Treatment options

We provide a wide variety of treatment options which conducted depending on your problem.  The types of treatment that we can provide include:

  • Advice and education
  • Exercise classes
  • Individual one to one treatments

Exercise classes

Exercising in groups is an effective and enjoyable way of increasing people’s fitness and functioning.

We run several different types of exercise groups:

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction rehabilitation group

Rehabilitation after your surgery will focus initially, on restoring your full knee range of movement in your knee and also in improving your strength, power and endurance in your leg. As you recover your rehabilitation will include more difficult exercises to improve your balance, proprioception, agility and cardiovascular fitness.  Your rehabilitation programme will be designed to address your individual sporting and functional needs. 

At your first session of this group the physiotherapist will explain in more detail about the structure of the exercise class in the gym and you will be asked to complete a short questionnaire. The group is designed in a way that you will carry out your exercise programme independently but there will always be a physiotherapist present in the class who will be able to help you progress your exercise programme as you recover from your operation.  So that you make the best recovery possible we advise that you attend the class at least once a week.  The sessions are on: Tuesdays from 5:30pm - 6:30pm and Thursdays from 4.30pm - 5.30pm.  Please wear comfortable clothes that are suitable for exercising in.

Back fitness group

The back fitness group introduces an exercise programme to people with long-term back pain. The group runs twice weekly for six weeks between 9am and 10am on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the physiotherapy gym. People do pilates-type exercises, along with a circuit including cardiovascular and general strengthening exercises using gym equipment.  Please wear comfortable clothes that are suitable for exercising in.

Osteoarthritis (OA) knee group

This is a six-week programme involving hydrotherapy and gym-based exercises in addition to advice and education.  It is designed to help people with osteoarthritis in their knees establish an exercise programme, both on the floor and in water. It involves stretching, strengthening, balance and aerobic exercises. People exercise under the supervision of a physiotherapist with the aim of reducing their symptoms and managing them themselves. The hydrotherapy sessions run on a Monday afternoon and the gym session runs on a Thursday morning from 11.00 – 12.00pm in the large gym.

At your first session of this group the physiotherapist will explain in more detail about the structure of the exercise class in the gym and then you can participate in it for yourself. You will also be given a specific time to attend the hydrotherapy session.  Please wear comfortable clothes suitable for exercising in when you are in the gym and bring a swimming costume when you come to your hydrotherapy session.

Lower limb rehabilitation group

Your physiotherapist will refer you to the group if it is suitable for you. He or she will help to develop an individually tailored exercise programme that you then follow in a group under the supervision of our qualified staff. This will help you reach your physical potential and will likely involve a combination of mobilisation, strength, power, endurance and stretching exercises.  You might also require some balance and agility retraining to help you return to your sporting or functional needs.

This group runs three times a week (Monday 9am-10.30am, Tuesday 4.30pm-5.30pm, Friday 9am-10.30am) in the large physiotherapy gym. People can use all our modern rehabilitation equipment.

At your first session of this group the physiotherapist will explain in more detail about the structure of the exercise class following which you will be able to carry out your individualised exercise programme for yourself. Please wear comfortable clothes suitable for exercising in.

Functional exercise group

This is a six-week programme involving gym-based exercises and hydrotherapy in addition to advice and education.  It is designed to help people with long term problems establish an exercise programme, both on the floor and in water. It involves stretching, strengthening, balance and aerobic exercises. People exercise under the supervision of a physiotherapist with the aim of becoming fitter and stronger and managing their condition themselves.

The gym session runs on a Monday afternoon morning from 2.00pm – 3.00pm in the large physiotherapy gym and the hydrotherapy sessions run on a Friday afternoon at either 1.30pm, 2pm or 3.30pm.

At your first session of this group the physiotherapist will explain in more detail about the structure of the exercise class in the gym and then you can participate in it for yourself. You will also be given a specific time to attend the hydrotherapy session.  Please wear comfortable clothes suitable for exercising in when you are in the gym and bring a swimming costume when you come to your hydrotherapy session.

Total knee replacement group

This is a four week programme involving gym-based exercises and hydrotherapy for people after their total knee replacement.  You will be invited to join the class before you go home from hospital and you will be given a date to attend your first appointment within one week of going home.  This exercise programme is designed to help you recover in the best way after your operation.  It involves stretching, strengthening and balance exercises, in the gym and in the pool, and to help you walk normally again.  We will also provide you with walking aids if required.

At your first session of this group the physiotherapist will explain in more detail about the structure of the exercise class in the gym following which you will be able participate in the class for yourself. You will also be given a specific time to attend the hydrotherapy session.  Please wear comfortable clothes suitable for exercising in when you are in the gym and bring a swimming costume when you come to your hydrotherapy session.

The gym session run on a Tuesday morning from 11.00 – 12.30pm in the large physiotherapy gym and the hydrotherapy sessions run on Thursdays of Fridays - these will be arranged on an individual basis.

Ankylosing Spondylitis group

The National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS), in conjunction with physiotherapists, runs exercise groups in the physiotherapy department on a weekly basis.  For more information about this group, see www.nass.co.uk.

Hydrotherapy

Physiotherapy in a heated pool can help people who find exercising at home or in the gym very difficult – for instance, if you have had surgery, broken bones or suffer from an ongoing problem such as back pain or osteoarthritis.  Your therapist will design an exercise programme with you that can be continued in the open pool sessions here at the Royal Free Hospital or at your local swimming pool.  Patients get into the pool by steps or mechanical hoist and we have women-only sessions.

Open pool sessions 

When you have finished your hydrotherapy treatment you can continue with your exercise programme by attending open pool sessions in the hydrotherapy pool at the Royal Free Hospital. 

What do open pool sessions involve?

Each session lasts about 30 minutes and will be supervised by a physiotherapist assistant.  There will be about six people exercising in the pool during each session.

What should I bring with me?

Please bring a swimming costume  and a towel and come 5-10 minutes before your appointment to allow enough time for you to get changed.  There are lockers available to keep your valuables in.  They require a £1 coin which is returned after use.

Please remember that exercising in water is  undertaken at entirely your own risk.

How much do sessions cost?

5 pool sessions = £40 (sessions to be used within 3 months of purchase)

10 pool sessions = £60 (sessions to be used within 6 months of purchase)

Please pay for your sessions at the Royal Free Hospital cashiers office which is located on.........You will be given a pool attendance card on receipt of payment.

How do I book a session?

You can book your session by calling the hydrotherapy telephone number:  0207 472 6436

When do the sessions run?

The sessions run on Mondays at 3.30am - 4.00pm and on Wednesdays at  11.30am -12.00pm

Individual one to one treatments

Individual exercise therapy

Research has shown that regular exercise helps almost all of the musculoskeletal conditions treated by physiotherapists.

Exercise can strengthen muscles, increase joint stability, aid weight loss, and help retain bone density, increase well-being and improve people’s physical functioning generally. Your physiotherapist will design a tailored programme of exercises for you to do at home, in the gym, or recommend that you attend a particular exercise class.

Manual therapy

Manual therapy (hands on therapy) involves manipulation, mobilisation and soft tissue release, as well as other techniques. It reduces pain and increases range of motion.

All of the musculoskeletal physiotherapists at the Royal Free use manual therapy as part of their diagnosis and treatment.

Acupuncture

Western medical acupuncture is an adaptation of Chinese acupuncture using current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology. It involves the insertion of fine needles.

It is used to treat musculoskeletal pain by releasing tight bands of muscle (known as trigger points) and by stimulating the central nervous system to reduce sensitivity to pain. It is frequently combined with exercise therapy. For more information about acupuncture, see www.aacp.org.uk

Electrotherapy

Electrotherapy uses electrical energy to promote healing, repair tissue and reduce pain. In physiotherapy, this includes ultrasound, interferential, TENS and pulsed shortwave therapy.

For more information about electrotherapy, see www.electrotherapy.org.