Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic, Islington, London

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What should I bring with me on my initial appointment?

A referral letter from your GP or consultant if you have one.

Your full insurance details if you wish us to claim our fees directly from your private health insurers and you have notified them of your claim.

Insurance claim form if you require the physiotherapist to fill it in, (many insurers require your GP or referring doctor to fill in this form so check with your insurers).

Any x-rays or scan results that you may have relating to your injury or condition.

See Next Step for more information on what to expect on your initial appointment.

Can I bring someone with me?

You are very welcome to bring someone with you to your appointment and they can sit in on the consultation and treatment with you if you wish.

Can I claim the cost of my physiotherapy on my private medical insurance?

Physio Solutions Clinic is recognised by the major private health insurance companies for physiotherapy treatment. Often, a patient has to be referred by their GP or specialist in order to claim the cost of their physiotherapy treatment through their private medical insurance. We do strongly recommend that patients contact their insurance company before commencing treatment to check and confirm individual policy conditions relating to a claim.

Special questions to check with the insurance company are:

  • Is there an excess on the policy? i.e. the policy holder has to pay for part of the treatment themselves.
  • How much insurance cover is available? e.g. set number of treatments or monetary limit.
  • Is the financial assistance provided for physiotherapy treatment alone or is it part of an overall sum for specialist services? This is important if a Consultant is involved or if further investigations are being considered.
  • Is there a time limit for the treatment to take place?

In certain instances with some insurance companies Physio Solutions clinic will invoice the insurance company directly. If you wish for the clinic to provide this service it is important that you bring all your insurance details and a completed claim form with you (if required), to your first appointment. If your insurance company does not cover your treatment charges in full any outstanding amount will be due from you as our client.

How many treatments will I need?

This usually depends on factors such as how long the problem has been present, the severity of the condition and also the requirements of the patient. For example, a person wishing to get back to training for a specific sport or event may require a longer course of treatment for a knee injury than a sedentary office-worker.

A fairly standard course of physiotherapy would be 4-6 treatment sessions but this can vary considerably. A person seeking advice on what they should and shouldn’t be doing in relation to their condition or problem might just attend for 1-2 sessions to be shown some specific exercises and receive some general management advice for their condition. Similarly an individual with a relatively minor injury might just need a few treatments to assess their condition and alleviate their symptoms. At the other end of the scale, a patient receiving treatment post-operatively or for a condition that has been present for some time may require treatment over a longer period to see them through to full rehabilitation.

I've got an injury - how soon should I come and see you for assessment and treatment?

This is up to you but generally we try and see someone as soon as possible after their injury to advise them and start treatment. If you have recently had surgery, your Consultant should advise you on when is best to start your physiotherapy.

I can get free physiotherapy treatment on the NHS - why might I opt for private treatment?

There are many reasons for choosing to see a private physiotherapist such as:

  •  being able to see someone more quickly if you are in pain or need to know what to do to optimise your recovery and not aggravate any symptoms that you are having. We don't have a waiting list and can usually see someone within 24 hours.
  •  arranging an appointment time to suit you to fit in with your work or other commitments. We offer early morning, evening and weekend appointment times.
  •  possibly having a more hands-on approach to your treatment such as receiving manual therapy and soft tissue treatment which there is often not time for in the NHS.
  • being able to choose your physiotherapist and know how much experience and post-graduate qualifications they have. All of our physiotherapists have at least 5 years post-graduate experience, many of them a lot more, and also have further post-graduate qualifications or specialisms.


If you are interested in further information, our practice principal, Helen Skehan, has had an article published on an external website answering this question about the difference between NHS and private physiotherapy in more depth.


I’ve got a problem, who should I see the physiotherapist or the massage therapist?

We get this query a lot especially from people who are just passing by the clinic and haven’t received a specific recommendation. We generally advise people that if they have a specific pain or injury, they might benefit from seeing the physiotherapist first for a full assessment, diagnosis and treatment. The physiotherapist will then refer on to the massage therapist if they think this is appropriate. If the problem is tired or tense muscles, fairly generalised without a specific pain feature, often the massage therapist may be the most appropriate therapist to see in the first instance.

I've looked at your website and I still don't know who to see or if I need to come - what do you suggest?

Give us a call and we can have a chat about your requirements and particular issues and advise you from there.

What is the difference between a Physiotherapist, an Osteopath and a Chiropractor?

All are manual therapists with a recognised course of training usually to diploma or degree level and have a professional regulation body to oversee their practice. There is a large overlap in the conditions treated and the types of treatments used which can be confusing to the customer. 

Historically it was perhaps postulated that chiropractors and osteopaths did more spinal manipulations or 'adjustments' and that physiotherapists were more concerned with exercises and posture correction. In our experience, much depends on the direction the individual therapist takes in their post-graduate training. Many physiotherapists perform joint manipulation and many osteopaths prescribe exercises.

Our general advice is to seek a specific recommendation from your GP, friends family or work colleagues on who they have found helpful.

What conditions do you treat the most often?

From a recent review of our diagnoses, low back pain is still the commonest problem that we see. As emphasis has switched from manual jobs to more automated and desk-based jobs, neck and upper shoulder pain, stiffness and dysfunction is also one of our most regular presentations. We do have seasonal variations such as running injuries after Easter usually in the run up to the marathon and also over-use type gardening injuries once the Spring arrives. Sprained ankles happen all year round and this is reportedly the most common sports injury and the most poorly managed as many people dismiss it as ‘just a sprained ankle’ and don't seek treatment. We see more knee injuries in the football and skiing season and often more foot problems at the end of a good summer as people have been wearing poorly supporting footwear such as flipflops and flat sandals for longer. The variety in what we treat is one of the features and pleasures of our job.

What is best to do after a soft tissue injury - apply heat or cold?

If a severe injury is suspected the individual should be referred immediately to either an A&E department, or an experienced practitioner in the management of soft tissue injuries.

If possible, apply cold in the form of ice immediately after an injury. The aim is to reduce local tissue temperature, reduce pain and cause vasoconstriction (narrowing of the small blood vessels) in the area which can help to minimise and control swelling. It is important not to apply the ice for too long as this can cause the opposite effect in the circulatory system i.e. vasodilation (opening the blood vessels) which can increase swelling. So, short, regular bursts of icing are recommended in the region of 10-12 minutes every one to two hours. Chipped or crushed ice in a damp towel or j-cloth appears to be the most effective application. A damp towel or cloth should always be placed between the cooling agent and the skin to prevent an ice burn.

The PRICE guidelines are very helpful for the first 48-72 hours following a soft tissue injury-Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation.

The aim is to

  • reduce local tissue temperature
  • reduce pain
  • limit and reduce inflammatory fluids into the area or injury
  • reduce metabolic demands of the tissues
  • protect the damaged tissue from further injury
  • protect the newly-formed soft tissue fibres from disruption
  • promote collagen fibre growth and realignment
  • maintain general levels of cardio-respiratory and musculoskeletal fitness / activity.



Support the injured part to protect against further damage.

The type of protection required will depend on the site and nature of injury. This may range from protection from full weight-bearing e.g. crutches, to general support e.g. slings, to specific support for the injured structure e.g. taping/braces.


Should be applied to the injured part immediately following injury.

Stress on the injured tissue should be avoided during the early stage of the healing process.


Elastic bandages and tubigrip appear to be the most effective form of compression. It is important that these are not applied too tightly so as to overly constrict the circulation and should not be worn overnight unless under medical guidance.


Elevate the injured part as soon as possible following injury ideally above the level of the heart.

Ensure that the elevated part is adequately supported e.g. with pillows.

If the limb can be maintained in elevation do not apply compression at the same time.


For non-acute injuries such as neck or back pain

Many people find heat helpful - a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel or heat packs or patches. It's important that they are not too hot to avoid a skin burn especially applied over bony areas, less sensitive areas and in older people (skin can be thinner and more fragile).

Should I do my stretches before or after my exercise programme?

Many studies have looked at this question and while the evidence has not been irrefutable, the main advice appears to be to warm-up prior to exercise by doing whatever you are going to be doing but at a lower intensity e.g fast walk/slow jog for 5-10 minutes prior to a run and do stretches at the end of your session. However if you've always done your stretches first with no problem then this is probably fine for you.

We also advise people doing a gym session to do their stomach exercises at the end of their session as the stomach muscles are the core stabilisers and you don’t want to fatigue them earlier in your programme.

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