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Ask the Physio

Here are some of the commonly asked questions answered by one of our experienced physiotherapists.
Need help? If we can’t answer your question below,
call us on 01773 814 403.


A physiotherapist is a person who is qualified to a degree level in the rehabilitation of patients, affected by injury, illness or disability. The physiotherapist may use manual therapy, education, exercise, postural advice, and electrotherapy and guided self-management to facilitate recovery and promote independence.
Yes. Our nurses have examples of exercises that are available to access for SAS customers. These can be accessed within the pastoral & wellbeing section listed within the Whole School Wellbeing section. For the password to this section, please contact our nurses on 01773 814 403 or email them on nurse@uk-sas.co.uk.
Musculoskeletal disorders are injuries or pain affecting the joints, ligaments, tendons, nerves of the body and any structures that support the limbs and spine.
Back pain, with or without referred buttock or leg pain / symptoms · Neck pain, with or without referred arm or hand pain / symptoms · Headaches · Vertigo · Peripheral Joint problems including any Joint sprains, Muscle strains, Inflamed tendons (tendinopathies), Sports injuries or Bursitis. · Arthritic Joints eg OA Knee or Hip joints · Following Orthopaedic surgery or Spinal surgery · After Bone or Joint fractures · Pain as a result of Postural or Work Place (Ergonomic) issues · Any Musculo-skeletal condition where surgery is not deemed appropriate
Yes, 90% of people will experience back pain at least once in their life (and make full recovery!).
Research shows 50% of back pain sufferers are involved in manual/heavy jobs. However 50% of back pain suffers have sitting or stationary jobs.
Heavy manual work · Repeated bending/lifting, especially if twisting or holding a load is involved. · Prolonged “Stoop” standing · Prolonged sitting at a desk especially if a poor posture.
Because it causes what physiotherapist term as “mechanical pain”. In simple terms sitting, especially if unsupported / slouching greatly increases the stretch and loading of the soft tissues of the back (the discs and ligaments). This sustained stretch can eventually lead to pain.
· Regular breaks from sitting · A work place/ergonomic assessment · Back exercises · Advice from a physiotherapist
· Yes severe pain at night/when lying down. · If very painful to cough/sneeze · Leg pain numbness/pins and needles · Feeling unwell generally · Any change in bladder and bowel habits
One of the most common seen conditions affecting the foot is known as Plantar Fasciitis. The Plantar Fascia is a band of tissue that supports the arches of the foot and runs from the heel to the fore foot. If it becomes strained and inflamed it can be very painful and debilitating.
Typically heel pain, but this can extend across the whole foot · Very often the first few steps on arising in the morning are very painful. This pain is also seen if you have been sat for a while · The pain often eases once you “get going” · Symptoms are often aggravated by high impact sport and activity or following long periods of standing
Unsupportive footwear such as flip flops are generally best avoided. Try wearing a supportive shoe or trainer with good arch support and cushioned insoles avoid high heels!
Try the simple exercises on the website · Calf stretches too are recommended · Try ice/cold. This can be done with placing foot on an icepack (frozen pack wrapped in damp t-towel) or try rolling a bottle of frozen water/or a cold tin under the foot
Shoulder impingements are a very common cause of shoulder pain. Typically pain is over the top of the shoulder and often into the middle of the upper arm.
Most commonly the pain is due to inflammation or thickening of the tendons that move and support the shoulder (these are 4 muscles that work together and are collectively called the Rotator Cuff). These cuff muscles lie between an arch of bone at the top of the shoulder of the arm bones. When you lift your arm the 2 bones compress the tendon and in time this can cause irritation and pain. The other tissue that can be affected is known as a bursa. This is a protective sack of fluid that lies between the cuff tendon and the bones – it too can be inflamed by the compression of it during lifting of the arm.
It can come on very gradually or quite suddenly e.g. after trauma or such as throwing a ball for the dog! Symptoms include:- · Pain over the top and outer shoulder · Pain on lifting and above your head · Pain on dressing or reaching behind your back · Pain at night – sleep disturbance is very common · Feeling of arm weakness or heaviness · Pain can extend to the wrist and you may even experience pins and needles
Avoid activities that provoke pain, such as repeated over head lifting/swimming/tennis. Do not however stop moving your arm completely – try to continue with normal daily activities. Use an ice pack (frozen bag of peas) wrapped in a damp t-towel for 10 minutes x 3 times a day. Seek GP or pharmacist advice on medication such as simple analgesia or anti-inflammatories. Seek Physiotherapy advice for appropriate Rehabilitation.
Commonly this is “Tennis Elbow” clinically known as lateral epicondylitis (inflammation of the outer part of the elbow where the common tendon for 7 forearm muscles attaches). It often occurs by strenuous overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, near the elbow joint.
You may notice pain on the outer aspect of the forearm at the “bend” of the elbow When lifting or bending :- - When gripping objects - Twisting movements, such as wringing out a flannel, opening a jar - Fully straightening your elbow
Tennis elbow is a self-limiting condition, which means it will eventually get better without treatment. However, there are treatments that can be used to improve your symptoms and speed up your recovery. It is important that you rest your injured arm and stop doing the activity that’s causing the problem. Holding a cold compress, such as a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel, against your elbow for a few minutes several times a day can help ease the pain. Taking painkillers, such as paracetamol, may help reduce mild pain caused by tennis elbow. Non-steriodal anti-inflammatroy medication such as ibuprofen may also help reduce pain. Physiotherapy may be recommended in more severe and persistent cases. Massaging and manipulating the affected area may help relieve the pain and stiffness, and improve the range of movement in your arm. Surgery may be used as a last resort to remove the damaged part of the tendon. Most cases of tennis elbow last between six months and two years. However, in about 9 out of 10 cases, a full recovery is made within a year.
It’s not always easy to avoid getting tennis elbow, without not putting too much stress on the joint.
Tennis elbow is a common musculoskeletal condition. It’s estimated that as many as one in three people have tennis elbow at any given time. Each year in the UK, about five in every 1,000 people go to see their GP about tennis elbow. The condition usually affects adults and is more common in people who are 40-60 years of age. Men and women are equally affected.
You can be referred by the SAS Nursing Team to our National Network of Physiotherapists Providers (assuming eligible under insurance cover!). We only use Qualified Physiotherapists who are HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) registered and are members of the CSP (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy).
Neck pain is a very common problem and is rarely due to serious injury. The most common type of neck pain is called non-specific neck pain (also called mechanical neck pain) and does not always have an obvious cause.
It is usually caused by a combination of factors, such as joint stiffness, weakness of the muscles and sitting in the same position for too long. Other factors such as stress, worries about pain or lack of regular exercise can also be related to neck pain.
Because it causes what physiotherapist term as “mechanical pain”. In simple terms sitting, especially if sat in a prolonged or unsupported posture greatly increases the stretch and loading of the soft tissues of the neck (the discs and ligaments). This sustained stretch can eventually lead to pain. • For example – if you bend your finger back and hold it, on stretch, eventually it will hurt! • Letting go of the finger will ease the pain. • Sitting has the same effect and regularly taking a break by standing up or moving the head will help it stop!
• Regular breaks from prolonged or poor sitting position • A work place/ergonomic assessment • Simple Neck exercises • Advice from a physiotherapist
Some simple ones can be found on this website under the pastoral and wellbeing resources client area.
Yes contact the SAS Physiotherapist using the “Ask My Physio” link.
• You can be referred by the SAS Nursing Team to our Network of Physiotherapists. • We only use Qualified Physiotherapists who are HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) registered and are members of the CSP (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy).
• Yes severe pain at night / when lying down. • If very painful to cough / sneeze • Severe headaches or dizziness • Any problems with speech or swallowing • Severe pain numbness/pins and needles in the upper limbs If you have any of these please seek Urgent advice from your GP or attend Accident and Emergency.