A guide to physiotherapy

Published on 21/9/2021
Reviewed on 27/9/2023 by Bryony Rhodes-Wort

Your questions about physiotherapy, answered by our clinical team here at Simplyhealth.

What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a treatment that helps restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness, or disability. Performed by qualified practitioners called physiotherapists, it can help people of all ages manage pain, reduce the risk of injury and improve movement.

Is my physiotherapist qualified?

Physiotherapy is a regulated profession and is provided by specialist trained and regulated practitioners called physiotherapists. In order to use this title, they must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The HCPC ensures that each physiotherapist adheres to a professional code of conduct and performs continual professional development (CPD).

You can check your physiotherapist is registered on the HCPC website.

Physiotherapist holding patient's arm up to feel the muscle movement in their back

What does a physiotherapist do?

Physiotherapy can help with a wide range of health conditions including:

  • musculoskeletal conditions (bones, joints, soft tissue) such as spinal and joint pain, sports injuries, and degenerative and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis
  • neurological conditions (brain and nervous system) such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) and head injuries which can result in movement and balance problems
  • medical rehabilitation following surgery or medical procedures 
  • elderly rehabilitation, assisting to maintain independence and mobility 
  • respiratory conditions (lungs and breathing) such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis and asthma
  • pre and postnatal conditions 
  • paediatric conditions such as physical developmental delays or disabilities.

A few of the main approaches that physiotherapists use are:

  • Advice and information to educate patients on their daily lives, including posture and movement techniques to prevent injury
  • Tailored exercises recommended specifically for the patient's needs that can improve their mobility, strength and general health
  • Manual therapy is sometimes used, where the physiotherapist will use their hands to encourage better movement and to help with stiffness or to relieve pain

I feel like I need a physio. Should I book an appointment?

If you have a muscle injury or pain, visiting the physiotherapist could be worthwhile.

But if you're not sure and want to save yourself unnecessary travel, we have a virtual physiotherapy service through our 1-2-3 Health Plan. It's a simple and convenient way of speaking to a qualified physiotherapist or sports therapist without leaving your house. Book an appointment and be assessed by a qualified professional who can determine the next steps for your recovery.

How much is a physiotherapy appointment?

Physiotherapy is available through the NHS, but there can be long waiting lists.

Private physiotherapy can mean you get seen within a few days without a referral. Appointment costs vary depending on your area and the physiotherapist you see, with average prices around £40-£50.

The average length of an appointment is 30 mins, but this can depend on the treatment you need. 

Access discounted physiotherapy sessions

Get health cover and access to £39.50 physio appointments through our partner Ascenti when you join Simplyhealth. Plans start from £20 a month

What should you take to your appointment?

You want to be able to provide as much information as possible. A list of current medication and any medical reports regarding your condition (e.g. X-rays, MRI reports) can assist the physiotherapist in making an accurate diagnosis.

It's also a good idea to take or wear shorts and/or a vest to your appointment as you may need to undress to enable the physiotherapist to see and treat the area.

Physiotherapist discusses symptoms and potential treatment plan with patient using clipboard, pen and paper

What happens in a physiotherapy appointment?

Trying something different can be daunting, especially if it involves your health and wellbeing. That's why we've had a chat with a qualified physiotherapist here at Simplyhealth.


Find out exactly what to expect on your first visit to the physiotherapist. The type of discussions you'll have. And what will happen going forward.

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