What is Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy?

Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy is a specialised area of physiotherapy that deals with the assessment and treatment of injuries and disorders of soft tissue structures such as muscles, tendons, ligaments as well as joint problems.

Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists aim to both prevent the onset of injury/pathology, and promote return to full function when injury occurs.

Musculoskeletal conditions are typically associated with trauma, repetitive overuse and excessive loading. However, musculoskeletal conditions can also arise from physical inactivity and deconditioning, such as during the period following on from surgery.


What kind of conditions do we treat?

  • Spinal Conditions
    • Disc prolapse
    • Nerve impingement
  • Surgical Rehabilitation [before & after surgery]
    • Hip replacement
    • Knee replacement
    • Ligament repairs
  • Soft Tissue Injury
    • Ligament sprains
    • Muscular strains
    • Tendonopathies
  • Joint Problems
    • Arthritis
    • Dislocation
    • Hypermobility
    • Pelvic Girdle Pain
  • Trauma
    • Whiplash
    • Fractures
    • Muscle & ligament tears
  • Chronic Conditions
    • Osteoporosis
    • Back pain
    • Fibromyalgia

Musculoskeletal conditions can frequently develop following a diagnosis of a long-term health condition such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and cancer. They often develop secondary to physical deconditioning and inactivity due to the uncertainty of how to exercise safely and not knowing the type of exercise to engage in.

It has been found that chronic musculoskeletal conditions account for considerable activity restrictions in individuals with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and respiratory disease (Slater et al., 2011).

Furthermore, following surgery for breast cancer treatment, there is an increased risk of developing upper limb impairments, such as reduced shoulder range of motion and strength, which is higher in women suffering from lymphodema (Smoot et al, 2010). Similarly, head and neck cancer patients are at higher risk of developing musculoskeletal impairment that can result in chronic neck pain and shoulder disability (Ghiam et al., 2017).

These musculoskeletal complications are responsive to therapeutic rehabilitation interventions and individuals should seek advice from a musculoskeletal physiotherapist on ways to prevent their occurrence in the first place.

Individuals suffering from long term health conditions often require a more integrated multidisciplinary approach to enable effective treatment of both physical and mental health concerns associated with such conditions.
— Christina O'Connor, Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, Strive Clinic Galway
 Christina O'Connor, MSK Physiotherapist, Strive clinic galway

Christina O'Connor, MSK Physiotherapist, Strive clinic galway



The initial assessment consists of a 45 minute in-depth consultation, allowing the clinician to obtain a thorough overview of your medical history and the circumstances surrounding your current injury or illness. This session is also used to identify personal goals to help direct the focus of the treatment.

After this information has been obtained the physiotherapist will conduct a physical examination. Based on the outcome of this assessment you will be educated on the findings of the assessment and will have the opportunity to ask any questions and be involved in planning of treatment based on your preferences.

The physiotherapist commences treatment within this initial session, provided it is medically safe to do so.



Therapeutic exercise in isolation or in conjunction with other therapy modalities (see below) can often facilitate return to full function and prevent the recurrence of injury.

MSK Treatment Modalities Pic.png

Is Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation covered by Private Health Insurance?

VHI, Laya Healthcare and Irish Life Health will reimburse you for many of our services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy if you have an outpatient cover on your health insurance policy. Please check your policy for applicable excesses, terms and conditions.


Next Steps

We want to provide you with the best care possible and this may involve working with the people currently providing your care. We are happy for you to refer yourself to our Bone & Joint Health Programme and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation service by calling reception, or you can be referred by your GP, Consultant or other healthcare provider.

For complex medical conditions, we suggest you obtain a referral letter from your consultant, GP, or clinical nurse specialist including your medical history and treatments to date. This will help us to better understand your unique health needs and create a personalised programme of care. 

 Stephen mcnally, musculoskeletal physiotherapist, strive clinic killybegs

Stephen mcnally, musculoskeletal physiotherapist, strive clinic killybegs

You are also welcome to contact us directly to book your appointment. With your consent, we are happy to contact your network of healthcare providers on your behalf to collect the medical information required to create your unique programme of care.

Strive Clinic gives you access to an opinion you can trust and the expert care you deserve.

So take action on the health issues that are important to you and book your appointment today!