Physiotherapy Explained

What is a Physiotherapist?

A physiotherapist is a health practitioner who has a minimum of a 3 year bachelor of science degree in Physiotherapy. Physiotherapy is a protected title so can only be used by individuals who have a specific degree in that area. The degree itself is a broad ranging degree and involves modules in areas such as respiratory (breathing issues), Cardiology (circulation issues), Neuromuscular studies (nerve issues), and Musculskeletal problems (muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones). Their broad teaching enables physiotherapists to go into many areas of the NHS. The most common area to go into for private practice is musculoskeletal.


What does Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy involve?

Musculoskeletal physiotherapists work with patients to assess, diagnose and help to restore and maintain health for people of all ages affected by injury, illness or disability. This is done through a holistic approach to treatment which looks at the patient’s lifestyle and goals, and engages the patient in their own treatment.

Musculoskeletal physiotherapists are equipped to help with a wide variety of problems including sports injuries (damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage), back and neck pain, orthopaedic conditions (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis) post surgical rehabilitation (ligament repair, knee and hip replacements), shoulder problems (frozen shoulder, instability), and postural issues, plus a range of other problems

Physiotherapist will spend time taking a detailed history of your present complaint along with a full medical history. This information is essential for the practitioner to form an initial impression of what the issue and cause could be. They will then ask you to do specific movements and carry out specific clinical tests to confirm their diagnosis.


What Techniques will be used?

Physiotherapy tends to focus on using exercise prescription to reduce pain and increase function. Physiotherapy in the NHS usually involves informing the patient and giving exercises that will help them to manage their issue. However, you may find in private practice that more manual therapy techniques are used. These can include but are not limited to:

  • Soft tissue massage
  • Joint mobilisations
  • Medical acupuncture
  • Soft tissue mobilisations
  • Spinal manipulation



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