Community Musculoskeletal Service

Referral to the Musculoskeletal (MSK) service has changed. Patients are requested to self-manage your condition at home prior to seeking a physiotherapy referral. We use the getUBetter app to help you do this.

The getUBetter app is now available to all patients. It’s a free, easy-to-use tool helping you to self-manage your muscle, bone, and joint (MSK) injuries and conditions.

New joint and muscle problems are common and include shoulder, neck, back and knee problems. Many people will have had these at some point in their life. Most of these problems are not serious and improve or get better quickly with self management.

Should you not get any better, the app has self-referral built within it. This means that if your condition doesn’t follow the expected recovery, you will prompted by the app to fill in the self-referral form, which will be emailed to us straight from the app.

Once you have done this, you do NOT have to go to your GP for a referral. We will be able to offer you an appointment straight from your filled in self-referral form.

You can still contact your GP surgery if;

  • You have accessed the getUBetter app and your joint and muscle problems are not improving
  • Your joint and muscle problems are getting worse and/or are limiting your ability to work or care for a dependent.
  • You develop new symptoms such as pins and needles, worsening weakness in your arms or legs or problems with your balance.

After three months your joint and muscle problems have not improved. Although we strongly encourage you to use the self-referral form. GP surgeries are under a lot of strain and we want to help them by referring less patients to them. Once you have sent your self-referral, we will triage it within 48h and if there is anything urgent on the form, you will be offered an appointment within 10 days.

Joint and muscle problems rarely indicate a more serious condition;

  • If you get new symptoms of feeling unwell, pain at night that causes problems sleeping or significant joint swelling contact your GP surgery.
  • If you get a new hot, red, swollen joint this may be an infection in the joint. This needs emergency treatment so go to accident and emergency on the same day.
  • Very rarely people who experience back pain with leg pain, leg numbness or weakness, can also experience changes in bladder and bowel function.  This is called cauda equina syndrome and requires emergency treatment to prevent long term damage and disability such as becoming incontinent. The prognosis of CES is time dependent hence it is crucial you act on this immediately and attend the Emergency Department.
  • If you have back and/or leg pain and any of the following symptoms below are new or getting worse within the last 2 weeks (14 days) , please attend accident and emergency on the same day  
    • Loss of feeling or pins and needs around your inner thighs, genitals back passage and/or buttocks.
    • Altered feeling when using toilet paper to wipe yourself.
    • Difficulty trying to wee, or trying to stop, or not being able to feel the sensation of passing urine.
    • Not knowing when your bladder is full or empty.  
    • Leaking urine or having to use pads.
    • Loss of feeling as to when you need to poo.
    • Loss of sexual sensation or function
  • If your symptoms have been going on for more than 2 weeks (14 days)  and are not changing or deteriorating, you should be assessed in our MSK service, and you are able to self-refer through the GetUBetter app or seek referral through your GP.