Dr Nicola R Heneghan

Dr Nicola R Heneghan

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Physiotherapy Lecturer, Programme Leader MSc Advanced Manipulative Physiotherapy

Contact details

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Nicola is a Physiotherapy Lecturer and Programme Leader MSc Advanced Manipulative Physiotherapy.


  • PhD University of Birmingham
  • MSc Neuromusculoskeletal Physiotherapy, University College London, 1998
  • PG Cert HE, Coventry University, 2001
  • Graduate Diploma Physiotherapy, New Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge, 1998


Nicola qualified with a Graduate Diploma in Physiotherapy from New Addenbrooke’s Hospital School of Physiotherapy in 1988. Nicola subsequently spent a number of years in clinical practice applying and developing her knowledge and skills in the fields of respiratory and musculoskeletal physiotherapy. Having spent time working in the UK and Canada she set up and managed a very successful Private Practice in the Lake District for 7 years.

In 1997 Nicola returned to University to complete her MSc at University College London, where she was awarded the Stanmore Prize for her research exploring the relationship between thoracic motion and breathing.

In 2000 Nicola took up a Senior lecturers post at Coventry University, where she completed her PG Cert HE as well as developed her teaching skills. Nicola moved to University of Birmingham in 2004 to continue her professional development and develop her research interests. In addition to her teaching commitments on the MSc Advanced Manipulative Physiotherapy programme, Nicola was awarded a studentship to pursue her research exploring the musculoskeletal changes in chronic obstructive airways disease (COPD), completing her PhD in 2013.


Nicola's involvement in teaching, learning and supervision encompasses the subject areas of musculoskeletal physiotherapy, manipulative therapy, and respiratory dysfunction in COPD. Her involvement is focused to the postgraduate programmes, particularly managing and teaching on the MSc Advanced Manipulative Physiotherapy programme and supervising PhD/ MRes and postgraduate MSc students.

Postgraduate supervision

Nicola currently supervisors a number of PhD, PGT and PGR students across a range of subjects relating to her expertise in musculoskeletal/manipulative physiotherapy.  


My main expertise lies within the field of neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction with primary focus on spine (thoracic and lumbar) and outcome measures. I currently supervise students using a range of methodologies, with expertise in systematic review, observational and quantitative research methods.  I have a number of collaborations with partners in sport, secondary care; others research centres nationally and internationally. In addition to this I am collaborating on research projects in the fields of respiratory dysfunction and mental imagery. My research output reflects the scope of work currently underway. 

Other activities

  • Allied Healthcare Professions Research Network: Birmingham University co-representative for Midlands Branch.
  • Vice Chair and External Assessor Coordinator Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (MACP) Committee for Education and Approval



  • Heneghan NR, Rushton A (2015) Understanding why the thoracic region is the 'Cinderella' region of the spine. Manual Therapy (accepted)
  • Heneghan NR (2015) Management of the Thoracic Spine in Patients with COPD.  In: Grieve’s Modern Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy 4th Ed. Churchill Livingstone Chapter 44.3
  • Rushton A, White L, Heap A, Heneghan N. (2015) Survey of current surgeon practice for patients undergoing lumbar spinal fusion in the UK. World Journal of Orthopaedics.
  • Franklin S, Grey M, Heneghan NR, Bowen L , Li F-X. (2015) Barefoot vs Common Footwear: A systematic review of the kinematic, kinetic and muscle activity differences during walking. Gait and Posture (available online ahead of print)
  • Scholefield S, Cooke C, van Vliet P, Heneghan NR (2015) The effectiveness of mental imagery for improving strength in an asymptomatic population – a systematic review. Physical Therapy Reviews. 20(2)86-97
  • Furlong A, Miller, C, Heneghan NR (2015) The inclusion of thoracic manual therapy in management of shoulder: systematic review. JMMT
  • Heneghan NR, Adab P, Jackman S, Balanos GM. (2015) Musculoskeletal dysfunction in COPD an observational study. IJTR 22 (3): 120-128
  • Majothi S, Jolly K, Heneghan NR, Price M, Riley R, Turner A, Bayliss S, Moore D, Singh S, Adab P, Fitzmaurice D, Jordan R. (2015) Supported self-management for patients with COPD who have recently been discharged from hospital: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int Journal of COPD. 10: 1-15
  • Jordan R, Majothi S, Heneghan NR, Riley Rm Stitch A, Price M, Bates E, Turner A, Bayliss S, Moore D, Singh S, Adab P, Fitzmaurice D Jolly K. (2014) Does self-management support increase the risk of mortality amongst patients with COPD? A systematic review of the evidence. European Respiratory Journal.  44 no. Suppl 58 P4737
  • Rushton A, Wright C, Kontakiotis N, Mystrakis A, Frydas D, Heneghan NR (2014) Discriminative validity of sensory evaluation in a whiplash-associated disorder II population. IJTR. 21 (10): 460-7
  • Rushton A, Heneghan N, Heap A, White L, Hamid N, Eveleigh G, Wright C (2014) Survey of current physiotherapy practice for patients undergoing lumbar spinal fusion in the UK. Spine 39(23):E1380-7
  • Snodgrass SJ, Heneghan NR, Tsao H, Stanwell P, Rivett DA, van Vliet P. (2014) Neuroplasticity in musculoskeletal conditions. Manual Therapy. 19(6):614-7
  • Sturmberg C, Marquez J, Heneghan N, Snodgrass S, van Vliet P. (2013) Attentional focus of feedback and instructions in the treatment of musculoskeletal dysfunction: A systematic review. Manual Therapy. 18 (6): 458-467
  • Heneghan NR, Balanos GM, Adab P, Jordan RE (2012). Manual therapy for chronic obstructive airways disease: A systematic review of current evidence. Manual Therapy. 17(6):507-18
  • Rushton A, Eveleigh G, Petherick EJ, Heneghan NR, Bennett R, James G, Wright C (2012) Physiotherapy rehabilitation following lumbar spinal fusion: a systematic review and meta-analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials, BMJ Open. 24;2(4)
  • Stamos I, Heneghan NR, McCarthy C (2012) Inter-examiner reliability of active Combined Movements Assessment of Subjects with a History of Mechanical Neck Problems. Manual Therapy 17(5):438-44.
  • Kilby J, Heneghan NR, Maybury M. (2012) Manual palpation of lumbo-pelvic landmarks; a validity study. Manual Therapy. 17(3):259-62.
  • Rushton A, Wright C, Heneghan NR, Eveleigh G, Calvert M, Freemantle N (2011) Physiotherapy rehabilitation for Whiplash Associated Disorder II: a systematic review and meta-analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials. BMJ Open. 14; 1(2):e000265.
  • Heneghan NR, Balanos GM. (2010) Soft tissue artefact in the thoracic spine during axial rotation and arm elevation using ultrasound imaging: a descriptive study.  Manual Therapy 15(6):599-602
  • Heneghan NR, Hall A, Hollands M, Balanos GM (2009) Stability and intra-tester reliability of an in vivo measurement of thoracic axial rotation using an innovative methodology. Manual Therapy 14(4):452-455  
  • van Vliet PM, Heneghan NR (2006) Motor control and the management of musculoskeletal dysfunction. Manual Therapy. 11(3): 208-213
  • Heneghan NR (2005) The influence of gender on skeletal muscle endurance capacity. Physical Therapy Reviews. 10(3): 171-178.