Our outpatient musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy service provides treatment for a wide range of orthopaedic, musculoskeletal and rheumatological conditions. 

Physiotherapy takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and wellbeing, looking at a range of factors which may be influencing your symptoms including tissue injury, lifestyle, sleep, exercise and stress. 

The team use up-to-date, evidence-based practice to manage your condition, tailoring treatment plans to support your personal needs. The aim is to empower people to manage their condition through education and enable them to take an active role in their treatment.

Our service consists of dedicated, experienced, highly skilled physiotherapists and therapy support workers. They work closely with consultants and other healthcare professionals to facilitate the best possible outcomes. 

The team help to restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability. 

Whether you have had surgery, are off work due to pain or injury, are unable to take part in recreational activities or are looking to increase your day-to-day independence, the team can help.

We treat a wide variety of conditions in the MSK physiotherapy department. These include:

  • orthopaedic and rheumatological conditions
  • joint problems and arthritis
  • low back pain
  • knee and shoulder conditions
  • post-surgical rehabilitation
  • neck pain and headaches
  • sports-related injuries
  • work-related injuries

At Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital, referrals are accepted only from Royal Free London consultants and via the NHS e-referral service. 

Outpatient Appointment Centre 
8th Floor, Enfield Civic Centre 
Silver Street EN1 3XA 
Tel: 020 7443 9757
Email: rf-tr.oactherapiesbcfh@nhs.net

Royal Free Hospital accepts referrals from Royal Free London consultants and some GP pathways.

Your first appointment is designed for you to meet your therapist and for an assessment of the condition you were referred with.

This will involve a discussion where you will be able to explain the condition you have and how it affects you. The therapist uses this information to plan an examination of the condition or problem. This will enable them to form a treatment plan for you. 

You can bring a friend or relative to the appointment. We will often need to see the body part affected so please bring suitable clothing. You can request a chaperone. 

Virtual appointments

We offer the option of video and telephone appointments where suited to the condition being treated. 

Virtual appointments are an efficient and effective way of managing some conditions without the need for you to travel into the hospital. 

Your physiotherapist will talk through your condition and may ask you to demonstrate certain movements. 

They will provide you with an exercise programme based on their assessment. Please wear appropriate clothing for the assessment and make sure you are in a private place. 

If you or your physiotherapist feels a face-to-face appointment would be more appropriate, then this can be arranged.

We provide a wide variety of treatment options tailored to each patient’s needs. The types of treatment  we can provide include:

  • advice and education
  • individual, one-to-one treatments: manual therapy, exercise prescription, biomechanical assessment, return to sports rehabilitation, taping and splinting
  • exercise classes, including hydrotherapy at the Royal Free Hospital 
  • group classes, including for mindful movement and back to fitness

Individual exercise therapy

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

Exercise can strengthen muscles, improve joint function, aid weight loss, help retain bone density, increase wellbeing and improve general physical function. Your physiotherapist will design a tailored programme of exercises for you to do at home or in the gym.

Exercise classes

Exercising in groups is an effective and enjoyable way of increasing fitness and function.

We run exercise groups for various conditions. Please ask your physiotherapist for more details.

Manual therapy

Manual therapy (hands-on therapy) can be used in the assessment and treatment of some conditions. 

It involves techniques that can reduce pain and increases range of motion in joints. This is usually coupled with exercise therapy which is important in trying to maintain the benefit gained.

Manual therapy is not suitable for the treatment of all conditions — it can be discussed with your therapist. 

Our department is made up of advanced physiotherapy practitioners (APPs), musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapists, therapy support workers and the administrative support team.


Musculoskeletal APPs are physiotherapists with advanced complex decision making and diagnostic skills. 

APPs work autonomously to diagnose patients with various musculoskeletal presentations, with a focus on patient-centred care. 

They offer detailed knowledge on interventions and preventative care. 

APPs work in different specialities, including:

  • orthopaedic, rheumatology and pain clinics
  • GP practices, as first contact practitioners (FCPs)

MSK physiotherapists

Our MSK physiotherapists are skilled in assessment and treatment of a wide range of musculoskeletal problems, from simple sprains to complex acute and chronic conditions. 

They will work with you to achieve your physiotherapy goals and return to your optimum level of function.

Therapy support workers

Physiotherapy support workers help with the smooth running of the department — they help to run gym classes and can deliver one-to-one therapy sessions. 

They can provide immediate advice and education (for example, after someone has had a plaster cast removed) and can administer walking aids. 

Administrative team

Our administrative support team will check you in and out of your appointment, and arrange follow-up appointments as necessary. 

Physiotherapy students

Our trust is committed to supporting the education of physiotherapy students and they are closely supervised by a qualified physiotherapist whilst working in the department. 

If you have any questions or would prefer to not be seen by a student, please tell member of our staff.

These exercises should only be performed once assessed and prescribed by your physiotherapist. 

Do not attempt any exercise available from this page without prior instruction by your physiotherapist.

Lumbar mobility


Thoracic mobility

These exercises should only be performed once assessed and prescribed by your physiotherapist. 

Do not attempt any exercise available from this page without prior instruction by your physiotherapist.