‘ask Sarah’

Ask Sarah’ is your chance to join Sarah's Public Forum on back pain and back problems. She will try to answer your questions - not only those of her own patients, but anyone worldwide in need of her opinion or advice. Obviously it doesn’t replace ‘hands-on’ but you can ask her about any back-related topic you like: about your back pain, back pain prevention, general questions about spine surgery, the best bed for a bad back. You name it. 

But remember, it’s public!   


AS OF 1 JUNE 2014 - 'ASK SARAH' IS MOVING TO FACEBOOK!  SO PLEASE ENTER YOUR QUESTIONS HERE: SARAH KEY PHYSIOTHERAPY FACEBOOK PAGE


BUT THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF YOUR QUESTIONS & SARAH'S ANSWERS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE. SO HAVE A LOOK THERE FIRST AND SEE IF YOUR QUESTION HAS ALREADY BEEN ANSWERED.

If you're not a member of Facebook you will have to join in order to follow the page.  To 'Like' the page and make sure you see Sarah's answer to your question, go the 'Find us on Facebook' block on the top left of this page and click 'Like'.  

NOTE:  Facebook does not always show you every post from the pages you have 'Liked'.  A way to make sure you see them is to click like, make a comment, or even better share the posts.  Then Facebook will know that it is a page that you are interested in seeing.  Of course, you can always find the page by searching for it through the search box,  or by viewing your 'Pages Feed' instead of your 'News Feed'. 

First, have a read of this website, and download Sarah’s library of videos full of information and self-help for a back problem so you can keep going back to them. If you do this, you’ll probably get the answers you’re looking for. They’re certainly designed that way.

Just talking to Sarah may change the course of your life . . . . 
You can also speak with her in person on Skype

You might like to go the whole hog and use the facility of talking directly to Sarah on Skype in her ‘A Chat About Your Back’. Sarah recommends this approach for the more complex questions, such as what exercises you should do for your back (where it’s often critically important for her to see the ones you’ve been doing - remember she says ‘gymnasiums keep her in business’!), or if you’re right at the point of contemplating back surgery (really, the most important question of all). Obviously there’s a cost for a Skype consultation with Sarah but it’s usually money well spent. It may well be an hour that changes the course of your life!

Of course, you may be an old hand and already read Sarah copiously – and don’t need any of this support. We certainly hope so! ( . . . . and in which case, why not fill out the ‘Sarah Key Method Treatment Survey’?  We love the contact, and love to know. . . .)

Ask your question now on Sarah Key Physiotherapy Facebook Page

Other Visitors Questions to Sarah Key

Click below to see questions from other visitors to this page...

Disc degeneration and facet arthropathy and most beneficial exercises 
Hello Sarah While listening to your video #3 I got a question: you say that facet arthropathy pain is always one-sided,and my question is that I very …

Canberra 
Hi Sarah do you have any clinics in Canberra?

Let me ask you a question. 
I read a good contents which you wrote, and very impressed. And if you don't mind, can I know a exact reference from specific words you wrote? The words …

Lumbar lightning pain 
Hi Sarah The X-rays and MRI show disc problems mainly L3-L4 and L5-S1 as well as arthritis and start of osteophytes. My chiro saw a first grade spondylolysthesis …

TMJ 
Namaste Sarah, I would appreciate your advice in how best to manage a TMJ issue. I am a 54 year old female that has a rotation and tilt in the pelvis with …

A happy new user 
Its been a week since I have started using the BB and Im feeling much better already, I just want to ask whether the block should only be used for 60 …

Back block and osteoporosis 
Hi Sarah, I note that you caution against the use of the back block by anyone with osteoporosis. Please can you elaborate and explain why and what the …

Genu Varum 
Dear Sarah, My son, aged 27 has bowed legs, he was assessed by a sport doctor several years ago, was prescribed orthotics (rarely worn) He would like …

BackBlock Dimensions and BackBlock vs. Traditional Cork Yoga Block 
Hi Sarah, Could you please tell me the dimensions and thickness of your BackBlock as well as how it differs from a traditional cork yoga block? I suffer …

spinal stenosis 
Hi Sarah, interesting book. which exercises do you recommend for spinal stenosis and sciatica? thanks Chris Harvey

23 and IN PAIN 
Hi I'm 23, male, fit but have had lower back pain for coming on a year. After scans, a 5cm by 3.6cm by 4.4cm Tarlov Cyst was found in my sacrum. After …

sacralization of L5 
My X-ray report indicates that curvature abnormality of spine due to mascular spasm,sacralization L5.please advice me about this,medication,exercise and …

Selecting the right exercises 
Hello Sarah My husband was given your book "Back Sufferers Bible" by his mother in 2007 and has used it successfully since. I have since injured my back …

Rectus Diastasis  
I'm a male with rectus diastasis. I'm a bit confused about what type of abdominal training is appropriate. I've read a lot on the internet about "transversus …

Lower Back and Physio on the Gold Coast 
I live on the Gold Coast and have a need to get guidance on my back problems. I wonder if you can recommend someone who follows your philosophy. I …

Muscle Knots Lumbar Spine  
Sarah, I came across your website a couple of days ago and have been attempting the 3 best abdominal exercises, as my chiropractor has told me that …

Backblock frequency 
How often can I do this exercise? I felt relief the first time I did it. I want to do more but don't want to over do it. I'm one of those exercise fanatics …

Radicular left leg pain increases on standing 
Hi Sarah, I had been to a spine specialist who ruled out cuds equine and spinal stenosis and made me do the McKenzie's side glide when the pain and …

sciatica 
would the back block work in case of sciatica. thanks Taher

facet joint problems. Desperate from London 
Dear Sarah, I am Amanda from London. I have been suffering from this particular problem for over 6 months. I have had a scan and it shows 2 disc bulges …

Hip pain? 
Hi Sarah, following a L4/5 spinal fusion, I have now started suffering from hip pain. Drs say Bursitis? But I belive it to be nerve pain stemming from …

I've been unable to walk for nine years. 
Hello Sarah I just found you online here today... as I was reading an article from the Cleveland Clinic about my diagnosis. (Which is severe spinal …

Lumber spine problems 
Sarah, I have been following the exercises in your book since about 2005. I do exercises at night (back block,rocking, rolling,reverse curls)and in the …

problems from C4 
Sarah, I have L4,5 problems but your book The Back Sufferers Bible (recommended by my GP) and exercises saved the day, that area is now fine to the extent …

Fused L3/L4 spinal segments 
Hi Sarah In 1997 I had my L3/L4 vertebrae fused together at the age of only 20 years old. I am now 39 and live with daily chronic pain, spasms and stiffness. …

Spinal Stenosis questions 
I forgot to tell you my back issue is Spinal Stenosis ( both lumbar and cervical ) 10 years ago I had an ACDF C 3 through C 5. I have recently been experiencing …

What is the size of the back block  
Hello. What are the measurements of the crock back block and about how much does it weigh? Thnaks !

Muscle spasms 
I just wrote and asked you a question, but forgot to say Thank you for just reading the e-mail and any help you may be able to give me. Thank you!

Muscle spasms 
I suffer with muscles, located near and around the scapula, that spasm. It comes on when I am standing for lengths of time. It lasts all day and sometimes …

swollen facet joint causing hamstring pain. 
Hi there. I have had a feeling of tightness in my left hamstring for a long time. I love triathlon especially running but the problem has really effected …

Lower back problems 
Hi,it's Dietmar again.in our last discussion on lower back compression you mentioned that the vertebras are glued together and you would use your feet …

Research papers 
Do you have journal articles and papers available that show the efficacy of the treatments and the use of the back block? Thanks

middle back pain 
Hi Sarah, I've had middle back pain for over two years. The first 3 months were the worst. Since it has gradually got better but it's not back to normal …

Flare Ups!!! 
Hi Sarah, Thanks for the emails, I have found them very useful. I have a question for you though...I prolapsed my L5/S1 in September 2012 and have …

app 
Is there a app for ask sarah?

Upper Neck Injury of the C3 &C4 
Hi Sarah.. First of all, thank you for giving my wife Sandy her back back. My name is Steve Tan and I'm the husband of Sandy. About 10 years ago, we …

Ma roller above lumbar area 
Sarah, I have the ma roller which has been fantastic. I now have really bad pain either side of my spine around where your bra does up & slightly above …

Lower back compression pain 
Hi Sarah,just bought your book back in action.I had a cat scan of my lower back and it does not look to bad.the report says at L4/5 mild narrowing of the …

elbow inflammation manual worker  
working in a stable (ironically for handicapped people) obliges me to use fork and shovel 7 days a week. i have chronic elbow pain since 2009. Reading …

Kieser Training ? 
Hi Sarah, Loving your website, very informative. From a MRI scan, i have been told i have a disc prolapse at L5, S1. No nerves involved, localized …

NSA 
Hi Sarah, I've just started reading your book and am very much looking forward to taking it all in. My question is whether you know anything about Network …

T7, T12 and L1 compression fractures moderate osteoporosis of the spine at 54 
Hi Sarah I am now just 54 years old and 8 months ago suffered a tonic clonic siezure (grand marl)(2 in 2 hours) out of the blue and have a T7 fracture …

Can I get better? 
Hi Sarah, I bought your book a week ago, doing the exercises. I have degenerative disc changes most pronounced at L5/S1 with associated mild retrolisthesis …

Back injury 
Hello, I have sustained a back injury. The diagnosis is: 1. Moderately large, right L4/L5 disc extrusion impinging upon the right L5 nerve root. 2. …

Please help! Sciatica / SI joint problems 
Hi Sarah, I came across your wonderful website only recently, having suffered with back problems over half my life. I was attacked by a group of girls …

cauda equina syndrome/spinal stenosis/disc bulge 
Hi Sarah, I am a male aged 61 and having radicular pain in the left leg, at times in the left buttocks, outside of the left thigh , tingling in the sole …

strange clicking noise when using the back block 
Hi Sarah! I have been using the back block for about one year now (recommended by my physiotherapist). I spend most of the day hunched over (i am a …

Does my problem fall within scope for your treatment? 
Hi I have developed a back problem that is not responding to suggestions from my doctor and chiropractor. Interestingly, both the same. I wanted to …

Post-surgery - sciatica starting to return 
Hi Sarah, I'm hoping you can help me with a couple of questions. My history: Developed sciactica age 16 and after various physio/injections, had microdiscectomy …

Back pain for 7 months 
I've been suffering from back pain, sharp pains on the right side of the middle of my back, traveling into the hip and the right thigh (just a dull pain …

3 level prominent cervical disc bulge 
Hi Sarah, my name is Nicole from Sydney. I am 32yrs old & have 3 young children. I'm not quite sure when my injury occurred but this is how it began …

exercise warning 
Sarah, I've had back problems for the past 20 years, on average i strain my back resulting in servere nerve pain, around twice a year. reading your article …

Hip Replacement or Not? 
Hi Sarah As a yoga teacher since 1972 and over the years have become a Spinal Therapist, Reiki Master Teacher and EFT Practitioner have become fascinated …

back pain results in left leg and hand numbness 
hi sarah, i have been seeing several gps with my back pain - its mostly centered in middle to lower back, its like someone was pulling niddles inside …

Cycling 
Is cycling bad for your back?

Cervical Spine -C5/C6 Nerve compression / entrapment. 
Sarah, After presenting to neurologist for review with right brachialgia and arm weakness noting # radiologically showing multilevel cervical …

back pain 
Is it possible for a bra to cause back pain?And why do i only feel my back pain at work after bending alot? My back pain goes away when i sit down It is …

What exercises to do in the morning? 
Hi Sarah, Firstly I want to say thank you for answering this question and also thanks for your great book - "the back sufferers' bible" which has been …

Weak multifidus 
Hello there, I'm currently 19 years old and have been having very bad back pain for almost two years. Back during my senior wrestling season I through …

are we born with partial lumbarization of the first sacral segment. 
I was just wondering if we are born with this back problem or is it caused by an injury.

reverse curl up issues after Back Block 
Hi Sarah, I actually bought your Back Block in the UK over 12 maybe even 15 yrs ago. I'm now living in Malaysia and my back pain has been …

contraindications for back block and sequence 
Hello there Sarah or whoever it is receives these enquiries I am a yoga teacher I regularly teach the sequence (of 3 exercises featured on the back block) …

spinal stenosis 
I have chronic spinal stenosis. A specialist advised me to keep exercising even against pain and taking panadol to subdue the pain. I can;t ever sleep …

large prolapsed disc 
Hi Sarah, I have been diagnosed with a large prolapsed disc which I have been referred straight to surgery for. I have been surprised how quickly they …

Chronic neck pain ( 9 months) and muscle exhaustion 
Hello I have mild/moderate scoliosis which only came to light a few years ago. I have done yoga on and off for years and I have managed, with the help …

Decision about how to proceed L5 - S1 disappeared disc 
Hi Sarah I have a dilemma, I have been suffering from lower back and occasional leg and buttock pain since December (I did have a similar situation …

knee/hip/low backpain 
Hurt my knee in march while out walking. Got x ray which said it was ok, was refered to physio for knee assesment, saw physio in august,he says I just …

Correct way to do reverse curl ups 
Hi Sarah As someone who has suffered from back pain for a number of years recently finding your book, Backs Sufferers Bible and following the exercises …

one spot pain 
I have one spot that troubles me and I can put my finger directly on it. It is just below waist level, at the back, just towards my left hip. I notice …

post op hip replacement 
Hi I have read your books over recent years and followed the general exercise plans particularly for backs, alas, the recent visits to the physio confirmed …

Myositis 
Dear Sarah, Do you have any physical therapy advice for the condition Polymyositis, where muscle is slowly degenerating throughout the body? This is …

Sacroiliac Joint 
Sarah can you PLEASE give me some advice, about 9 years ago I had a fall on my buttock. Ended up having sclerosant injections in the ligaments, but I …

PLEASE, Help me survive my back, neck & radiant pain ?!? 
Hello Sarah. I hope you like reading as much as writing :D In 2007 (I was 26), I injured my back. I worked in a play ground & boat dock manufacturing …

Could an "Enlarged Sacrum" be Sacralisation?  
Hi Sarah, First I would like to say THANK YOU! I have read & researched back/spine issues for years & have never found such an EASY to read wealth of …

Ongoing niggling back pain, symptom of worn facet joint, disc bulge, or something else? 
Hi Sarah (from Chris Brown, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia) Im 45 years old have had an ongoing niggling back problem for th last 5-6 …

Where should I start, from the top or bottom? 
Hi Sarah, I'm 60 yrs old and have ongoing neck, thoracic, lumbar, hip, knee and foot problems. The main question is re my antiverted right hip and 1cm …

How do feel about chiropractic treatment  
Do you think chiropractic treatment is good or do they often exacerbate conditions? I mean, can they begin with adjustments that could have been managed …

Hip & back relationship 
Hello Sarah, My husband has a strong back and has used it as such all his life (60yrs) - grew up on the land & has always been physically active & fit. …

Hip problem 
Hi Sarah My wife has nagging hip pain, worse at night, she thinks it is arthritis, also tail bone is sometimes sore when she sits down. Can you help, …

Suitable mobilising exercise for painful low back (osteoporosis sufferer age 69) 
Toe touching, reverse curl exercises etc are generally frowned on for osteoporosis sufferers. I am very tempted to try them because they sound like an …

Compression fractures T7 8 11 and 12 from osteoporosis. 
Sarah, I have continuing back stiffness left hand side from the above injuries incurred while doing too much heavy work not realising I had severe osteoporosis. …

L5-S1 disc degeration with annular tear 
Hi Sarah, I haven't had a chance to read through the questions but my friend referred me to you as I am in chronic pain. I was diagnosed a few months …

24 Year Old with Chronic Back Pain 
Hello Sarah, My name is Jane and I'm from London. Firstly my apologies in advance if this message gets a little lengthy, I would be more than happy …

Ankle pain 
Can spinal stenosis cause very little back pain a lot of ankle pain and some leg pain right up to the thigh?

Various back questions 
Hello, I've read your "Back sufferers' bible" and come up with a couple of questions: 1. I understand that spinal rolling can be good for stiff sements, …

Dislocated Sacroiliac or slipped disc or something else 
I have had generalised back pain for over twenty years. During pregnancies experienced sacroiliac dysfunction and pubis symphesis. Ten months ago diagnosed …

My body gets tremors when I do abdominal strengthening exercises for a bad back 
I've been doing exercises from Back Sufferers' Bible and another S.K. book for a while. They seem to be helping with my back and neck issues. I also have …

Stretch for neck injury causing pain in right arm and thumb numbness 
Esteemed Sarah, Would you please post the stretch here so that I can try it as well. I suffer the same pain as Harpreet and would like to see if the …

20 yo female bulging discs L4-5 L5-S1 
Hi Sarah I have been experiencing chronic back pain for approx 2 years, in this time I had started weightlifting and had a fall in the shower that …

Spondylolisthesis Grade 2 
I was diagnosed about two years ago with grade 2 spondylolisthesis and advanced degenerative discogenic disease and dextroscoliosis. I've had chronic …

car accident 
Hi sarah, I had a car accident 10 mouths ago I has lumbard sergery for l4 l5 s1 have been on all the pain killers then have had spinal injeshion and for …

Herniated disc  
Dear Sarah, As a long time fan, I am familiar with your philosophy on self treatment but have a sister living in Melbourne who suffered a herniated disc …

SPECIALISTS SAY CAN'T DO ANYTHING FOR ME PRESCRIBED GABAPENTIN AS MUCH AS I CAN TAKE ONLY 35 YEARS OLD 
Dear Sarah Writing on behalf of son, desperate to help him. Basically my problem started in 2010 when my messing around in the pool with my younger …

A real shock on seeing the CT Scans 
Hi Sarah, I purchased your' Back Sufferers Bible' several years ago and just following the basic excercises has given me great relief, a definite investment. …

Spondylolisthesis and Intrinsic Strengthening 
Hi Sarah You might recall my question about spondylolisthesis and the Back Block in February. Since then, I have been doing your segmental instability …

No block if I have numbness? 
Hi, I am Jana from Southern California. I was diagnosed about 8 ys ago with lumbar disc degeneration. I have episodes of pain, worse always after step …

What to do about Plantar Fasciitis 
Hi Sarah, It's Simon from Canberra here, long time no see which is a good indication of how successful my treatment has been 15 years since my first …

16 year-old with herniated disc, degeneration of disc, trapped sciatic nerve 
Hi Sarah many years ago my friend Susan Vass suggested that you would be the person to restore back health to a very good friend of mine. You did. Subsequently …

Exercises painful 
Hi Sarah, I'm Judith, from Cornwall in the UK. I've had a bad back on and off over the years and am currently suffering horribly from what I think is …

Severe scoliosis 
Born in the hunger winter of 1944 in Leiden, Holland..the town was occupied by the German soldiers who confiscated all food. Everyone was just skin and …

Lumbar Issues 
Hi Sarah: I have had back issues for some time now. Mainly in the sacral area. In this instance, I had palpitations run down my legs and after a visit …

curved spine 
Doctors advise no operation will fix a curved spine - can't touch my toes - can only just touch my knees - have trouble putting on my pants - socks/shoes …

certain pain 
Hi Sarah, I have a bad back and most of the time am often in some pain or discomfort. My question is this, I often get hot needle like stabbing pain in …

exercise after two hip replacements 
Was very interested to hear you speak on radio 612 early morning 10th April. I've since ordered the back block and book 'Back in Action". However, because …

L5/S1 disc bulge and facet joint hypertrophy  
Hi Sarah, I've had sciatica for 3 weeks now and for further investigation I had an MRI scan. The report was as follows: Nearly complete S1/2 disc, …

Thoracic spine 
What kind of exercises can you recommend to stretch a tight thoracic spine?

sacral angle? 7 questions 
Dear Sarah, A few questions have come to my mind that I did not get the opportunity to ask you when I was there as you were so busy looking after your …

PAIN IN RIGHT UPPER ARM,NUMB RIGHT HAND THUMB  
Respected Sarah, I am Harpreet form India,50 yrs male.I was recently having some low back pain.My MRI suggested some slight prolapsed disc and my doc …

Spondylolisthesis and the Back Block 
Sarah I have been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis. I have read your case study of Georgie in the Back Sufferer's Bible (Segmental Instability) and …

Does there come a point when surgery is necessary? 
I have been suffering from back problems for years. I had sciatica in my twenties, but that may have been muscular rather than disc prolapse. Recently …

mri scans 
Dear Sarah, I've had lower back pain for years and have recently begun to address the pain. Following an MRI scan last August I was told that I have …

Can you get Instability from Disc Prolapse? 
Hi Sarah Is it possible for a sufferer to overcome mild instability brought on from a herniated L5/S1 disc so that they are no longer in constant pain? …

Reverse Curl Up - number of repetitions 
In the "Back Sufferers Bible" refernce is made to "five excursions" of reverse curl ups. Elsewhere there is reference to 15 curl ups. Please would …

C5 and c6 syndrom relieving numbness and tingling 
Hi Sarah, I have read your Back Suffer's Bible and had great results following your exercise program to relieve upper back pain and soreness. I want …

Stiff back in the mornings 
Can you explain why I often wake in the mornings with a stiff back?

PMT (pre-menstrual tension) and the back 
Is it best to rest when you have PMT of just take a pain killer and carry on and ignore it?

Help! I have a horrible pain down one side of my body from my lower back, through my buttock and down my leg. Can you tell me what is happening?  
For some time now I have had discomfort down one side of my body from my lower back down through my buttock, thigh and down my leg. Sometimes I don't get …

What is the best way to stretch my back  
I often feel like I need to stretch my back out, what is the safest way to do this and how often?

Sore feet - can it be from the back? 
I have been having a lot of pain and stiffness in my feet, especially first thing in the morning or if I have been sitting for a while. Once I start walking …

Traction 
Do you subscribe to the use of devices that put people upside down, hanging by the ankles?

The back block 
What shape and dimensions should it have? What height should it have?

Degenerative disc disease 
I have been off work for 8 months with a bulging disc with nerve stem cell compression. Apparently as a result of dengenerative disc disease. I have completed …

Dissertation 
Hi Sarah, I am currently a second year Physiotherapy student at the University of Liverpool. We are starting to look at dissertation topics and I was …

Sacralization of L5 
Hi this is Pratul from Singapore. I recently had a lower back injury while playing cricket. On taking the Xray the results showed that I had Sacralization …

Backblock for Cervical region too? 
Hi Sarah, I have a disc herniation at C4 -7 (C5-6 being the largest) which causes pain, numbness & tingling down my left arm but no cervical pain at …

Facet joint problems 
I have degeneration of the L3/4. and L4/5 Facet Joints and am having quite a lot of back pain?..

Wondering 
Just hoping you might be able to help with an answer to my earlier question about 'Myositis'. The email I first received from you indicating an answer …

UK based seminars 
Dear Sarah, I'm recovering from a neck injury that's impacted my thoracic spine. Despite treatments by the chiropractor, the osteopath and the physio …

disc dehydration in L5-s1 
My father is having a back pain from last 2 year dr suggest Mri few days ago MRI reports shows that he has disc dehydration in L5-S1, L4-L5, L3-L4, …

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