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Physiotherapy Blog - Physiotherapy Blog UK

Physiotherapy Blog

Physiotherapy Blog UK


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What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy helps restore movement and function to as near normal as possible when someone is affected by injury, illness or by developmental or other disability.

And as a healthcare profession, physiotherapy’s science foundation covers a broad and varied range of work which involves working with people to promote their own health and well being.

What physiotherapists do

Physiotherapists (“physios“) work in a wide variety of health settings such as:

  • intensive care
  • mental illness
  • stroke recovery
  • occupational health
  • care of the elderly

They combine their knowledge, skills and approach to improve a broad range of physical problems associated with different ‘systems’ of the body. In particular they treat:

Do you want to be a physio? Find out more about a career in physiotherapy and degree courses.
  • neuromuscular (brain and nervous system)
  • musculoskeletal (soft tissues, joints and bones)
  • cardiovascular and
  • respiratory systems (heart and lungs and associated physiology).

Have a look at some conditions which physiotherapists often treat within these systems.

Seeing a physio

People are often referred for physiotherapy by doctors or other health and social care professionals. Increasingly, as a result of changes in health care, people are referring themselves directly to physiotherapists without previously seeing any other health care professional.

Physiotherapists work autonomously, most often as a member of a team with other health or social care professionals. They may be employed or self-employed and can work alone. Physiotherapy practice is characterised by reflective behaviour and systematic clinical reasoning, both contributing to and underpinning a problem-solving approach to patient-centred care.

Being a physio

Both becoming and being a physiotherapist is hard work but there is a rich and rewarding varienty of work available to qualified physiotherapists and the opportunities within the profession, both in the UK and internationally are considerable. Find out more about a career in physiotherapy.


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Falls prevention exercise classes are beneficial for older people, according to a report published this week by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

The delivery of evidence-based exercise classes varies widely between healthcare providers, and many patients need to be made more aware that therapeutic exercise can help to prevent falls, researchers found.

The RCP report is based on feedback from more than 1,700 older people who attended NHS-run exercise programmes that aimed to reduce falls.

The results showed that 96 per cent of older people felt the exercises were beneficial, while 95 per cent were either satisfied or very satisfied with their exercise programme.

Physiotherapist Jill Phipps, falls prevention coordinator at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust welcomed the report. She was a member of the FallSafe steering group, a project led by the RCP which promoted best practice in the prevention and management of falls in hospital wards.

Strength and balance

She said the results showed that physios should be striving to raise awareness of how strength and balance exercises can promote healthy ageing, as well as ensuring that they adhere to the evidence base for exercise.

‘We are delighted that older people enjoy their NHS exercise class and find it beneficial,’ said Ms Phipps.

‘Physios enjoy taking the classes and we’d like to do more. But as the report says there is still work to be done in raising awareness of the evidence base, and the fact that exercise is more cost effective than any other intervention for falls prevention. Exercising in groups also provides an opportunity for social interaction.’

To download the report, see the website link below.


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I thought you might be interested in this page on the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy website.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) is the professional, educational and trade union body for the UK’s 50,000 chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and support workers. Find out more about us.

A Company Incorporated by Royal Charter (England/Wales). Company registration number RC000107.

Registered office:

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
14 Bedford Row

London, WC1R 4ED.

+44 (0)20 7306 6666

Email us

Injuries caused by workers trying to follow a new year’s fitness resolution have led to a big increase in sickness absence in the past few weeks, according to new research.

The problem of over-ambitious exercise regimes is causing headaches for employers having to deal with staff taking time off to recover, it was warned.

Physiotherapy provider Physio Med said over-eager fitness enthusiasts and sporting novices trying to get fit in the new year were leading to an increase in injuries.

A survey of 2,000 chartered physiotherapists found that appointments had increased by up to 50% in recent weeks, mainly to deal with injuries related to exercise and sport.

Mark Fletcher, clinical director at Physio Med, said: “Musculoskeletal injuries are currently the number one reason for long-term sickness absence in the workplace, and in the current climate that is bad news for both businesses and employees.

“We may be well into 2012 now but our physiotherapists are continuing to see the effects of over-enthusiastic New Year fitness campaigns, as their appointment books fill up with new injuries.

“Within the healthcare industry we obviously encourage physical exercise but a sudden increase in physical activity – such as a new fitness campaign – should always be approached with caution.

“To avoid workout injuries and therefore time potentially laid up and unable to work, it’s important to start a new regime slowly, take advice and build up the intensity of activity gradually.”

Award-Winning App Now Released On Android Platform

In 2010, we launched the BackCare iPhone app which received 5-star ratings on the iTunes App Store and went on to win the Charity Times 2011 Technology Award. Today the BackCare App has been launched on the Android platform.

There are currently a staggering 250 million Android devices in use worldwide, with 850,000 new Android devices being activated by Google everyday, so today’s launch represents a huge leap forward in the number of back pain sufferers that we’ll be able to reach and help.



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Physios boost awareness of Parkinson’s

17 April 2012

Physiotherapy staff around the country are getting involved in the push to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease, with the ultimate aim of finding a cure for the debilitating illness.


People with Parkinson’s attend regular classes in London, run by English National Ballet. Photo: Belinda Lawley

Parkinson’s Awareness Week got underway on Monday and more than 200 events are taking place around the UK including research lectures, information days and fundraising events.

Fiona Lindop, a specialist physiotherapist at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and physiotherapy lead for Parkinson’s UK is involved in the week of activities.

Derby open day

She spent Monday morning promoting the Parkinson’s service offered by therapists at Royal Derby Hospital. Ms Lindop and an OT colleague told patients and staff about treatment options for the condition, including the importance of drug regimes.

On Wednesday she is on hand to offer information and advice at the Parkinson’s open day being held at the hospital’s specialist assessment and rehabilitation centre.

The day involves stalls from various organisations including Marie Curie Nurses and Parkinson’s UK, as well as taster sessions for a Parkinson’s seated exercise group, a singing group and Tai Chi.

Yorkshire noodle relay

Bhanu Ramaswamy, an independent consultant physiotherapist and project officer for Parkinson’s on the CSP’s Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Neurology and Chartered Physiotherapists working with older people networks, took part in the Sheffield leg of the Yorkshire and Humber ‘Noodle relay’ on Tuesday.

Noodle, a brain cell toy, is being carried to the 23 Yorkshire and Humber Parkinson’s centres throughout the week to raise awareness of the neurological condition.

Tracking Parkinson’s study

Meanwhile, Parkinson’s UK marked the awareness week by launching the biggest in-depth research study tracking people with the condition.

The charity is calling for 3,000 volunteers to take part in the Tracking Parkinson’s study and is investing over £1.6 million into the project aimed at boosting the chances of finding a cure.

Website links

Marathon physio effort to keep runners moving

19 April 2012

Up to 200 volunteer physiotherapists and students will play a key role supporting runners in the 26-mile London Marathon this Sunday.


Sue Gaastra has been organising physiotherapy for the event for 28 years.

‘This year we have had a major logistical change and I have 100 physios around the course from mile 14 to mile 23.75.

‘50 of them are physios treating the runners mainly dealing with cramp, as well as various musculoskeletal (MSK) problems.

‘50 are students working as scribes, writing the notes to be countersigned by the treating physio. This is because the physios are so busy, with a very fast turnover, and it’s very difficult to write notes when your hands are covered in oil, dirt and body hair.

‘Occasionally we have to advise runners to stop, although our aim is to help keep them going so they can finally reach the finish line.‘

Virgin London Marathon head physiotherapist Susie Jones is organising 80 physios in the finish area, split into nine teams.

‘We deal with any MSK problems and any stress fractures. Obviously if we are worried about a runner they will be further assessed in an accident and emergency  unit. There are quite a few doctors (a lot are cardiologists) on hand and of course St John’s Ambulance so if we encounter hyponatraemia or other medical problems they will be on hand too.

‘The physios will usually administer ice, massage, stretching and advice.’

Working on the finish line will be Scott Mitchell, a senior physio at Move Clinics in west London.

‘We teach people how to run, so we have a great interest in helping runners to enjoy and reach goals in mass participation events like this.

‘I’ve worked on the marathon four times before and a likely difference this year ismore favourable weather conditions. Often, with a spring marathon, after training through the winter there is a tendency for the marathon to fall on a hotter than average day, which catches a lot of people out. This year the forecast is for a cool day with possible showers.’

Adam Rattenberry, a Cardiff-based specialist physiotherapist in sports medicine, has rehabilitated a runner at this weekend’s event.  Marie-Louise Hudson underwent knee arthroscopy and microfracture surgery last October but was determined to compete this year.

‘I have combined her rehabilitation and overseen her many hours of training. I will be there working with her the day before and supporting her through the race, and no doubt picking up the pieces afterwards.’

Two physios will be running the marathon on behalf of a charity for healthier backs. Eoin Carroll of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust and Sally Hopkins of BMI Healthcare have pledged to raise £1,500 for BackCare.

For physios Frank Gilroy and Marc Stevens (pictured at top), completing 26 miles this Sunday may not be too taxing – they spent this week cycling 540 miles from Glasgow to raise money for the city’s Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice.The pair were joined on the ride by three physio colleagues from NHS Forth Valley — Catriona Phin, Dawn Gleeson and Louise Duncan. Already £28,000 has been pledged and you can contribute at www.justgiving.com/ppwhcy-run

21 November 2011 CSP website

A report published today recommends a new independent assessment service (IAS) to provide assessments to individuals once they have been off sick for four weeks should be set up.

Dame Carol Black
photo: Martin Usborne

Report co-author Carol Black (right) said: ‘If implemented these recommendations will ensure many more people with health conditions are able to enjoy the benefit of work; far fewer will needlessly lose work and fall into long-term benefit dependency.’

The IAS proposed in Dame Carol and David Frost’s report has the potential to transform the support offered to those on long-term sick leave, by providing the opportunity for assessments with a suitable clinician such as a physiotherapist, says the CSP.

Many people with long-term health problems could be helped to stay in work, or return to it sooner if they are able to get prompt access to expert advice from a physio or an appropriate occupational health professional, the society said.

‘We hope that the government will accept the recommendations of the review in full to enable this to happen,’ said CSP chief executive Phil Gray.

Funding is ‘essential’

‘However, until now early access to physiotherapy has not been widely available.  If the government really wants to reduce sickness absence, providing the resources and funding so that physiotherapy can be made available at an early stage will be essential.

‘In order to make this a reality the Department of Health and NHS commissioners need to finally make early intervention a major priority.’

The government wants to get 20% of people with long term health problems off benefits.

The government will undertake a comprehensive assessment of the review’s findings and recommendations with the view to publishing a response during 2012, Lord Freud, the minister for welfare reform said.

Edward Davey, minister for employment relations added: ‘Getting the system right is a potential win-win situation so we will be looking at these proposals with interest.’

Self referral

Early access to physiotherapy can cut the time people take off work sick, and save companies and the state money, the CSP told the review body. Self-referral, universal access to occupational health services, and support for employees to remain in work, could all help improve occupational health.

Physios urged to respond to new dementia campaign

8 November 2011

A campaign to raise awareness of the early symptoms of dementia is underway, launched by the Department of Health.

Six out of 10 people with dementia in England go undiagnosed. This means almost 400,000 people could be going without the support of NHS and social care services.

‘People are afraid of dementia,’ said care services minister Paul Burstow.

‘And rather than face the possibility someone we love has the condition, we can wrongly put memory problems down to “senior moments”.

‘Being diagnosed with dementia won’t make the condition worse but leaving it untreated will.’

The £2 million media campaign targets the family and friends of people at risk of dementia who are likely to be the first to see the signs.

Role of physiotherapists

Physiotherapists work as part of a multi-disciplinary team ensuring the delivery of high quality, effective care for people with dementia.

And the importance of physical activity is highlighted by the CSP in its ‘Dementia care’ Physiotherapy works factsheet, available online.

Exercise shows ‘positive results’

‘The role of physical exercise within dementia care is evidenced and demonstrated with very positive results,’ said CSP practice unit head Claire Strickland.

Ms Strickland urged physios to raise awareness in their local area, for example with GPs or those leading on dementia in their trust.

‘Use Physiotherapy works as an “entry” tool, a passport, to talk to people,’ she said.

10 November 2011 on CSP website  www.csp.org.uk

Paralympic athlete Tanni Grey-Thompson (below left) officially cut the red tape on a building housing the University of Bradford’s School of Health Studies.

File 102578Staff and students have relocated from their former site in Trinity Road to the new £10 million building at the gateway to the main campus.

It provides two physiotherapy clinics.

Baroness Grey-Thompson said: ‘The success of the school is that it has been made an amazing place to teach the next generation of physios and nurses.

‘As the health needs of the population become more complex, it’s vital that physio students are able to learn with the most up-to-date equipment.’

A fee-paying clinic provides physiotherapy for the 10,000 students and staff along with the general public.

‘Fantastic perk’

An ‘add-on’ of the new facility, explained clinical lead physiotherapist Kate Butterfield, is to provide a twice-weekly free drop-in clinic for students.

‘This a fantastic perk for the students who can be treated for free straight away in an acute setting and we hope to build it up as a viable clinic.’

The drop-in clinic is run by volunteer student physios overseen by qualified staff and sees around a dozen patients, many with sports injuries.

‘This is a really good way to introduce physio students to things before they go out on placement, to consolidate their knowledge and practice their clinical skills,’ Ms Butterfield said.

‘With all the latest equipment it is a fantastic place to study and will hopefully put Bradford on the map.’

NHS organisations are being urged to make flu vaccinations available to all staff, at all times, to keep up momentum on the ‘flu fighter’ campaign this winter.


The call comes in a statement backed by a host of flu fighter ‘ambassadors’ representing 20 major healthcare bodies and unions, including the CSP. ‘The CSP strongly support this campaign and urge all NHS staff and their organisations to make having the flu vaccination standard practice to protect patients and staff,’ council chair Helena Johnson (right) said. ‘Vulnerable at-risk groups’ ‘By having the flu vaccine, staff will not only protect themselves from flu, but they will also protect their patients, many of whom are in vulnerable at-risk groups.’ NHS Employers is running the campaign on behalf of the Social Partnership Forum. Following the campaign launch in September, the organisation reports that good progress is being made with the vaccination of NHS staff, but ‘we must maintain momentum’. 34% of AHPs had the jab photo: Guzelian Last winter only just over a third of frontline health workers were vaccinated against the virus. And the statistics show that 34.2 per cent of allied health professionals had the jab. Today’s statement says: ‘Last winter little over a third of frontline health workers had a seasonal flu vaccination. We need this to improve, to ensure we protect our staff and those we care for. Ask your manager ‘It is for this reason we support England’s first national staff seasonal flu vaccination campaign for NHS staff and urge staff to help protect the millions of patients who pass through our care every week by asking their managers where and when to get vaccinated.’ Scotland NHS Scotland staff are encouraged through local employer-led campaigns run by each of the health boards to get vacccinated for seasonal flu.