Outpatients’ service

This service treats patients with a range of muscle, joint and related conditions to help restore movement and function to maximise their quality of life and help them achieve functional goals.

We use a range of evidence-based treatments and regularly review our practice to ensure we remain at the forefront of patient care.

Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy takes a holistic approach that involves the patient directly in their own care. Physiotherapy is not a passive treatment. To get the most from your treatment, you will be asked to complete exercises and follow the advice discussed with your physiotherapist.

All the physiotherapists working at the Trust are Chartered Physiotherapists and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Occasionally students may see patients under the supervision of a qualified physiotherapist, in which case you will be asked for your consent. Please tell us if this is not acceptable to you.

Our sites and specialties

We are able to deliver Physiotherapy from a number of sites around Bradford but, we may ask you to attend a specific site where the team has dedicated facilities which are best suited to your needs.

Telephone appointments

A physiotherapist will telephone you within a prearranged period of time. The length of the call may vary but on average will last 20 minutes. You will be asked questions about your condition and how it affects you. The physiotherapist will discuss an appropriate treatment plan with you which may involve providing advice and prescribing exercises. If required a further telephone appointment will be arranged or you may be asked to attend an appointment within the department.

For safe and effective care it is important that we have a complete picture of your health (both past and present) and any medication you take. It would be helpful if you could complete the Health Form prior to your appointment and have it ready to discuss with the therapist during your consultation.

Face-to-face appointments

You will receive a letter asking you to ring and book an appointment. If no contact is made within two weeks of sending the letter you will be removed from the waiting list.

Please do let us know if you do not wish to be on our waiting list or your condition has improved and treatment is now not required.

You will be offered a choice of times and location for your first appointment. Please be aware that some specialties are only based at one site. Please arrive at least 10 minutes before your appointment, this allows you to book yourself in at the reception desk. If you arrive more than 10 minutes after your appointment time your physiotherapist may not be able to see you.

For safe and effective care it is important that we have a complete picture of your health (both past and present) and any medication you take. It would be helpful if you could complete the Health Form (PDF, 619 KB) prior to your appointment and bring it with you. Alternatively, you can complete the form which is available from the Physiotherapy reception desk on arrival for your appointment (please allow at least 10 minutes to complete this prior to the start of your appointment).

During the first appointment you will be clinically assessed by one of the physiotherapists in the department who will be able to tell you if physiotherapy can be of benefit to you. Students may be involved in your care but are supervised at all times.

You will be asked about your medical history, lifestyle and symptoms. The physiotherapist may ask you to undress to your underwear as part of your assessment to allow your joints, muscles and nerves to be examined. For a neck or shoulder problem you may feel more comfortable wearing a vest; for a lower back or leg problem you may wish to bring shorts. Your privacy and dignity will be respected at all times.

If physiotherapy is appropriate the therapist will discuss with you the best treatment options for you.

What you can do while waiting to hear from us?

How to help your pain

The following can help to reduce the pain:

  • Pain medication – it is more effective to take pain relief regularly, rather than waiting until the pain builds up. This can also help you to feel more comfortable generally and make moving easier. Speak to your community pharmacist or other healthcare professional if you need further advice.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine – this is a small battery-operated machine that stimulates the skin to help reduce the level of pain you feel. They can be bought from a pharmacy or online.
  • Widespread or persistent pain – see the body chart below for more information.

Stay positive

It’s easy to start worrying about all the possible things that could be wrong, but research has shown that most pain settles with time. Keeping as active as possible helps you to cope better and recover more quickly. For more information visit MyWellbeing College.

Get a good night's sleep

Learn how to sleep well with pain.

Small changes count – check your posture

Although your posture doesn’t need to be perfect, resting for too long in any one position can affect your joints and place them under strain. Try and move often so you don’t get stuck in a poor position for long.

Please read our Guide to Seating for further advice.

Keep moving

This is an essential part of your recovery and is the single best thing you can do for your health. Moving can really help your joints and reduce the pain you feel.

Try not to:

  • brace or hold yourself still – your joints are designed to be mobile
  • sit down or rest for too long – resting in bed doesn’t help and can often make it harder to get going again
  • if you have to sit or rest, try to change positions regularly and find one that reduces any pain in your joints.

Being physically active throughout your recovery can:

  • prevent a recurrence of the problem
  • maintain your current levels of fitness – even if you have to modify what you normally do, any activity is better than none
  • keep your other muscles and joints strong and flexible.

It’s recommended you stay at or return to work as quickly as possible during your recovery. You don’t need to be pain and symptom-free to return to work.

Self-help downloads and links


We are based at St Luke’s Hospital Site and work closely within the wider Rheumatology Team of Consultants and Rheumatology specialist nurses.  We provide specialist rheumatology therapy services and conditions we treat include (but, not exclusively):

Persistent pain

The following resources can help manage persistent pain (also known as chronic pain):

Managing persistent pain

Managing sleep



Managing your mood