Last updated: 21 February 2018

Physiotherapy helps people affected by injury, illness or disability through:

  • movement and exercise
  • manual therapy
  • education
  • advice

Muscle, back or joint problems are collectively known as musculoskeletal conditions, or MSK for short. They are one of the main reasons people see a doctor, and they can affect everybody.

Importance of looking after yourself

If you look after somebody, this can involve a lot of bending, lifting and laying, which could be a cause for your MSK problem. Often you won't have time to worry about yourself, but if you're not fit, you won't be able to care for others as easily.

Helping yourself

Not everybody needs to see a healthcare professional for an MSK problem. Following good advice can help you to get back to normal, especially if you follow advice as soon as any problem starts. Keeping up with any advice and exercises for your MSK problem could stop it coming back.

If you – or somebody you're caring for – has muscle, back or joint problems, you can visit NHS inform's MSK zone for advice and support on what exercises can help you get moving again.

If things aren't improving after a few weeks, don't let the problem drag on. Speak to your GP practice about how you can access local physiotherapy services.

Accessing a physiotherapist

You can see a physiotherapist:

  • through the NHS, by contacting a physiotherapist directly (self-referral) or via your GP practice
  • through occupational health schemes
  • privately

Further information