General Problems

Trapped Nerve

The nerves in the body are formed in the neck and back and then spread out like wires through out the whole body. They enable us to feel what is going on and to work our bodies.

There is no spare space in the neck or back so if anything goes wrong - some bruising, swelling or a bulging disc this can press on the nerve. The pain can then be felt anywhere along the course of the nerve.

Nerve pain is particularly severe and can be accompanied by numbness or pins and needles sensations, weakness in muscles and changes in reflexes.

A trapped nerve can occur anywhere in the spine but the one most people are familiar with is 'Sciatica' where the Sciatic nerve in the low back is trapped causing severe pain in to the leg and foot. A trapped nerve can also occur in the neck which will cause symptoms in to the arm. More rarely a trapped nerve can occur between the ribs.

Physiotherapy can be very helpful in the treatment of a trapped nerve. Usually your GP will prescribe medication to ease some of the pain, reduce the inflammation and perhaps reduce muscle spasm.

Your Physiotherapist will then be able to help further with pain relief by using such things as acupuncture, electrotherapy, gentle mobilisation and manipulation and progressive exercise. Education will form an important part of the treatment to prevent recurrence.



A bursa is a small fluid filled sac that is found over joints and where a tendon slides over the bone. The bursa is designed to provide cushioning and minimize the friction between the two structures. A bursitis is when the bursa has become inflamed.

There are a number of 'bursae' around the body and the common areas to get a bursitis are the hip (trochanteric), the shoulder, the elbow, the knee and the heel.

The symptoms of a bursitis are usually aching and stiffness but can sometimes be a sharper pain. The area can also be swollen and quite tender to touch.

A bursitis is normally caused by too much compression of the bursa or repetitive use of the tendons surrounding the bursa. For example in the shoulder it may come on after repeated throwing. In the knee, too much kneeling or kneeling for long periods may irritate the bursa and cause it to become inflamed.

Treatment initially tends to be ice, anti-inflammatories, rest and unloading of the bursa. Other ways that Physiotherapy can help is by using soft tissue massage and stretching to the tight tendons, or local electrotherapy such as ultra sound.

The physiotherapist will also assess for any muscle imbalances around the area that have contributed to the bursitis or may be preventing the bursa from healing.



Neuralgia is a general term used to describe pain from nerves. It can refer to pain from any nerve in the body but is commonly used to describe the pain some people experience after having shingles (Post-Herpatic neuralgia) or a specific and very unpleasant type of facial pain (Trigeminal neuralgia).

Post-Herpatic Neuralgia

Shingles is caused by a virus which affects the nerves. It can cause flu-like symptoms and a rash with pain along the course of the nerve. If the pain is still present after some months it will be called Post-Herpatic Neuralgia.

This can be very painful indeed and can be associated with other post viral symptoms such as fatigue. Fortunately, the prognosis is good for the great majority of people although recovery can take some time.

Most people benefit from pain killers which target nerve pain and Physiotherapy can help further with pain relief in the form of electrotherapy or acupuncture

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a very severe facial pain caused by problems with the Trigeminal Nerve. The pain is usually on one side of the face and can be a severe constant aching or sharp and shooting in nature.

The cause is not fully understood but it is generally thought to be changes along the course of the nerve itself.

Trigeminal Neuralgia is usually treated with medication to target the nerves specifically. Where treatment with medication is not successful, there are various surgical options that can be considered.

Acupuncture has also been found to be useful in providing pain relief.



Fibromyalgia is a complicated and perplexing condition which is still not fully understood by the medical professions. It presents as a syndrome of symptoms.

The main features of fibromyalgia include widespread pain, sleep and mood disturbances and tender points to name but a few.

Treatment is usually multi-faceted with many medical professionals and other practitioners contributing to the patient's management.

The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia - pain and stiffness - can respond well to Physiotherapy treatment. Each patient will present differently and so an individual programme will be devised.

This may include gentle mobilisation and manipulation techniques, specific exercise regimes and education on managing the condition.



This is a term that is used to describe problems with joints in the body. It is important to be very clear what is meant by the word as it can be used to describe quite different conditions.

If used accurately, arthritis means inflammation of the joints. These can be quite severe and unpleasant conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis and Gout.

A variety of tests will need to be performed to make the diagnosis but usually blood tests will confirm what is going on. Such conditions often need ongoing medical management and regular medication.

Unfortunately, arthritis, is also used to describe the normal wear and tear processes that happen over life in all our joints. This can be painful but is not as serious as the inflammatory conditions.

Physiotherapy has an important role to play whatever type of arthritis you have. A thorough assessment will enable the Physiotherapist to identify specific problems and formulate an individual treatment plan.

Pain relief is important. This can be provided by the use of acupuncture, electrotherapy and also gentle exercise and massage techniques. Very stiff areas will benefit from mobilising and invariably there are weak muscles which need to be strengthened. Some people will require advice on protecting their joints and on managing their symptoms in the long term.

Physiotherapy for Arthritis, Fibromyalgia - Leamington Spa, Kenilworth, Warwick, Stratford-upon-Avon, Coventry and Warwickshire