio treatment from John, I was shown that my weakness in core strength and incorrect arm swinging was causing my pelvis to rotate, my hip to drop, putting a considerable stress on my back.

Diagram showing hip drop
Hip drop - a very common and fixable running problem!

I found John’s running workshop a fantastic learning curve. The exercises were so effective and the results were seen and felt straight away.  A more effective and quieter run, with much less energy wastage. The techniques may  take some practicing before they become as natural to me as my old bad habits  were, but I’m on the case!

John is extremely knowledgeable and makes thing easy to understand , with clear explanations on how and why things work/ don’t work.

I would definitely recommend “Learning to Run with AAA”.(From

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Neural flossing for Heel Pain with Sports Physio John Stephenson

Plantar fasciitis – right-wing vegetable, or heel condition that’s preventing me from running?

The latter, definitely the latter.

But Physio John is on the case and I’ve had my first two sessions of physio to get me up and running again. At the first introductory session I was introduced to exercises which John referred to as ‘neural flossing’ – lying on my back with left knee (the side affected) bent, raised and held across my body and then extended with three different foot positions to ’floss’ the neural connections between foot, calves, thighs and back. These connections are clearly not working as they should as John demonstrated to me with tests that showed my left leg and foot lacking the strength of the right.

How to do Lower Limb Neural Flossing - Click for Video
How to do Lower Limb Neural Flossing - Click for Video

He also suggested my sitting position at work – usually a little hunched – wasn’t helping, and so I’ve been working on that, clearing the clutter on my desk that gets in the way of a more healthy posture and trying to get rid of the mental clutter that doesn’t help either…

I had my second session on Friday, reporting that in spite of flossing neutrally for the last week that things hadn’t really improved, or perhaps only marginally. John said not to worry, that these things take time… We also looked in more detail at my sitting posture and even as I write his words are ringing in my ears and my lower back gently pushed forward and my shoulders square.

I had my second session on Friday. This time I took away with me an exercise that had me slowly arching my back while lying flat, working along the spine like wallpaper being plastered, as well as a much better sense that the problem in my left heel is a problem not just of the foot but of my whole body. This holistic, interconnected approach makes sense to me, but like a lot of people I need reminding of it from time to time. And so I’ve already been looking into yoga classes and thinking of other ways I can improve my general health and wellbeing…

The best news though was that twenty-four hours later and after a day full of walking in shoes probably not ideal for a heel condition, I’ve noticed a definite improvement. It’s redoubled my determination to do my homework and improve my posture.

It’s not running, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction…