Dubai’s Zabeel Ladies Club offers custom answers to backache

The resident doctor at Zabeel Ladies Club in Dubai uses the latest technology and complimentary medicine to help patients correct their posture and cure back pain.

The doctors at Zabeel Ladies Club use acupuncture needles to ease discomfort. iStock
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Eden, one of Zabeel’s four lifestyle and beauty wings, offers customised plans to visitors and members suffering from acute or chronic pain, commonly from back-related issues.

The centre – headed by Dr ­Sanjeevani Dahiwadkar – provides physiotherapy with a team of experts using a mix of conventional medical care and complementary therapies.

I was initially booked in for a quick tour of the facilities and a chat with Dr Dahiwadkar. What came to pass, however, was quite different. Before I knew it, I was standing in the physio room, my posture being photographed from all angles.

The doctor showed me the instant analysis on her iPad: the green lines charted the ideal curvature of the spine and alignment of the hips and head, while the red lines illustrated where they deviated.

The results were illuminating and, thankfully, I seemed in pretty good shape. She did reveal, however, that I unwittingly tilt my head to one side more than the other, and as with most people, my posture could be better.

Following the analysis, I was ushered to the treatment table where I was asked to lie face down for a physical examination. Dr Dahiwadkar worked in tandem with her assistant ­physiotherapist, moving down each vertebrae of the spine and identifying the areas of pain, spasm or muscle tension. With my shoulders a tad knotty, a therapeutic massage was called for and it proved more than a little uncomfortable.

The doctor decided to insert an acupuncture needle into each shoulder blade to ease my discomfort. The relief was instant and the muscle groups seemed to physically pop and soften in seconds. The deep-­tissue manipulation continued for a further 30 minutes and I felt transformed when it was over.

Before I left, the doctor ­recommended simple steps for me to take at home and work – sitting on a Swiss Ball whenever possible. She also extolled the virtues of back-strengthening exercises, yoga and regular ­cardio activity.

Another key takeaway, and one that I’ve tried to keep in mind, is not to overcorrect my posture when sitting. While a relaxed, straight back is a good thing, a concave one – with an exaggerated lumbar curve and shoulders pinned back – is ­definitely not.

A chat with Dr Dahiwadkar

What are some of the common complaints you receive?

Back pain, headaches, degenerative disorders and arthritis are all common. That said, I always do a full-body ­analysis of the patient even if, for example, the pain is localised to the wrist.

How do you go about ­correcting someone’s posture?

There are several tools we use. To start with, we take photos of the body with an iPad. Posture screening software takes these images, measures the parameters of the body and highlights any displacements to the front, back or side. This particular software allows me to check for any abnormalities such as spine misalignment or hip or shoulder asymmetry. I also study how the patient sits, moves and walks.

What are the next steps?

I draw up a programme of ­physiotherapy sessions for the patient, the duration and ­intensity of which depends on how bad their condition is. I also educate them about ways to ­correct the postural ­imbalances at home, at the ­infrastructure and joint level.

What’s unique about your approach to posture correction and physiotherapy at Zabeel Ladies Club?

One aspect that I focus mainly on is fascia. These are the layers of tissue beneath the skin that enclose and separate muscles from other internal organs. I correct problems at the level of the bone, as well as the joints, muscles, and importantly, the fascia. You won’t find these techniques in many other clinics. Physiotherapy practices usually involve little more than a series of stretches, repeated exercises and education. Here, we take a much more physical and practical approach.

• To book an appointment at Eden, Zabeel Ladies Club, call 043820000. Individual 60-minute sessions cost Dh400. For more information visit