FAQs

Hands That Heal treatment room 1

Many people are unfamiliar with physiotherapy treatment and its many benefits. Read our FAQs to discover how it could help you recover from injury or manage a medical condition:

  • What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a skilled healthcare discipline which identifies and treats issues causing pain and movement problems. Conditions can range from sports and workplace injuries to the symptoms of diseases such as arthritis, and rehabilitation after surgery.

As well as using a range of hands-on treatments, the Hands That Heal team assess and advise on aspects of our patients’ general long term health and wellbeing, such as diet and exercise.

Read more about the range of conditions we treat and the services we offer.

  • Does physiotherapy hurt?

Mostly not. However, depending on their condition and the kinds of treatments required, some patients may experience some discomfort after a session.

This is generally a positive sign that the physiotherapy treatment is working and their body is responding as it should. Any discomfort should not generally last more than 48 hours.

Read more about the range of conditions we treat and the services we offer.

  • What can physiotherapy do?

Physiotherapy can help to restore normal movement and eradicate pain resulting from illness, injury or surgery. It can also help provide stress relief and restore general wellbeing.

Practitioners have a detailed understanding of how our bodies, muscles and joints move. We can carry out a range of physical treatments and advise on health and lifestyle habits, to help us overcome problems ranging from sports injury to arthritis and work-related strain.

Read more about the range of conditions we treat and the services we offer.

  • What physiotherapy treatments are there?

There are many physiotherapy treatments available, including massage and soft tissue manipulation to promote healing; heat therapy to soothe and free joints; strengthening exercises aimed at improving support for injured joints, and ‘range of motion’ exercises, designed to keep them moving freely.

Physiotherapists sometimes use electrical therapy to stimulate blood flow to muscles and speed up healing. Kinesiology taping helps to improve joint stability, relieve pain, correct postural issues and improve athletic performance.

Acupuncture can also deal with a range of musculoskeletal problems, including back pain. It works by targeting some of the 500 acupuncture points within the body, and stimulating the brain to release natural pain relieving substances, called endorphins, which encourage healing.

As well as these specific treatments, we can provide invaluable advice on lifestyle changes to avoid illness and pain. This might include improving posture and gait, diet and exercises which, done regularly, will enhance mobility.

Read more about the range of conditions we treat and the services we offer.

  • Can physiotherapy offer treatment for rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive condition in which the body’s own immune system attacks joints, weakening them and causing redness, inflammation and pain.

A physiotherapist can help you understand the impact arthritis is having on your joints. We can then carry out a range of treatments to provide relief, including ice packs for swollen and inflamed joints, soothing heat treatments, splinting joints for support, and pain relieving electrical treatments such as TENS.

As well as treating you ourselves, we can provide you with a regime of therapies and exercises for you to continue at home, to help manage the long term impact of your illness.

Read more about the range of conditions we treat and the services we offer.

  • Can physiotherapy offer treatment for osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis causes wear and tear to the bones in your joints, restricting movement and often causing bouts of severe pain. Physiotherapists can prescribe a regime of exercise and relieving treatments, to help control the impact of this condition.

For example, we can teach you safer lifting techniques and better posture, to lessen the impact on already weakened joints. We can also recommend exercises to help keep you supple, and weight management to lessen the burden on your joints. Treatments we recommend alongside this might include ice packs to counteract pain and reduce swelling.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I suffer from back pain/back stiffness/neck pain/neck stiffness as a result of my work, what should I do?

You would benefit from visiting a physiotherapist, who would be able to review your work-related activities and help to identify the causes of your back and neck pain and how to prevent it.

For example, if you do a manual job involving lots of heavy lifting, we can recommend alternative lifting techniques to minimise the impact on your body. Or if you spend much of your working day sitting at a desk, we can assess your workstation and suggest alternative poses, new equipment and desk set-ups, exercises and regular rest regimes which will help you overcome your problem.

Of course, we can also treat the pain itself with techniques such as massage, acupuncture, ultrasound and electrical therapy, or TENS.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I’m an employer and want to know can physiotherapy treatment improve my employees’ health and safety, and reduce sickness absence?

Recent estimates from 2013/14 showed that 8.3 million working days were lost in a year due to muscular and joint-related injuries. The majority of these absences were down to poor handling practices. 35% of work-related injuries were caused by falls, slips and trips. Therefore, looking after your employees isn’t just morally good, it also makes clear economic sense.

Physiotherapists can obviously promote recovery from such pain and injury. We can also advise on steps to prevent it from happening in the first place – from safe lifting techniques to workstation assessment and adjustments.

Find out more about the corporate physiotherapy packages offered by Hands That Heal.

  • Can physiotherapy treatment help me recover from pregnancy and childbirth?

Having a baby is one of the toughest things a woman’s body will ever do. Carrying additional weight during pregnancy can place extra strain on your joints and weaken bladder function, while some women suffer from more serious conditions like symphysis pubis dysfunction, which can cause severe pain and hamper movement.

This physical stress doesn’t end with giving birth, and recovery afterwards is made more challenging by the demands of handling a growing youngster with their boundless energy!

A physiotherapist can aid and speed up the recovery process, by treating the painful symptoms with therapies such as massage and heat treatment. We can also recommend exercises to improve mobility and lower pelvic strength, helping you to get back to normality as quickly as possible.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • Can physiotherapy offer treatment for fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a painful and debilitating condition which can affect people of any age, causing periodic pain and stiffness and affecting a range of joints or even the whole body.

A physiotherapist can help by teaching you how to manage your condition and minimise its impact on your life.

This can include exercises to build your strength and provide added support to the affected joints, and ways of relieving deep muscle pain. We can also advise you on lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise which will help you prevent painful flare-ups from occurring.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • Can physiotherapy help with joint stiffness and joint pain?

Yes it can, in a range of different ways.

Joint stiffness most commonly affects our wrists, knees, hips and necks and has a variety of causes, from soft tissue injury to extended periods of immobility, the onset of ageing and diseases like arthritis. Firstly, we will seek to understand what is causing your stiffness, whether that be diet and lifestyle, a medical condition or an issue with posture or your home or work environment.

We will then help you eradicate it by using appropriate treatment options, such as manual or massage therapy and targeted exercises. We are also likely to recommend changes to your daily life which will help to prevent the onset of joint stiffness in the future, and may signpost you to sources of medical treatment.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I’m suffering from neck pain and neck stiffness, what can I do?

Neck pain and stiffness is a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) and one of the most common complaints physiotherapists deal with.

If you suffer from recurrent neck pain and stiffness, it would be worth visiting a physiotherapist, who will assess the likely causes of your problem before carrying out remedial therapies and potentially recommending lifestyle changes to help prevent it in the future.

Pain in your neck, also known as your cervical spine, is often a repetitive strain injury resulting from habits and environmental issues such as poor posture or inappropriate workstation set up.

So, as well as soothing the symptoms through techniques such as massage therapy or acupuncture, we are likely to advise you on preventative range of motion exercise regimes as well as workplace and home equipment adjustments.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I’ve had surgery and am struggling with my flexibility and mobility, can physiotherapy treatment help me?

Having surgery can have significant knock-on effects on our health and mobility beyond the actual operation itself. For example, depending on the nature of the treatment you have had, you might have been laid up for a period of time, making you weaker and less mobile overall.

Physiotherapy can be a dramatic aid to overall recovery.

Therapies such as heat treatment, massage and acupuncture can target the affected area specifically, promoting increased blood flow and healing. However, through rounded analysis we can also look at your wellbeing as a whole, and recommend exercises to help you regain your strength and independence.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I’m suffering from ankle pain, what can I do?

Your ankle is formed by three joints, your shin bone (tibia), your fibula and your ankle bone (talus). It is supported by strong ligaments but is still one of the most commonly injured joints, carrying the full weight of your legs. The most common injury is a sprained ankle but ankles are also affected by conditions such as Achilles tendonitis or arthritis.

Depending on the severity of your injury, medical treatment such as painkillers and complete rest may by the first priority.

However, physiotherapists can also help to promote faster recovery from ankle pain and strain, through range of movement exercises and therapies such as heat and ultrasound treatments.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I’m experiencing foot pain when I walk, what can I do?

Unsurprisingly, given they carry our entire bodily weight, our feet commonly suffer from the strains of daily life.

Causes of foot pain a physiotherapist can help you with include arthritis, Achilles tendon injuries, plantar fasciitis (heel pain) and general sprains and strains.

The support we offer might include heat, acupuncture and massage treatments – as well as range of movement exercises. We are also likely to analyse the potential causes of your foot pain, and recommend remedial steps, from supportive footwear to exercises, to help prevent a recurrence.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I have knee pain what can I do?

The knee is one of the largest and most complex joints in your body. It also carries one of the heaviest loads and is therefore prone to strain and injury.

Your knees can be affected by conditions including torn cartilage, runner’s knee, arthritis and fracture or displacement of the patella or knee cap. These can result in pain, locking and/or weakness, which can be extremely debilitating given the vital role your knee plays in your movement.

Physiotherapy can treat the cause and symptoms, using therapies such as heat treatment, ultrasound, manipulation and acupuncture, to soothe and strengthen after injury, disease or knee replacement.

We can also prescribe flexibility promoting exercises to help you maintain movement, as well as preventative strategies for less risky bending and stretching.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I have stiff shoulders/painful shoulders, what can I do?

Shoulder pain and stiffness are common problems and are often caused by psychological as much as physical stress.

Physiotherapists can advise you on stretching and relaxation therapies including pilates, as well as reviewing your lifestyle and workplace arrangements for other potential contributory causes. For example, poor workstation set up can be a major factor in shoulder pain for people who do desk jobs.

We can also help to relieve your symptoms through therapies including massage, heat treatment and acupuncture.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I suffer wrist pain/wrist stiffness when I write or lift objects, what can I do?

Wrist pain is very prevalent and can result from anything from repetitive strain injury (RSI) to a sudden issue such as a sprain of fracture.

Causes of wrist pain include osteoarthritis of the thumb, a wrist or scathoid fracture (the bone at the base of your thumb near your wrist); wrist impaction syndrome (resulting from repeated strain lifting weights or participating in sports like golf; tendinopathy caused by repetitive strain (new mothers constantly picking up their new born babies can suffer from this, for example), or arthritis.

A physiotherapist can help you to diagnose both your specific wrist problem and its cause, and then provide you with a holistic blend of therapies such as manipulation, heat treatment, splinting and acupuncture. We can also advise you on behavioural changes to minimise the recurrence of your condition.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I suffer elbow pain when I move it or lift objects – what can I do?

Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are typical conditions which restrict movement in a person’s elbow and cause severe pain.

Despite their names, they can affect anyone, and result from repetitive strain such as heavy lifting. For example, mums and dads of babies and young children can suffer from tennis elbow.

A physiotherapist can aid recovery through a range of therapies including targeted exercises, heat treatment, massage and ultrasound. We will also recommend exercises you can continue at home to speed up recovery and prevent recurrence, and changes you can make to the activities which caused the condition in the first place.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I have hand pain/hand stiffness/hand swelling – what can I do?

Swollen joints or edema in the hands and fingers can be extremely debilitating, as we rely on our hands for so many of our daily activities.

Hand pain, swelling and redness is often caused by medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and can prevent us from undertaking basic tasks from opening food containers to fastening our clothes.

Physiotherapists can provide treatments such as heat therapy to relieve the symptoms. We can also recommend exercises such as range of movement and object manipulation and squeezing, to help you retain as much hand movement as possible.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I’m suffering from severe back pain – what can I do?

Back pain is a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) suffered by a very high proportion of people at some point in their lives. It also includes neck pain and repetitive strain injury (RSI), which is now known as Work Relevant Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD). The back is sensitive because it is made up of such a complex joint structure, and carries the load of our entire body. Good care of our backs is absolutely essential to retaining the best possible quality of life, but many people don’t know how best to look after theirs and end up causing damage through habits such as heavy lifting or bad posture, or spending too much time in one position. Back pain can be amplified by anxiety and stress. Of course, it can also be brought on by medical conditions such as arthritis or slipped discs.

Back pain can vary from the odd twinge to an ongoing and serious issue. It can disappear relatively quickly, however, with correct management.

A physiotherapist will start by analysing whether your back pain is related to a medical problem and, if not, what is causing it. We will then treat it using a range of therapies including massage and acupuncture, as well as advising you on how best to prevent and manage future pain.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I have a sports injury giving me leg pain/knee pain/ankle pain/back pain and it is affecting my sports performance. Can physiotherapy treatment help?

While good for our general health, being involved in either an amateur or professional sport can also put a strain on our body and its musculoskeletal system, sometimes causing injuries which in turn affect our performance.

Sports physiotherapy is a specialised area which can analyse pain and stiffness resulting from or affecting your sports performance. We can also suggest treatments and give exercise advice to help rectify it and prevent ongoing problems.

We provide pre-participation screening, to identify any potential problems and recommend ways of avoiding them, in order to maximise your competitive potential by playing to your strengths and avoiding weak areas. Advice on appropriate equipment and cardiovascular fitness programmes designed to aid your return to sports participation after injury is also part of our service.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I have bad posture, can physiotherapy treatment help?

Your body with its musculoskeletal system is a complex piece of machinery. Like a machine, if one part falls out of sync with the rest, it can result in wear and tear and breakdowns.

Posture is one important way in which your body can become imbalanced. It is vital that your neck, shoulders, spine and pelvis are correctly configured and this alignment should ideally look like a figure of five.

However, modern life, which often involves sitting at a desk or travelling long distances in a car, can interfere with this ideal posture. If you repeatedly sit or stand wrongly, it can result in a particular muscle or joint becoming strained, inflamed and ultimately causing pain and discomfort.

A physiotherapist is a specialist in correct posture and movement. We can analyse yours to identify any issues, and then tell you how to correct them, either through exercise, holding yourself differently or, in some cases, special clothing or equipment.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I’m getting a lot of bad headaches – can physiotherapy treatment help?

Headaches are, sadly, an all-too-common feature for many people these days. We’ve become conditioned to take them for granted and simply reach for the painkillers whenever one strikes.

However, not enough people realise that the cause of many recurrent headaches can be understood, and treated, using physiotherapy. A large proportion of them may result from problems in the neck. One example of this is a cervicogenic headache.

Physiotherapy, which uses a variety of treatments including massage, manipulation, electrical impulses and acupuncture, can identify and treat such neck problems, providing longer term relief from headaches.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I suffer from spondylosis – can physiotherapy treatment help?

Cervical spondylosis, or cervical disc disease, is the medical name for arthritis of the spine. If you have this condition, a physiotherapist can teach you stretching exercises which you can do to strengthen your neck and vertebrae, and help guard against pain.

At your first appointment, we will carry out a thorough examination and ask you a series of questions, in order to fully understand your condition and decide how best to treat it. We will need to know exactly where you are experiencing pain – for example, in your neck, down your arm or between your shoulder blades, and whether you also have any tingling. We will also check your strength and reflexes.

Then, we can recommend a programme of treatment which may also include massage therapy, manipulation, acupuncture and ultrasound.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I’ve slipped a disc in my back – can physiotherapy treatment help?

In many cases, slipped discs go back into place by themselves. However, a physiotherapist can help to speed up the recovery process and avoid another episode. After carrying out a full evaluation of your condition, we will draw up a stretching and exercise routine to help strengthen your muscles and support your back as it recovers. We can also tell you which activities to avoid – such as types of lifting, reaching and stretching.

In most cases we combine this with a programme of rehabilitative treatment which might include things like massage therapy, manipulation, acupuncture and ultrasound.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I’m suffering from painful sciatica, can physiotherapy treatment help?

Sciatica is the name for pain which you feel along the sciatic nerve which runs down your back, through your pelvis, into your buttocks, right down your legs and into your feet.

This condition doesn’t always need treatment and can resolve itself. However, a physiotherapist can often speed up your recovery by recommending a programme of exercises aimed at freeing up whatever is putting pressure on your sciatic nerve and improving your overall strength and posture.

We might also offer you therapies such as massage, manipulation, acupuncture and ultrasound.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I have whiplash after a car accident – can physiotherapy treatment help?

Whiplash results from your head being thrown suddenly forwards and then backwards, for example during a car accident. This can result in severe pain and stiffness in your neck. While very uncomfortable, it is rarely serious. Recovery can be helped by physiotherapy.

Your physiotherapist will be able to carefully analyse your individual issue and then use a range of techniques, including manipulation, massage and acupuncture, to provide you with relief.

We can also teach you pain relief techniques, including heat therapy and cold compresses, and recommend exercise regimes which will provide comfort, improve your flexibility and strengthen the muscles around the affected area.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I have a torn muscle in my arm/leg/shoulder – can physiotherapy treatment help?

Muscles get damaged when their fibres cannot cope with the pressure placed on them either by exercise or repetitive strain injury. Symptoms include spasms, weakness, pain, tightness, inability to fully extend the affected body part and reduced performance, either when playing sport of carrying out day-to-day tasks. Commonly affected muscles are those which carry the greatest load, including your calves, hamstrings, back and biceps.

A physiotherapist can carry out treatments to promote recovery, including ultrasound to increase blood flow to the affected muscle and encourage it to heal, massage, manipulation and hot and cold compresses. We may also recommend targeted exercises to rebuild your strength and flexibility in the surrounding area.

If you suspect that you may have torn a muscle, there are things you can do to prevent further damage before visiting us. These include elevating and resting the affected limb, applying ice packs, adding a compression bandage and reducing or stopping the physical training which led to the injury.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • I’ve a pulled ligament in my arm/leg/shoulder – what should I do?

Ligaments are the strong and stretchy tissues which hold the various joints in your body in place. They can get torn when they are suddenly stretched, for example as a result of cockling over on your ankle or jumping and bending your knee the wrong way.

Ligament ruptures are painful and recovery can take a number of weeks. The first thing to note if you suffer such an injury, is the importance of keeping moving. If you stop moving around on the affected joint, it is more likely to remain stiff and heal in a tightened position, hampering your future movement.

A physiotherapist can aid your recovery by using a range of therapies to promote healing, such as massage, manipulation and ultrasound to increase blood flow to the affected area and kickstart the healing process.

We can also recommend an exercise and stretching regime which will support your recovery and help avoid further issues.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • When would I seek private physiotherapy treatment as opposed to NHS?

There are various different routes to physiotherapy treatment. Depending on your condition, you may be eligible for NHS treatment, via hospital or a referral from your GP. Your workplace healthcare scheme may give you access to physiotherapy treatment, or in many parts of the UK you can refer yourself for private treatment. Your GP or local NHS Authority or Trust will be able to tell you whether self-referral is available in your area.

Alternatively, there are many private physiotherapists like Hands That Heal practising across the UK. You can contact us directly to arrange treatment, which you will pay for yourself. If you are a member of a private healthcare scheme, they may cover you for private physiotherapy treatment. Check with your individual provider if you are covered and then get in touch with us.

The basic distinction between private physiotherapy treatment and physiotherapy via NHS referral, is that the NHS deals mainly with chronic issues stemming from medical causes, such as post-surgery recovery, physical issues caused by serious conditions such as cystic fibrosis and stroke rehabilitation. Private physiotherapy, meanwhile, deals with the rest of the spectrum, from sports injury to arthritis management and pain resulting from workplace-induced aches and pains.

Read more about the range of treatments we offer and the kinds of conditions we deal with.

  • How much does private physiotherapy treatment cost?

Costs vary depending on the nature of your condition and the treatments required.

When you visit us for the first time, we will discuss with you in detail the programme of treatment we recommend, how long we expect it to take and the likely cost, both per session and overall. This will give you a clear idea of what to expect before you go ahead.

At Hands That Heal, we are committed to results and focus on ensuring you start to experience relief from your very first session.

  • What qualifications should my physiotherapist have?

Physiotherapy is an intimate service, and it’s important to choose someone you feel comfortable with, and who has recognised industry qualifications and experience in their field. They will have undertaken a relevant two or three-year course in physiotherapy, and have completed a minimum number of hours of clinical practice.

All physiotherapists have to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) in order to call themselves a physiotherapist or practise as one. If you want to check someone out, you can search for their name on the www.hcpc-uk.co.uk website.

Most physiotherapists also belong to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, a professional representative body. However, this is not a legal requirement. You can read more about this organisation at www.csp.org.uk.

All members of our Hands That Heal team are time served and accredited, with extensive experience in elite sport, the NHS and private practice. For more details visit our Team page.

  • I’m over 50 – what can I do to help me retain as much flexibility and mobility as possible to remain active?

Keeping fit and active is by far the best way of retaining mobility and flexibility into older age.

Ageing increases your likelihood of suffering from conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, balance, and bladder and bowel control issues. Physiotherapists can advise on preventing and managing the onset of such physical issues, and prescribe safe exercise regimes which are manageable within your specific individual capabilities. We can also help you recover  faster from health issues like chest infections.

We may also recommend safer approaches to lifting, ways of avoiding falls and a holistic approach to healthier eating, to help keep you in tip-top condition for as long as possible.

For more details of how our services can help people aged 50 and above, visit our Keeping Active Over 50 page. 

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