As musculoskeletal problems can be so wide ranging they vary from being a minor nuisance to having an enormous impact on our quality of life, including our ability to work.

The treatment for a lot of MSK problems may not be a quick fix.  The old saying is often true that time can be the biggest healer. Back pain, for example, is usually helped by:

  • Exercise – it used to be thought that bed rest would be the best thing for a bad back, but it’s now known that people who remain active are likely to recover quicker. This may be counter-intuitive at first, but stay encouraged that you are on the way to helping your body move more freely. There is no need to be completely pain free before you return to work as this will help you return you to a normal pattern of daily activity. Activities such as walking, swimming and pilates are popular and accessible choices.
  • Painkillers – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) tablets such as ibuprofen, which can help temporarily relieve the muscle spasm. NSAIDs are not suitable for everyone, so consult your local pharmacist if you are not sure. 

If your doctor recommends, a steroid injection into the affected joint will calm inflammation and reduce pain. They are administered by our Partnership GPs in a minor surgery clinic and can last up to six months. 

Southampton has an excellent MSK service bringing together advanced physiotherapy, imaging such as x-ray and MRI, pain teams, rheumatology and orthopaedic consultants. They deal with everything from persistent back pain to arthritis. Joint replacement services can be accessed via these teams. 


There are a number of local physiotherapy services which can be a bit confusing to navigate, so this is what you need to know: 

  • All patients have access to basic physiotherapy appointments without referral which can be accessed via reception or eConsult. Services are provided by Southampton Primary Care Limited at the Portswood Hub, and Eastleigh Southern Parishes Network at the Botley Hub. Appointments are limited and you may be asked to call back at another time when availability is better. 
  • Southampton residents can self-refer to the MSK team which is provided by Solent NHS Trust and is primarily based at Moorgreen Hospital and the Adelaide Centre on the west of the city. You will need to complete the online form and follow the booking instructions. 
  • Hampshire residents require a GP referral to an identical service called Orthopaedic Choice, which is based in Romsey Hospital. Please submit an eConsult with information about your condition to trigger a referral.

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