Finding a Physiotherapist

Stay-independent > Finding a Physiotherapist

This guide looks at what you can expect if you visit a physiotherapist either privately or via your doctor for a course of treatment. 

What does a physiotherapist do? 

  • Physiotherapists are health professionals who help restore movement and function to help you in daily life and will diagnose and treat joint and muscle problems as well as offer training to reuse or restore functional use after an injury or medical condition.  
  • Some physiotherapists will specialise in a field of practice such as working with people with a neurological condition or working with children, so it is in your interest to ensure that you find a physiotherapist who has expertise with your condition.  

Support can include: 

  • providing you with exercises to strengthen the muscles around your joints 
  • giving you advice on posture 
  • providing you with pain relief (other than medication), such as ice packs and heat packs 
  • providing you with equipment, such as walking aids and splints 
  • advice on how to keep active in order to improve the function of your joints and maintain your general health. 

Physiotherapists can also offer treatments such as:  

  • massage – which can relax muscles and increase joint movements 
  • electrotherapy – which delivers a tiny electric current to the area where you’re hurting to relieve pain 
  • ultrasound – these sound waves are used to stimulate blood circulation and aim to reduce pain 
  • acupuncture – use of needles which can help with pain relief and promote recovery. 

How do I access physiotherapy services? 

Physiotherapy from the NHS 

In some areas, you can refer yourself to physiotherapy services. However, in the majority of areas it is the general norm to first obtain a referral from a health care professional such as a GP. Either way, your GP should be able to talk to you about what is available in your local area.  

Private physiotherapy 

You can also find a private physiotherapist using the following search tools 

Make sure they’re registered with both the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Note that a private physiotherapist may be able to recommend walking equipment that you can self-purchase. However, if you wish to be provided with walking equipment via the health or social care services it may be worth seeing a physiotherapist from the NHS to see what you are eligible for.