THERE is a sense of pride that comes with being a military wife.

There is no role more rewarding, but it comes with its challenges.

The feeling of being unsettled and sometimes isolated can be tough.

But military wife Sarah Keen, from Colchester, is proving women can be strong during the toughest of times.

Her business, Lightbulb Chiropractic, has been chosen as one of the Top 100 small businesses in Britain after taking part in Small Business Saturday.

Her husband Chris is a Sergeant Major in 3PARA based in Colchester and the family lives on the St Michael’s estate.

Sarah, 33, said: “Where lots of people will think of chiropractors as being for tradesmen with bad backs, I work mostly with pregnant women, newborns and children, and of course the odd soldier.

“Rather than just relieving pain and symptoms, my focus is on optimising health, which is why so many parents bring their newborns in - to start life in the best way.

“I view my practice as more of a lifestyle support, to be used in the same way as you’d go to the gym or take supplements.”

She has been a chiropractor for ten years and started Lightbulb Chiropractic from a room in her home last November.

She started delving into family practice after her first baby, George, was born in 2013.

She said: “He was premature and born weighing 2lb 11oz.

“We were told he’d be the sick kid in his class, and he’d be developmentally delayed, but that never sat right with me.

“I knew each chiropractic adjustment was affecting the nervous system and bringing a person’s body into a state of ease, where healing could take place, but I just didn’t know how to provide the best care for babies at that point.”

With six years of pregnancy and paediatric care under her belt, she was the right person for the job.

But setting up her business was not easy, especially with Chris being away.

She said: “It was pretty tough to get started, more from an admin point of view than anything else.

“When I moved back to Colchester in 2016, I had a six-month-old baby and a three-year-old, too.

“My husband was supposed to join us six months later, but his posting got extended for another 18 months.

“He was working with the Reserves in Leeds, which meant lots of weekend training, so he would quite often be away for two to three weeks, back for a weekend, and then gone again.

“When you’ve got young children and no family close by, the most difficult things to deal with are the lack of sleep and having very little time to work on the business.”

Sarah’s business allows her to spend time with her sons George and Freddie, three. She loves the freedom it provides and says her clients respect her background.

She said: “It can be very difficult when you’re trying to get set up - often ‘regular’ jobs lack the flexibility required as a military spouse.”

“The biggest issue I found was the cost of childcare was prohibitive.

“When you start up a business, you’re working long hours without any payment initially.

“If your family’s disposable income doesn’t stretch to paying for childcare, then often it’s a case of working late into the evening.”

She added: “I found making consistent small steps was the best way for me to get things done.

“I’d look at my diary on a Sunday night and work out where my free time was going to be for the week, and decide what the most efficient use of that time would be.

“It was surprising how much I could get done if I switched off all phone notifications and had some good focused time.”

She would personally love to see the army put more of a spotlight on self-employment for spouses, having proved it can be done.

As well as her job she still has time to build dens with her sons at High Woods Country Park and spend time cooking, which she finds therapeutic.