Physiotherapist in London – choosing a London physio clinic [2022]

Woman receiving assessment

Trying to find a physio to help you with your back pain from pulling it at the gym? Or trying to improve your shoulder mobility because it ‘feels stuck’?

There are dozens, if not hundreds of physio clinics in London, so finding the right clinic in London can be a challenge.

Read below to learn more about choosing a physiotherapist as well as the other healthcare specialists that may be suitable for your needs.

Finding the right specialist

When looking for a healthcare specialist, it’s important to ensure you select the right person to treat your symptoms or conditions. When it comes to supporting patients with joint pain or muscular pain there’s many specialists that will be able to support you.

For example, if faced with shoulder pain you may wish to instead book an appointment with a sports rehabilitator, massage therapist, or osteopath.

All these professionals take different approaches to treatment with expertise in different areas as outlined below.

Sports Rehabilitator

When booking with a sports rehabilitator, it’s best to ensure they are registered with the British Association of Sports Rehabilitation (BASRaT) – this signifies they are highly trained and qualified for their scope of treatment.

Simiarly to physiotherapists, sports rehabilitators help those suffering with pain, injury, or illness involving the musculoskeletal system. Because of this, BASRaT sports rehabilitators are held to many of the same standards as physiotherapists, including being required to complete a minimum of three years of higher education.

While sports rehabilitators are qualified and possess the knowledge to treat sports injuries, they also support non-athletes of all ages suffering from any form of musculoskeletal pain.

Sports rehabilitators primarily focus on using exercise, movement, and manual based therapeutic interventions (manual therapy).

Like physiotherapists, they will conduct a full initial assessment which consists of recording the history of conditions and physical assessments to identify the cause of the problems followed by clinical analysis.

Be it sports injuries or chronic back pain, sports rehabilitators will provide you with a treatment plan tailored to your injury, advice you, and create a rehabilitation plan tailored to your specific needs.


A chiropractor is a healthcare professional who looks after a patient’s neuromusculoskeletal system (bones, nerves, muscles, tendons and ligaments).

They use spinal adjustments to maintain spinal alignment. Spinal manipulation is one among several therapeutic modalities used by chiropractors for treating conditions like low back pain, neck pain and sciatica.

Research studies have shown manipulation to be effective for short term relief for back pain and neck pain.

When choosing a chiropractor, be mindful of their qualifications and experience and make sure they are licensed and and recognised as a Doctor of Chiropractic (note: this shouldn’t be confused with a medical doctor qualification, which requires a higher degree of education).

It’s worth asking for recommendations from friends or family or another medical professional (such as your GP). Spinal manipulation in particular can be high risk, so it’s worth finding a chiropractor you can trust.


Osteopath, just like physios and sports rehabilitators, use very much hands on treatments as well as spinal and muscular manipulation, massages, and stretching. Make sure your osteopath is registered with General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). Registration can be checked through the GOsC website.

Osteopaths tend to treat the body as a whole whereas a physiotherapist and sports rehabilitator are more injury specific.

Massage therapist

A massage therapist is a trained and certified soft tissue therapist who helps relieve stress and pain in muscles by using a couple of massage techniques with varying pressure and movement to reduce pain, improve mobility, improve circulation and aid in general wellness.

A massage therapist can only provide massage sessions to ease your pain and help you relax, a massage therapist is not allowed to prescribe medicines, diagnose your condition, perform skeletal adjustments, design a rehab or exercise plans (unless they have additional qualifications permitting them to do so).


In the UK, all practicing Physiotherapists are members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Physiotherapists treat musculoskeletal, neurological, and cardio respiratory conditions.

As of 2013, some physios are able to offer pain medicine if they have received the appropriate training.


London physiotherapy clinics – choosing a clinic

When it comes to picking a clinic, whether you decide to go for a physio clinic or otherwise, our advice is, put simply: be picky!

The UK is fortunate enough to be home to London’s leading physiotherapy clinics. As a result, competition is high – you don’t need to settle for less.

We have a list of considerations below to help you make your mind up.

Other considerations

Wait time

Some clinics may have long patient backlogs while others will be able to offer same day appointments. Check the wait time before booking.


Sports Rehabilitatiors should be members of the British Association of Sports Rehabilitation, whereas a physio must be a member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

The same goes for the other healthcare professions discussed above:

  • Chiropractors – General Chiropractic Council
  • Osteopaths – General Osteopathic Council
  • Massage therapists – The General Council for Soft Tissue Therapies (not mandatory)

Reviews and testimonies

Check for reviews and testimonies on the clinic’s website. If none are listed, try contacting the clinic to see if they are able to share the link. A clinic not having any reviews or testimonies may be a red flag.

Book an appointment with Sapana London today

Based in Islington N1, Central London (near Angel underground station), Sapana London is ran by an experienced BaSRaT registered Sports Rehabilitator.

An appointment can be made online or via phone. See our booking page for more information.

What we treat

Sports injuries

Injuries that occur whilst you work out or take part in sports are termed as sports injuries. These injuries can be in the form of:

  1. Sprains: When a tendon/ligament connecting two bones is being overstretched past its limits, it can often result in a sprain.
  2. Strains: When a muscle or ligament connecting the muscle to the bone is being overstretched past its limits, it results in a strain. Often called a pulled muscle.
  3. Swellings: Swelling is a form of response by the body to an impact by the injury be it a fall or a scratch. Injured areas that are swollen can often be painful.
  4. Dislocation: When a bone moves out of its place from its usual connecting joint as a result of a call or collision, it causes the bone to dislocate.
  5. Knee Injuries: Twisting, impactful trauma to tissues or muscles making up the knee joint. The knee joint can lose its mobility and stability due to the trauma.
  6. Ankle Injuries: Accidental stretching or tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle joint. It often happens when the foot twists or rolls inward.

Back Pain

Back pain is common among all age groups affecting around 8% of the global population. Physically demanding jobs, stress, or an injury such as a fall can lead to back pain. Common symptoms of back pain can range from muscle aches to stabbing, burning or throbbing pain in the back then progressing down the legs.

Back pain can persist for a long time leading to chronic pain which then can progress down the legs resulting in mental distress or difficulty performing everyday tasks in life, for example, going to the gym, lifting things off the floor or carrying groceries. In severe cases, if left untreated, chronic back pain can lead to disability.

Knee pain

Approximately 25% of the world population get repeated knee pain. Knee pain are often caused by aging, injuries and repeated stress on the knee which can lead to wearing down the cartilage present in the knee cap

The most important signs of knee pain to note is swelling in the knee joint, the feeling of the knee locking away or giving way, less movement, less stability, and pain that feels as though it is moving down your leg. Knee pain can often affect the way you walk, your daily regimes as well as your ability to play sports.

Neck pain

Around 20% to 70% of the adult population suffer from chronic neck pain during their lifetime that often affects their jobs or daily life tasks. Headaches, muscle tightness or spasms in the neck and shoulders, pain going down to your fingers and feeling restricted in neck movements are some common symptoms.

Neck pain can often be caused by a traumatic accident, poor posture, stress, arthritis or through your sleeping position. Neck pain can also be developed over time as a result of the degeneration of your spine or muscles.

Elbow Injuries

Around 1-2% of the general population suffer from elbow injuries. Some common symptoms are pain in the elbow joint, pain when making a fist or opening your fingers, soreness around the elbow joint and weak grip of the hands.

An elbow injury could be caused by damaged ligaments that connect the bone to other bones or by damaged tendons which connect muscles to bones.

Running injuries

Those that run regularly often experience running related injuries. Pushing yourself too far is often a cause of this, often resulting in pain in your knee joint, ankle joint, muscles or the shin-pad.

Shoulder pain

Shoulder pain affects approximately 25% of the global population. Common symptoms are pain in the joint especially when trying to lift your arm overhead or to reach your back pocket, swelling and restricted movement.

The most common conditions that cause shoulder pain are tendon pain or tear, instability, arthritis, and fractures to the shoulder joint. Tumors, infections, and nerve pain can also cause shoulder pain.

Treatments and services

Sports massage

Sports massage uses techniques from various massage styles to provide a deep and rehabilitating process that manipulates the soft tissue to prevent injury, elevate muscle or tendon pain or rid the soft tissue of any stress

Shockwave therapy

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive treatment used to resolve chronic pain through triggering a pain relief response and beginning the healing process. Shockwave therapy helps stimulate blood flow which further helps stimulate metabolic reactions thus initiating the healing process in the acute phase of injury.


What shall I expect from my first session?

Your practitioner will conduct a full initial assessment which consists of recording the history of your condition and physical assessments to identify the cause of the problem.

After the assessment has been carried out, your practitioner will clinically analyse your injury and then will discuss a suitable course of treatment tailored to your needs to begin the recovery process.

What does your treatment programme involve?

Treatments range from manual therapy, rehabilitive exercises, massage therapy, shockwave or taping. Treatments will be determined based on your injury and your needs to ensure they are best suited for you to help you recover and progress.

Is an osteopath session better than a session with a massage therapist/sports rehabilitator?

The pressure applied by an osteopath during massage is often milder compared to a sports rehabilitator. Osteopaths tend to treat the body as a whole and do not focus on one area. Sports rehabilitators focus on your symptoms, investigate the cause and design a plan for your needs.

Sapana London is run by a sports rehabilitator who has helped numerous patients overcome their conditions and injuries. Make a booking on our booking page today, with a free consultation included.