Bradford physio delivers pain programme in Urdu

A physiotherapist in Bradford, which has one of the UK’s most ethnically diverse populations, has helped to set up a pain management programme for people who speak Urdu.


L-R: Clinical psychologist Razia Bhatti Ali, specialised pain management physiotherapist Mohammad Shoiab and chaplaincy manager Mohammad Arshad

Mohammad Shoiab is a specialised pain management physiotherapist with Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s Living with Pain team.

He is collaborating with other Urdu speakers, including Razia Bhatti Ali, clinical psychologist, Asim Suleman, a GP with a special interest in pain management, and Mohammad Arshad, chaplaincy manager.

Many patients lack fluent English and have not benefited from the trust’s standard pain management programme, Mr Shoiab explains.

‘As a result we have adapted the traditional pain management programme, making it not only language specific but also culturally specific. Concepts such as self-management, goal setting, pacing and relaxation are not universally known.’


GP Asim Suleman

After successfully piloting the programme from March to May, the team plans to launch the service in October.

Patients on the Urdu Living with Pain programme will attend half-day group sessions once a week for eight weeks. Topics include mindfulness training and graded exercises. The team will use Urdu language videos and a relaxation CD.

Mr Shoiab will offer background information about physiology and anatomy and guide patients through gentle, pain-free exercise routines.

Emotional response

‘Patients say the programme is like finding a light at the end of a tunnel, as they had previously struggled to come to terms with living with persistent pain and lacked access to a language or culturally-specific source of information,’ says Mr Shoiab. ‘Many tears are shed.’

The team has produced some educational leaflets, including one titled Physiotherapy and prayer: information leaflet for Muslim patients.

Input from the chaplaincy service helps to dispel some cultural and religious myths about persistent pain.

The team received invaluable advice from CSP members, the Physiotherapy Pain Association, the British Pain Society and physiotherapy pain specialists from Birmingham, Leicester and London, Mr Shoiab adds.

CSP members who would like further details about the service can email Mr Shoiab at

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