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Fact Sheets

Muscle and Joint Pain

Muscle and Joint Pain

People of all ages suffer from muscle and joint pain or general aches and pains. This can occur as a result of poor posture, direct or overuse injuries, poor techniques at work and sport or systemic disease. Muscle or joint pain can be experienced at the site of the problem or it may be referred from another structure.

The problem can arise from any of the following:

  • Joints – any joint can be affected but problems are most common in the back, neck, hips and knees. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis affect joints but not all joint problems are caused by arthritis. Fractures (broken bones) are another common cause of stiff, painful joints.
  • Muscles – direct trauma or overuse can cause muscle injuries.
  • Tendons – tendons join muscles to bones and are a common source of pain. Examples of tendon problems are tennis elbow and achilles tendinitis.
  • Ligaments – injuries to ligaments are generally the result of over-stretching as in the case of an ankle sprain. Poor posture or trauma such as a car crash may cause ligament problems in the back and neck.

Exercise therapy
Exercise therapy
A visit to a Chartered Physiotherapist will start with a detailed assessment in order to identify the exact site of damage, the underlying cause and to plan a treatment programme to suit your needs. This is achieved by taking a history of the problem, testing all the structures that may cause the symptoms and forming a diagnosis. The outcome of the assessment and the treatment programme will be explained.

The treatment programme could include some of the following:

  • Manual techniques – manipulation and mobilisations to restore full mobility of joints.
  • Soft tissue techniques – massage, frictions and stretches.
  • Exercises – strengthening and stretching programmes. You may be given a programme to continue at home.
  • Electrotherapy –ultrasound, interferential and laser speed up the rate of recovery of injured tissues. T.E.N.S. is used for pain relief especially chronic pain. Weak muscles may require a muscle stimulator to assist your strengthening programme.
  • Application of heat and ice and advice on home use.
  • Posture correction.
  • Biomechanical assessment and prescription of orthotics (customised insoles).
  • Prescription and fitting of supports, braces and walking aids.

Your Chartered Physiotherapist will monitor your symptoms at each visit and will progress your treatment programme accordingly. If appropriate, your physiotherapist will liaise with your doctor or hospital consultant. You will be advised on return to
work, sport and daily activities, ergonomics (adapting your working environment to suit your needs), manual handling (correct lifting and handling techniques) and prevention of recurrence.

A Chartered Physiotherapist is a university graduate with hospital-based training who has comprehensive knowledge of how the body works and specialist training in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries.