Western Sussex Hospitals have joined up with Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals to form a new NHS Foundation Trust for our area: University Hospitals Sussex.

You can keep using this website for information about St Richard’s, Worthing and Southlands hospitals but for our other sites and to find out more about the new trust please visit www.uhsussex.nhs.uk.

Attending a physio appointment

What to expect from your physiotherapy appointment

Before your appointment please:

  • Read any information leaflets offered to you
  • Fill in any questionnaires you have been given

Let us know beforehand if you:

  • Have a pacemaker
  • Would prefer to be seen by a male or female physiotherapist
  • Do not want to be seen by a supervised student physiotherapist
  • Would like to have a chaperone

What to wear

  • Expect to undress so that we can see the area where you have your pain
  • Please wear appropriate underwear or bring shorts

What to bring

  • A list of your medication
  • Completed questionnaires. These will help us to plan your treatment
  • A pair of shorts if your problem is in your back or legs

Your first appointment

Your first appointment is an individual assessment lasting about 30-40 minutes. This is made up of a

  • Discussion of your problem
  • An examination of your body
  • Discussion of the cause of your problem
  • Discussion on how we manage your problem together
  • Treatment to the affected area as time allows

Your physiotherapy programme

We will discuss treatment options with you so that you can be part of the decision in managing your problem. We will plan the goals of treatment together.

Our staff are trained in:

  • Development of a personal exercise programme for you
  • Hands on treatment, for example stretching/manipulation
  • Exercise in water, usually in a group
  • Electrotherapy for example; ultrasound
  • Exercise in a group
  • Back rehabilitation programme, including practical advice, exercise and relaxation
  • Some physiotherapists are trained in acupuncture
  • Practical and individual advice

Your responsibilities

  • Arrive on time
  • Be involved in your treatment programme
  • Follow the exercises and advice as discussed
  • Have realistic expectations
  • Respect staff and other patients


  • Under 16’s must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian
  • Sessions cannot be extended if you are late
  • If you are unwell please phone at the earliest possible opportunity to cancel and rebook
  • We can only treat the problem for which you have been referred

Your treatment will be discontinued if you

  • Do not attend one appointment without calling us
  • Cancel two appointments

General advice

  • It is important you help to manage your condition
  • See your GP if you are in constant severe pain for two days
  • Using a hot pack or ice pack for 10-15 minutes may help give you short-term pain relief
  • Movement is beneficial for pain. Avoid sitting/lying/standing in one position for more than 20 minutes without a break
  • Gentle stretching and exercise can help to reduce pain, stiffness and help build muscle strength and endurance
  • Pace your activities. Only do the most important jobs if you are in pain. Doing little and often will help avoid a flare up of your symptoms
  • Click here if you need to contact the service

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