EMMA Sheehan has been a beauty therapist for more than 20 years.

It was always her dream job and, when she became a partner at Health & Harmony, a beauty salon in Leigh, she thought all her dreams had come true.

But working in the beauty industry is not for the faint-hearted.

When Emma, 39, from Leigh, gives an hour-long massage she can burn up to 400 calories.

This is offset by other less arduous treatments, like facials and manicures, where she is sitting but bent forward for at least an hour-and-a-half.

With Emma sometimes giving four or five treatments like this, one after the other, she began to feel stiffness in her neck, back and shoulders.

For years she thought this just went with the territory and just carried on.

But she was forced to stopped carrying on in September 2014.

As she was driving home and went to change gear, she felt sharp, shooting pains down her left arm and she knew this wasn’t normal.

“I’m in the beauty industry, so I always want to look my best for my clients,” said Emma. “But the constant pain and stiffness were making me feel tired all the time.

“I couldn’t have a decent night’s sleep and was getting headaches too. I started having regular massage sessions at work to try to ease the discomfort, and used pain relief gel on my armwhich had no effect at all.

“When my left hand started to feel numb in places, I realised I had to get professional help.”

Emma’s brother had had a back problem and the pain was so crippling he could hardly walk, but after treatment from Arif Soomro of Cliffs Chiropractic Clinic, in Westcliff, he nowwalks painfree.

Emma made an appointment at the clinic.

Cliffs, which opened in 1994, is an award-winning practice treating people who suffer with discomfort or pain in their bones, joints or muscles.

When Arif met Emma, he assessed her symptoms and took X-rays, before making his diagnosis.

“Emma had an acute locking in one of the joints in the middle of her neck. This caused her muscles to spasm and swell and put pressure on specific nerves (which supply the armwith sensation and power), resulting in pain and weakness in the arm and shoulder,” said Arif. “It was clear that her work position had contributed to a 50 per cent wear in the mid cervical spine. This, and poor posture, had led to a loss of the normal forward neck curve, resulting in a stooping upper back, neck stiffness and weak supportive musculature.”

Arif as confident that she would respond well to a combined approach of chiropractic and acupuncture.

The pain would ease fairly quickly but it would take time of course to fix the root cause by strengthening the area, improving her posture and altering her work and lifestyle.

“After just two weeks the numbness and the pain in my arm, due to a trapped nerve, had completely disappeared, and so had the headaches,”

said Emma. “One year on I wake up refreshed and full of energy. I can work all day without getting stiff – although a little stiffness is inevitable in my job, and I’m walking taller because my posture’s better.”