THE pain endured as a young athlete has driven an Alloa woman to help others through her business, which recently opened in town.

Vanessa McGrath attended course after course in her desperation for relief when a disc collapsed in her back years ago.

The pain was such that she had to go to sleep sitting up each night for more 18 months.

But although she found no way back to full fitness, she ended up making a career out of it as a sports therapist and physio.

She recently opened her massage, pain and injury clinic under the name Therapy Zone on Drysdale Street and hopes her own experience will help be crucial in aiding others in a similar situation.

Vanessa, who played basketball and badminton, suffered an injury at the age of 20 and was in pain for years.

She told the Advertiser: "That's what made me quite determined to actually go and advance my skills further.

"I had a sports background, but decided to really look into the therapies and it just literally rolled from there, course after course."

Vanessa, who ran her business from Dollar for 11 years and decided to move the venture to Alloa as she was looking for new opportunities, has previously worked as the physio for local side Alloa Athletic for eight years and also lectured at the former Falkirk College.

And beyond her skills and knowledge, she says the most important thing she brings to the table is her own experience of injury.

The therapist explained: "What really comes across when I do work with clients is I have total empathy for their pain and I know exactly how they feel when they tell me that they want to cut their leg off because it's so sore."

She added: "I think I also communicate really well with clients, communications is the key to them getting better."

At her clinic, she assesses, manages and treats a variety of painful conditions, using therapies, massages, acupuncture and more, finding the right mix for the desired outcome.

Most commonly, people will seek help for back pains nowadays and Vanessa reckons the chief culprit is "the modern way of living".

She said: "We all get stresses because we work so much and are not spending time on actual relaxation for ourselves that isn't slouched in front of the TV."

As for the solution, Vanessa added: "It's a mixture of joint mobilisations, soft tissue and muscle mobilisations, acupuncture, cupping and postural advice – the list is endless.

"It's [about using] the right combination for the right injury. The one thing I do specialise in is treating the patient as an individual and working holistically with them."

When she considered the move, Vanessa looked at all the big towns around the Forth Valley, but found that Alloa had the least amount of derelict shops in the town centre and the number of free parking spaces nearby was also a bonus.

She is also hoping to set up discount deals for local youth sports clubs and give something back to the community through a scheme where people can nominate a deserving local for a free treatment.

  • Get in touch via or call 0800 246 5651 – walk ins are also welcome, during the day between Monday and Friday.