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Should I see an NHS physiotherapist or a private physio near me? Who’s the best physio out there?

Before I answer that question head on, I’d like to dispel a few myths about that makes someone ‘the best physio.’ Here is a list of things that do not mean someone is a good physio (and equally these things do not make bad physios, they are just not the quality assurance many people presume.)

  • Having worked for elite sports teams or celebrities 
  • Having the title ‘specialist’ or any variation on that theme
  • Having a decent social media following 
  • Being based in Harley Street (or equivalents) 
  • Having lots of post-grad qualifications
  • Being the picture of fitness and health
  • Having attended a specific university
  • Belittling other physios/healthcare professionals on social media
  • Having been qualified a long time
  • Being massively into sport 
  • Having the gift of the gab
  • Being recommended by your medical insurance company
  • Having access to fancy equipment

So now that I’ve got that off my chest, what’s the answer? Well, quite simply, the most important answer is the physio that helps you get better. This may sound pretty facetious but it shocks me how many people see physiotherapists/osteopaths/chiropractors repetitively with no positive outcome. 

In the initial session your physiotherapist (or osteopath or chiropractor) should indicate how many sessions you will need over what period of time and the milestones along the way. In other words, we’d expect you to be 30% better after ‘x’ amount of time, 70% better after ‘y’ amount of time and return to running/judo/other sport after ‘z’ number of days/weeks/months. Then, if you are not achieving the milestones you can discuss with your physio whether there’s a good reason for this or whether it’s time to have a second opinion from another physiotherapist who can give a fresh perspective. 

It really doesn’t matter if they work for the NHS or in private practice, whether you see them face to face or for virtual physio, you just need to make sure that you don’t just keep going back to your physio if you are not getting better. Please don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion. 

I’m aware I’ve still not answered the question how do you find the best physio for your condition in the first place?! If you can afford to see someone in private practice you have far more options of course, but there are specialist physios within the NHS who will step in if your case is complex or unusual, so don’t be afraid to ask. Privately the best thing to do is a combination of:

  1. Read the information about them in their bio and see if it resonates with you 
  2. Have recommendations from trusted health care professionals 
  3. Have recommendations from friends and find out why they recommend them.
  4. Read their reviews
  5. Read this article where I go into more detail about what to look out for: https://www.octopusclinic.com/good-physio-vs-bad-physio-can-tell/

I hope that’s helpful. It goes without saying, that if you want to find the best physiotherapists ever, you need to come and see us at Octopus Clinic.

See you soon. 🙂

Lucy Macdonald 


Director Octopus Clinic 



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