What is physiotherapy?

10 February 2020

What is physiotherapy? Without a health concern or background in healthcare you may not know. Physiotherapy, or physio as it’s widely known, is a science-based healthcare profession that promotes recovery from injury or illness and aids lifestyle support to those with chronic conditions or disabilities.

Shahnaz Fraser of Spire Norwich Hospital had a chat to the hospital’s Physiotherapy Manager, Mr Peter Penny, to find out more about it.

So what is physiotherapy Mr Penny?

“Physiotherapy helps people to stay active, in work, and independent for as long as possible. It can help people manage pain and regain movement following an illness or injury, and prevent diseases or the need for surgery.

It is used to treat a wide range of problems including musculoskeletal pain anywhere in the body, issues with joints and ligaments and posture problems; as well as neurological issues, respiratory and urinary health. These problems can have occurred because of a life-long chronic condition, ill health or an injury.”

Mr Penny continues, “Physiotherapy takes a ‘whole person’ approach to the patient’s health and wellbeing, not just looking at where the pain or loss of function is currently focused.”

Who will benefit from physiotherapy?

“Anyone who is suffering from pain and/or reduced function can benefit. An initial assessment with a Chartered Physiotherapist, going through medical history and lifestyle factors will determine exactly what course is prescribed. If they decide physio isn’t the right treatment for the patient’s condition, they will refer them to their GP or a specialist consultant.

Here at Spire Norwich Hospital we treat people of any age or ability, including children with musculoskeletal problems from 12 years up.”

What physiotherapy treatments does Spire Norwich Hospital offer?

Spire Norwich Hospital offers a wide range of physio treatments:

  • Acupuncture, which research shows can help provide pain relief to those suffering with headaches, neck and back pain
  • Exercises for muscle and joint pain
  • Gait scanning to assess the way that the patient’s walking
  • Manual therapy – to help mobilise the joints, muscles and tissues
  • Mindfulness – one of our team is a qualified mindfulness teacher to help patients with pain management
  • Sports injury services, enabling our patients to get back to the sport they love as quickly as possible

We hold a course of weekly knee pain exercise classes, which is as it says on the tin – a class specifically for people suffering with knee pain. There is one course for those recovering from knee surgery, and a separate course to help delay the need for surgery, or to get stronger and fitter before having an operation.

We also offer men’s and women’s health clinics covering areas such as pelvic floor – using exercises to improve urinary and gynaecological health.

All of our physiotherapists are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and are chartered members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

What happens at a physio appointment?

“At an initial assessment, the patient’s chosen physiotherapist will discuss medical history and lifestyle, as well as perform a thorough examination.

This assessment will determine the needs of the patient, and enable the physiotherapist to prescribe the best course of treatment. If necessary, they will also discuss the need for any other tests, such as CT, MRI scan or X-ray.

A detailed plan of a course of physiotherapy and exercise will be prescribed to the patient.”

How long would a patient need physio for?

“That entirely depends on the patient. We offer a personalised treatment plan as no two patients are the same. For example, one patient may be asked to come in once a week for six weeks, as well as doing exercises at home during that time. Another patient may need just reassurance and advice to continue independently.

The physiotherapist is there to help and guide the patient, but the onus is on the patient to help themselves get better. So continuing the exercise programme prescribed by the physiotherapist at home will improve the patient’s chances of a quicker recovery.”

What happens at the end of the course?

“After treatment it is recommended that patients remain active and continue the exercises at home. With permission, our physiotherapists will liaise with the patient’s GP or consultant and provide a detailed discharge summary at the end of their treatment.

After a set period of time, if there has been little or no improvement we will prescribe further physio sessions, discuss options such as imaging or refer the patient to a specialist consultant.

We understand that having medical treatment, even for a relatively straightforward treatment such as physiotherapy, can be a time of worry. Our team of highly trained physiotherapists will be there with you, every step of the way.”

Call 01603 255 587 to book an initial assessment with one of our Chartered Physiotherapists. Or find out more here .


The content of this page is provided for general information only. It should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other healthcare professionals.

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