What is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapists help people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement, exercise, manual therapy, education and advice.
They maintain health for people of all ages, helping patients to manage pain and prevent disease.
The profession helps to encourage development and facilitate recovery, enabling people to stay in work while helping them to remain independent for as long as possible.
Physiotherapy is a science-based profession and takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and wellbeing, which includes the patient’s general lifestyle.
At the core is the patient’s involvement in their own care, through education, awareness, empowerment and participation in their treatment.
What does the treatment involve?
The aim of physiotherapy is to help restore movement and normal body function in cases of illness, injury and disability.
As well as treating specific problems, your physiotherapist may also suggest ways to improve your general well-being – for example, by taking regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight for your height and build.
Physiotherapists take a holistic approach, looking at the body as a whole rather than focusing on the individual factors of an injury or illness. The person being treated is directly involved in their own care.
A physiotherapist will look at your individual situation. As well as treating the problem, they may also suggest things you can do on a daily basis to help relieve pain and discomfort. They may also give you advice about how to prevent the injury re-occurring.
Physiotherapists use a wide range of treatment techniques and approaches. Some of these are:
- Movement and exercise
- Manual therapy
What should I wear?
Your physiotherapist will discuss with you what will happen during your treatment, including whether you will need to undress at all.
At your first appointment, your physiotherapist will want to look at the area of your body that is causing your problems. He or she may also want to see the muscles or joints working. For example, if you’re having problems with your lower back, your physiotherapist may want to examine this area and also the rest of your back or hips. Likewise, if you have problems with your knees, your physiotherapist will want to look at them while you walk. You won’t be asked to remove more clothes than is necessary, but you may need to undress to your underwear – you may wish to wear a similar alternative such as a sports bra and shorts. You can choose not to undress but this may influence how effective your treatment is because it’s more difficult for your physiotherapist to see what is causing the problem.
If you’re having problems that you think are caused by doing a certain movement or activity, your physiotherapist is likely to want to see you do this. It’s important to bear this in mind when you go to your appointment. For example, if you have pain when you run, take your trainers as your physiotherapist may wish to see you run.
You should be able to request a chaperone to be present during your appointment if you would like. We have male and female physiotherapists at our practice.
How long do sessions last?
Initial assessments can last from between 30-40 minutes.
Follow up treatment times are anywhere from 30 -40 minutes.
Insurance companies may be charged differring amounts dependent upon contractual agreements held.
Do you get treatment on your initial appointment?
You will be asked relevant questions about your health. It will be helpful to bring a list of your tablets with you. In some instances you may be asked to complete some forms.
You will also be asked questions about your home, family, work and hobbies and this is so that we can gauge the physical demands on you in your normal life.
You will be examined, Please discuss with the physiotherapist on the day if you would like a friend or relative to attend the appointment with you.
At the end of your assessment you and your physiotherapist will discuss and agree with you what could be achieved and plan which treatment will be best for you. We always treat on the first session unless instructed not to by an insurance or rehabilitation company.
Do I need to see my doctor first?
You do not need a GP referral to see a private physiotherapist. However if you have private medical insurance you should contact your provider as they may require a medical referral to authorise reimbursement of treatment charges.
Does physiotherapy hurt?
Your physiotherapist will discuss with you any pain you may have during or after your treatment session.
Physiotherapy shouldn’t cause you any long-term pain, but you may feel a bit sore straight after your appointment and for the first couple of days. This may be because, you’re using muscles that you haven’t used for a while, stiff joints have been mobilised or tissues have been stretched.
Any pain should settle, but if it doesn’t get any better, talk to your physiotherapist about changing your treatment.
Keep a record of how long your pain lasts as it’s useful for your physiotherapist to know.
Exercise and advice will be given following treatment to further assist in pain relief and help recover range of movement and strength.
Can I bring someone?
You are more than welcome to have someone chaperone you during your treatment. In some cases a chaperone is compulsory, such as for children or someone with special needs.
How effective is physiotherapy?
In the vast majority of cases physiotherapy is considered extremely effective for appropriate conditions. Research suggests that physiotherapy significantly improves the rehabilitation and recovery of these conditions, as well as being instrumental in the prevention of further injury.
The amount of treatment that is required will vary from person to person.
How will payment be taken?
Payment can be taken by cash, or by debit/credit cards. We run a direct claim facility for those wishing to utilise their health insurance policy. Direct Claim means we charge the insurance company directly and do not ask you to reclaim the charges.
Can I pay using Private Medical Insurance?
Yes you can pay with private medical insurance, you will need your insurance company details and your authorisation code. We are covered by all major private medical insurance companies, including BUPA, Simply Health, SAGA, Cigna,, CS Healthcare, AXA PPP, PRU Health & Aviva.
It is worth noting that many policies require an annual excess to be paid which may mean that you have to finance part of the cost yourself. This can be checked by reviewing your policy or speaking directly to the company. Health Plus submits claims directly to your insurance company. If there is a shortfall, you should be informed by your Insurance Company and we will send you an invoice for the outstanding amount.
How many sessions will I need?
Your physiotherapy treatment is tailored to your individual needs, so it is not possible to advise in advance how many sessions will be required. At the first appointment your physiotherapist will suggest the number of treatments you will require based on your assessment findings.
You can be assured at Healthplus you will not be over or under-treated. We give all our physiotherapists regular audits and case reviews to ensure all our practitioners treat to the same high quality. We will never continue treating beyond the point that is necessary and will teach you how to take steps to help prevent needing future treatment.
Can I stop at any time?
Yes, you can stop your treatment at any time. However, we do recommend that you complete the planned treatment course as some effects are temporary and require repeated session to have a long term impact.
If you feel the treatment is not achieving the results you anticipate, discuss this with your physiotherapist as they may be able to offer alternatives treatment to achieve your desired results.
If you do stop treatment you are welcome to return to physiotherapy when this suits you. If this period is longer than 6 weeks the physiotherapist will need to complete a full review of your initial assessment before recommencing treatment.
How do I know my physiotherapist is suitably trained and qualified to treat me?
Healthplus physiotherapists are fully qualified physiotherapists who all belong to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and have the letters MCSP after their name. This indicates that they have completed a minimum of 3 years training before they can call themselves a Chartered Physiotherapist. In addition, all our therapists are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, a governing body that ensures a high standard of practice from its members.
Ongoing post graduate professional training is also in place for all Healthplus clinical staff. This ensures they are constantly updated on changes in clinical practice that may be recommended by recent research and studies.
Do you treat children?
We are happy to see children with musculoskeletal problems and frequently see teenagers with such issues. However, we do ask that all patients under 16 years of age are accompanied into the treatment room by an adult – preferably a family member. In certain instances, administration forms may need to be signed by an adult on their behalf.
You may also have the choice of a male / female physiotherapist if you prefer.
What should I bring with me?
If you have been given any of the following, please bring them with you to your first attendance.
Referral form or letter
Insurance details (claim forms/numbers)
Information regarding your condition (scan / X-ray reports)
Any supports, appliances, walking aids or exercise sheets issued by any other health practitioner
What clinic policies should I be aware of?
Please give 24 hours notice where possible for cancellations.
We reserve the right to charge for all or part of the treatment costs for appointments cancelled within 24 hours notice or for those patients who do not attend. Every effort will be made to fill your appointment space, but if this cannot be done because of short notice we may be forced to make a charge.
For those patients who have been referred for treatment by a third party, i.e. occupational health department, GP, solicitor, or for those claiming through a medical insurance company, cancellations within 24 hours and non-attendances will be counted towards your treatment allocation and may be charged for appropriately. In some cases there may be a cancellation fee to pay directly to the clinic.
Please call if you have a question or concern, or if you will be late for an appointment. We will do our best to accommodate you if at all possible.
Always try be on time. We try to see all our patients on time or within a few minutes of their scheduled time. Being late may result in a shortened treatment session or a re-scheduling of your appointment.
Please notify your therapist at least one week prior to returning to your doctor or consultant. This gives time for your therapist to update your physician on your progress with a written report if necessary
If you have preferred days and times for attending please try to schedule in advance so that the office staff have an opportunity to give you convenient appointments.
What if I have an increase in symptoms?
Unfortunately, for a few patients, the natural progression of an acute condition may mean that, despite intervention, symptoms continue to increase for a short time before they improve.
It is also common to have some post treatment soreness following physical intervention, i.e. manipulation, mobilisation, stretches and frictions. In addition, you may also experience a little discomfort from any exercises that you have been given in the early stages of your rehabilitation. However, we would not expect there to be a severe increase in symptoms following treatment and, if this is the case, you should contact the clinic for advice.
Be sure to explain to the clinic staff that you have had a significant increase in symptoms that you are concerned about. They will get the therapist covering the clinic to call you back on that same day if at all possible.
We will be able to give you advice over the telephone on how to manage and/or reduce your symptoms, or we may arrange a follow-up appointment so that we can see you earlier and deal with any new problems. In certain circumstances we may recommend that you contact your GP or specialist.
What is my responsibility in physiotherapy?
Without your co-operation and willingness to complete home exercise regimes and incorporate the advice you have been given in daily activities, your response to treatment is very likely to be limited and you are unlikely to fulfil your maximum recovery potential.
Your input is extremely important in expediting your quickest and most effective route to good health.
Do you do home visits?
Healthplus clinics will provide Physiotherapy assessment and treatment in the comfort of your own home, work or sports environment.
We will visit you at your convenience. We provide day, evening and weekend flexible appointments. On our first visit the Physiotherapist will take a detailed history of your presenting condition and your full medical history including your medication. This is important so we can provide a totally holistic approach to your rehabilitation.
The initial assessment and treatment will take about 1 hour. Providing your consent, the Physiotherapist will look at your posture, alignment and range of movement and continue to assess appropriately.
Do you provide occupational health treatment?
We provide Occupational Health Services to business.
Occupational Health is staffed by experienced, qualified specialist advisers and is concerned with the promotion of health and prevention of ill health in employees. The treatment is about managing the effect of the work environment on health and the effect of health on work and where appropriate, advising on reasonable adjustments and adaptations to a person’s job or workplace to be considered by managers.
Will I be expected to do anything following my physiotherapy appointment?
It is quite common to be sent home with further work to do following your appointment in the form of exercises. This is to reinforce the benefits of the treatment you have received and to achieve further improvement.
I have had a car accident and want to attend for physiotherapy paid for by my car insurance company – how does this work?
This is possible however you will need to speak to your car insurance company or solicitor who will arrange for you to have physiotherapy and authorise the sessions allowed.
Please pass on our details to the insurance company and ask them to contact us.
Can I select a male or female physiotherapist?
Yes you can. If you have a preference please ask when we speak to you to book the initial assessment, and you will be booked in with your choice at an appointment time that best suits you.
When should I see a physiotherapist rather than a chiropractor or osteopath?
This is a question we get asked all the time and one, which can produce widely different responses depending on your background. Below is our view, based, as ever, on the available evidence.
There are many similarities between the professions which include;
- we all treat musculoskeletal pain conditions;
- we all have protected titles, meaning that a therapist cannot call themselves an a Chiropractor, an Osteopath or a Physiotherapist, unless they have completed the relevant accredited course;
- we all have university based education.
Put simply the lines between professions such a physiotherapy, chiropractor or osteopath, are becoming more blurred. We all work to reduce pain through optimising your movement – we just tend to use slightly different techniques.
Chiropractors will generally treat pain related problems using manipulation of the joints (adjustments), either of the spine or the limbs. Manipulation is a fast manual technique that takes the joints being treated to the end of their available range of motion.
Osteopaths will use manual, hands on techniques to restore structural alignment with the aim to improve pain and function. They commonly do this with more gentle techniques than manipulation, but can manipulate. The osteopathic philosophy is based upon the belief that in order for the body to be healthy, all body tissues are required to move according to their function.
Physiotherapy in the context of a private clinic for musculoskeletal pain conditions will often employ an approach that is described as bio-psycho-social meaning that treatment is directed to the person as a whole. This is claimed by many different therapies and professions, but in order to actually to do this, the therapist must have a philosophy and an approach to a problem that incorporates a broad skill set. With an ability to assess various different aspects of a problem, the cause can be more effectively identified, and then, efficiently dealt with. These areas requiring assessment for potential involvement include physical aspects such as joint mobility, muscle strength, muscle flexibility, nerve function and sensitivity, body posture, ergonomics, movement patterns, psychological aspects such as beliefs, attitudes, fears, anxiety, and stress, and social aspects such as work patterns, behaviours, and lifestyle. The management of chronic problems must incorporate more than just the physical aspects, and in order to prevent acute (recent) problems from becoming chronic (long term – over 3 months) these same bio-psycho-social aspects need to be addressed. There is good evidence that the psychological & social factors will determine how well someone recovers. These factors are more predictive of a good outcome than X-ray or MRI, so they should not be discounted. Physiotherapists at Healthplus acknowledge the influence of all three aspects on pain, and are well equipped to deal with all.