Francois Lewis Physiotherapy trading as Darlington Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic  

The practice philosophy

The underlying cause of most of the conditions we see is the result of how we move.

As a physiotherapist I assess and treat the joints, nerves, and muscles to return them to normal health and ease you pain. Recent research shows that it is not enough to give you exercises to make you stronger or stretches to make you bend further, we also need to look at and correct how you use these muscles and structures.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used
when we created them” 
– Albert Einstein

Most modern exercise is done by putting our bodies on ‘auto-pilot’, moving mindlessly, repeating the same movements over and over again.  The problem is that, quite often, it is how we perform these movements that lead to pain and injury. To correct these automatic incorrect movements is a very hard task, but it can be done.

How do we do this?

By understanding how movement works (and our understanding grows by the minute!). Every task you perform starts and finishes in the brain. The brain finds out where you are now, where you want to be and what you’ve got to get you there. It then tries to find the simplest and safest way of doing it. It has a ‘program’ it uses for every movement.

When you learn a new skill, a golf swing or how to work your new phone, the brain is trying to find the ‘program’ it will use to help you do it without trying to figure out how each time. To be able to do it on ‘autopilot’.

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.’
– Maya Angelou

The key to getting you move correctly is in finding out where this ‘program’ went wrong and changing it through exercise.  This exercise has to be done in such a way that the brain is actively involved and can re-program itself to be able to do it in future.  A process called ‘mindful movement’.

Once this movement is done correctly, be it sitting, standing, sleeping, bending or running, you can return to your normal exercises and daily routines, but moving greater efficiency and much more comfortably.

The tools I use:

I am a physiotherapist.  I am also teach manual therapy.

As a physiotherapist the care I give is based in science and evidence.  I use manual therapy, movement and exercise to help you overcome your injury, illness or disability. At the core of my treatment lies a strong hands-on approach.  Be it to mobilise and manipulate joints, to stretch or mobilise muscles, as a manual therapist I use my hands to restore normal movement to joints, soft tissue and nerves. It is used to restore balance to the human body, to either relax or activate muscles, to relieve pain and it vastly improves the effectiveness of exercises. I see it as an essential part of communicating with my patients in helping them achieve pain-free and effective movement.

hands-onThese techniques include:

  • Maitland-based joint mobilisation
  • Joint manipulation
  • Soft tissue manipulation, fascial release and massage.
  • Muscle-energy-techniques and acupressure.
  • Guided exercise through Proprioceptive-Neuro-Fascilitation.

I also use taping techniques and tailored exercise programmes to relieve pain, improve posture and correct movement.

Francois Lewis


I graduated with a B.Sc degree in Physiotherapy degree from the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa). I also hold a M.Sc. Manipulative Therapy degree from Glasgow Caledonian University. I am always learning and trying to expand my skills and practice to ensure the best care and service possible.

I have worked as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist for the past 20 years, both in private practice and the NHS. The last 13 years I have worked as a extended scope practitioner. In this role I regularly assess, treat and advise on patients with complex musculoskeletal conditions. It also allows me to work closely with local shoulder and lower limb surgeons. To fulfil this role I have to maintain a very high standard of knowledge, skill, treatment and care.
My special interest include functional rehabilitation of all sport and musculoskeletal injuries, especially shoulder, elbow and lower limb injury rehabilitation.


It is not enough to know, you have to understand.
To understand what I am doing, I have to be able to teach it.

I have been pathway and module lead for the M.Sc Advanced Clinical Practice (Manipulative Therapy) course at the University of Teesside.  During this time I have taught exercise instructors, physiotherapist, masters student nurse practitioners. I have mentored experienced physiotherapists working towards their masters degree in musculoskeletal physiotherapy. I teach both formally and informally on a continual basis, because I learn on a continual basis.

My experience as a therapist has lead me to believe that specific, individualised care consisting of excellent communication, hands-on treatment and functional exercise is essential if you want to achieve the best possible outcome.