top of page

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

 A 
 
Achilles Tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon often caused by activities putting more strain (overload) on the tendon than it is accustomed to. This can cause pain, stiffness, swelling and reduced function. Also see Tendinopathy 

 

Acromioclavicular Joint (ACJ) a sprain to this joint is usually caused by a fall on to an outstretched arm. This stretches the ligaments that attached the clavicle to the shoulder blade. 
 

Ankle fracture is caused by a break in at the base of the long bones in the lower leg. Medical attention is required for optimal healing.
 

Ankle sprain is when the ligaments at the ankle are stretched or torn by a twisting injury or a fall, “going over on my ankle”. The severity of the injury will determine if medical attention is required. 
 

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury is a common sporting injury. One of the ligaments inside the knee tears causing immediate pain and swelling. This usually requires medical attention and rehabilitation with Physiotherapy
 

Anterior Knee Pain (AKP) pain at the front of the knee can be under the kneecap or the tendon below the knee. This is often linked to the way that load is distributed from the foot up to the hip.  Also see Patellar Pain 
 
Arthritis is commonly referred to as ‘age related wear and tear’ when the joint surface cartilage becomes thinner where the bones move alongside each other. This will commonly cause stiffness and pain. 
 
B 
 
Bursitis is when the fluid filled sacs (bursa) cushioning soft tissue like tendons and ligaments around the joint become inflamed causing pain and tenderness. 
 
C 
 
Carpal Tunnel syndrome causes pain and tingling in the hand. This is because the passage of median nerve through a small tunnel in the wrist is compromised. 

 

Cartilage is the protective covering on the surface of the joints where the bones move alongside each other.  
 

Cervical pain – pain around the neck can cause specific or widespread discomfort. Often it settles spontaneously after a few days while other times it can require Physiotherapy input. 
 
D 
 
Deep Tissue Massage is a massage technique using slow deep movements to target specific musculoskeletal tissues causing pain and stiffness. The aim is to alleviate pain and improve mobility.  

 

Dequervain’s syndrome is caused by tenosynovitis which is swelling within the sheath surrounding tendons where the thumb and wrist meet. The irritation can cause pain and swelling affecting the function of the hand. 
 

Developmental milestones are the developmental steps taken as a child grows from birth to adulthood. 
 
Diastasis Recti is a separation and thinning of the join between the left and right rectus abdomonis muscles (the 6-pack) either side of the belly button. This is common during or following pregnancy. 

 

Disc bulge/prolapse is when the soft content of the disc in the spine pushes out of its normal space. This can cause pain, stiffness and in some instances weakness as the nerve is squashed. 
 
E 

 

Education on an injury or condition enables you to understand and balance the needs of your body with the demands of life (work, family & hobbies). Knowledge allows better self-management of recovery and return to activity. 
 

Ergonomics “is the science concerned with the ‘fit’ between people and their work... it aims to make sure that tasks, equipment, information and the environment fit each worker.” (© HSE.gov.uk)  
 

Exercise therapy is the prescription of exercise tailored to the individual. Exercises promotes wellness by improving strength, balance, posture and movement. 
 
F 
 
Fibromyalgia, “also called fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.” (© NHS.co.uk) 

 

Follow Up Treatment an appointment whereby the intervention from a previous appointment can be reviewed. A follow up allows for progression, adaptation or repetition to build on earlier progress. 
 

Fracture a break in the bone caused by trauma leading to pain, swelling and immobility. Medical attention is required for optimal healing. 
 

Frozen shoulder happens when the covering of the shoulder joint becomes inflamed and shrinks. This causes pain and stiffness in moving the shoulder all directions. 
 
G 
 
Gluteal Tendinopathy is when pain occurs around the outer hip bone (greater trochanter). The pain from this is felt walking and lying on the affected hip. It can also refer pain to the outer thigh. There are similarities with Trochanteric Bursitis. Also see Tendinopathy  

 

Golfer's Elbow is when the tendons on the inside of the elbow become inflamed with repetitive strain. This causes pain with gripping and forward bending of the wrist. 
 
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by deposits of urate crystals build up in the joint leading to reddened inflamed and painful joints. Attacks are usually last 1-2 weeks.  

 

Gynaecological physiotherapy please refer to Women’s Health 
 
H 
 
Hamstring strain or tear of this muscle group at the back of the thigh is a common sporting injury. It can be a mild pulled muscle or a more severe rupture requiring longer rehabilitation.  
 
Headaches are caused by a wide range of issues from simple dehydration, posture, eye strain and stress to complex or severe issues which require urgent medical attention. Please see Headaches - NHS (www.nhs.uk) for when to seek emergency help. Here at Humanity-Warwick we can treat posture related headaches. 

 

Hip labral tear is usually characterised by groin or front of hip pain with certain positions making it worse. In some instances, there can be audible sounds like clicking with movement. The labrum is ring of cartilage surrounding the hip joint that is subject to wear and tear. 
 
Hip pain can be caused by a labral tear (?hyperlink to definitions), arthritis changes to the joint surfaces, trochanteric bursitis or tendinopathy. It can also be caused by a broken hip following trauma or referred pain from the lower back or knee. 

  

 
Ice/ cryotherapy the application of ice to injured tissues is a well proven treatment for an acute injuries. Ice promotes circulation, limits inflammation and soothes pain. It is best used for short durations (eg 10-15 minutes) at regular intervals 4-5x a day to benefit while limiting side effects.  
 
Iliotibial band syndrome (ITB) the ITB is a thick band of connective tissue running down the outside of the thigh. This can cause pain in the hip or knee as it rubs (causes friction) with tissues around it.  
 
Injury Prevention is the steps taken to reduce the risk of injury. This may be the completion of a formal risk assessment or taking steps to prepare the body for the load it is going to be subjected to. The 'Rule of Toos’ (too fast, too long, too strong, too often) is a useful guide to activity particularly when starting a new activity. 
 
Initial Assessment when a client attends for the first time. An assessment is completed which builds an understanding of symptoms, health, activities along with a physical examination to enable a plan treatment for the condition. 
 

 
Jumper's knee please refer to Patellar Tendinopathy
 
K  
 
Kegels please refer to Pelvic floor exercises 

 

Knee pain can be caused by arthritis causing changes to the joint surfaces, fractures, tendinopathy or cartilage and ligament injuries. Many of these conditions can be rehabilitated with Physiotherapy.  
 

Knee ligament injury there are several ligaments at the knee that can be injured with a sudden incident or strained with repeated overloading. Some injuries quickly resolve while some, such as the ACL require more medical intervention and Physiotherapy rehab. Please refer to ACL
 

 
Leg pain there are multiple factors that can cause leg pain such as arthritis, circulatory problems, sprains and strains to muscles and ligaments, cramp and pain caused by nerves. 

 

Lower Back Pain (LBP) is very common and usually improves within a few weeks or months. Pain in the lower back is particularly common. In most cases the pain is not caused by anything serious and will usually get better over time. There are things you can do to help relieve it. But sometimes the pain can last a long time or keep coming back. (© NHS.co.uk) 


Lower limb injury an injury affecting one or both legs 
 

 
Manual therapy refers to the hands-on application of passive movement to treat musculoskeletal pain. 
 
Meniscus are the crescent shaped cartilage within the main knee joint. They act as shock absorbers and enhance knee function and stability. 


Morton's Neuroma is a thickening of a nerve in the foot that causes pain and altered sensation when it is pinched between the bones at the front of the foot. It can be relieved with simple changes to footwear. In some instances, requires specific professional management. 
 
Musculoskeletal refers to conditions affecting muscles, bones or joints. 
 
Mummy & Baby Pilates is a relaxed class where your baby is welcome. You have freedom to balance exercise with the need of your little one. See our Mummy & Baby Pilates page​.


Mummy MOT® is a post-natal check following the birth of your baby. This includes assessment of posture, pelvic floor and stomach muscles. It also includes exercises to help recovery and to get back on track with fitness goals. See our Mummy MOT® page​.


Myofascial release can relieve pain by applying gentle massage pressure to connective tissue and fascia. 
 
N 
 
Neck pain causes can range from a simple strain to the soft tissues to multiple factors affecting bone, soft tissue and nerves causing pain in a wider area.  
 
Nerve pain or impingement is when a nerve does not have the usual space to move within the body because it is pinched, ‘squashed’ or ‘trapped’.  

Numbness is the term used to describe a loss of sensation in a part of the body. Closely related to numbness is abnormal feelings such as tingling or burning. These symptoms stem from a problem with the nerves either where the problem is or there may be a change of sensation further away from the problem.  
 
O 
 
Osteoporosis is a progressive condition that leads to more fragile bones as you get older. Fragile bones are more likely to break easily. The bones in your wrist, hip and spine are particularly vulnerable. 
 
Osteoarthritis is a very common condition which can affect any joint in the body. It’s most likely to affect the joints that bear most of our weight, such as the knees and feet. Joints that we use a lot in everyday life, such as the joints of the hand, are also commonly affected. (© versusarthritis.org) 


 

 
Paediatric Physiotherapy is the treatment of babies and children for developmental needs, respiratory conditions or musculoskeletal symptoms. This is with Physiotherapists with specialist knowledge of the developing body. 


Paraesthesia / Pins and needles is the term used to describe a change of sensation such as tingling or burning in a part of the body and these are closely related to numbness. These symptoms stem from a problem with the nerves either where the sensation change is or away from the feeling such as the neck or back. 


Patellar pain / Patellar tendinopathy pain at the front of the knee (also known as anterior knee pain) often stems from overuse injuries. When an activity or a few activities demand more from the knee than it is used to. This leads to pain in the soft tissues around the kneecap. Also see Tendinopathy 


Pelvic floor exercises are a series of exercises specifically targeting the pelvic floor muscles. These can weaken after pregnancy or with age related changes in both men and women. 


Physiotherapy is a is a science-based profession. Physios use their knowledge and skills to improve a range of conditions associated with different systems of the body such as neurological (nerves), respiratory (breathing) and musculoskeletal. Physiotherapy takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and wellbeing, which includes the patient’s general lifestyle. At the core is the patient’s involvement in their own care, through education, awareness, empowerment and participation in their treatment. (© csp.org.uk). See our Treatments page for more information.

Pilates is a workout for the whole body and mind involving controlled movements within the flexibility of your body. See our Pilates page​ for more information.


Plantar fasciitis is pain on the underside of the foot, typically felt towards the heel. The plantar fascia is a strong thick band of cartilage. It plays a large role in walking therefore any weightbearing activity is painful, especially with the first steps taken to move. 


Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) is a type of chronic systemic inflammatory condition causing pain and stiffness in the muscles. 
 
Post-operative Rehabilitation refers to the period after surgery when an individual follows a set of exercises in adherence to surgeon specific protocol. This is to enable a gradual return of mobility and strength and to independence or pre-operative activity.   


Posture is the way a person holds themselves in a variety of positions whether standing, sitting or walking and running. It can influence the load placed onto muscles and joints and this can lead to associated symptoms of pain and discomfort. This can be exacerbated further if the position is held for long periods at a time. 


Postnatal exercise has been specifically adapted to be safe for a woman’s body following the demands of pregnancy. This allows her to gradually transition back to her usual activities. 


Postnatal Pilates please refer to Mum’s & Babies Pilates 


Pregnancy Pilates is a specific class where the exercises have been specifically adapted to be safe for a woman’s body during pregnancy. These allow you to nurture your body with gentle movement, strength and relaxation while your pregnancy progresses. 


Pre-Habilitation allows a person to optimise their participation in an activity by learning specifics about how their body moves and functions. Targeted advice, treatment and exercise can work toward helping to prevent injury or dysfunction. 
 
Prolapse is when something is out of place for example a disc prolapse can refer to a spinal disc bulge or herniation or vaginal prolapse refers to the protrusion of one or more of the pelvic organs into the vagina. 
 
Psoriatic Arthritis is one type of long term inflammatory condition affecting the joints and usually occurring in people who have psoriasis. 
 

 
Quadriceps strain or tear of this muscle group at the front of the thigh is a common sporting injury that can be a mild pulled muscle or a more severe rupture requiring surgery and longer rehabilitation. 
 
R 
 
Reactive Arthritis can occur following an illness when the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue causing temporary pain, inflammation and swelling in a joint. This usually fully resolves over a couple months. 


Referred pain is a pain felt in an area of the body that is away from the stimulus/cause of pain. The body has a system of nerves linking the body; pain can travel along the sensory nervous system because of the nerves location near to the source of the pain. 


Rehabilitation follows the recovery from an injury or illness which often leads to a loss of fitness  with diminished strength, agility and balance. After the initial period of healing and recovery a phase of rehabilitation will enable the body to return to fitness. This might entail adapting to a new level of normal fitness depending on the severity of the initial injury or illness. 


Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) the repeated nature of some actions or work can lead to an overuse in soft tissue (muscles, tendons and nerves). This can cause overload injuries that usually affect the upper limb. Symptoms start gradually and can become intense. It is advised to seek early help for the problem and solutions to lessening the overload to the tissues.  


Respiratory Physiotherapy by Physiotherapists specialising in treatment of the conditions affecting the lungs and breathing. This may be in the hospital setting, living with a chronic condition or rehabilitating from an illness. 


Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease which means the immune system attacks healthy cells, in the case of RA it attacks the healthy cells of the joints. 
 
Runner’s knee please refer to Iliotibial band syndrome and Patellar Pain 
 
S 
 
Sciatic pain / Sciatica is when pain is caused in the leg because of pressure on the sciatic nerve. This can be in the lower back where the nerve starts or along the nerve as is passes through the buttock down to the leg. 
 
Scoliosis describes the curving and twisting of the spine causing visible changes to the posture. Specialist assessment will determine if it is mild requiring no surgical treatment or if it will require surgical intervention. 


Shockwave therapy the application of low energy sound waves to deliver energy to tissue. This energy promotes circulation, normalise muscle tone, inhibit the passage of pain signals and promote cellular metabolism.  


Shoulder pain symptoms causing pain in the shoulder. This can be caused by an injury, posture and the way the arm is used or because of degeneration in the tissues. 
 
Shoulder dislocation is when the bone alignment is dislodged by trauma, causing the ball to come out of the socket. Medical treatment is recommended to relocate the joint and provide appropriate care. 
 
Shoulder impingement is the pinching or catching of shoulder tendons within the subacromial space at the top of the shoulder when the arm is lifted. This can be treated successfully with Physiotherapy. Treatment can strengthen posture and weak shoulder muscles. In some instances, specialist treatment is required.  


Shoulder multidirectional instability the refers to extra mobility within the shoulder joint because of trauma or laxity in the soft tissue causing a looseness to the joint. The shoulder is capable of large movements and relies on muscles to control this motion. Some cases can be successfully treated with strengthening exercises. 
 
Soft tissue massage is performed using a lotion or oil to allow the therapist’s hands to move over the soft tissue (like muscles and fascia). This movement can be deep or light encouraging movement of the tissue and encouraging circulation to the area. This can reduce pain and improve range of movement. 
 
Spiky massage ball gives a massage that can be deeper massage and stimulates circulation with its small rounded spikes. It is particularly effective as a self massage tool.  
 
Spondyloarthritis is a term used to describe a group of inflammatory arthritis conditions affecting the spine or peripheral joints.  


Sports Injury is an injury sustained while participating in sports or sports training. Rapid action to treat with the R.I.C.E. protocol (Rest Ice Compression and Elevation). This is essential to help with swelling, pain and return to activity. In some instances medical evaluation is required. 
 
Steroid Injection is when a corticosteroid is injected by specially trained medical staff to relieve inflammation in a specific location that is causing pain. 

 

Symphysis pubis pain (SPD) the term used to describe pain at the front of the pelvis. This typically occurs in pregnancy. The growth of the baby and relaxing of the ligaments changes can contribute to symptoms. 
 
T 
 
Taping is the application of supportive tape to an injured area. This can benefit for different reasons. It can relieve load, promote improved posture or joint mechanics and can promoted circulation to the area. 


TENS machine is a method of delivering pain relief at home. It is a small battery powered device that attaches to small pads on the skin which deliver small electrical stimulation to the nerves. This can interrupt the signal of pain going to the brain and trigger the body to release natural pain relief called endorphins. 


Tendinopathy is when an overuse (repetitive or too heavy) of a muscle tendon causes pain and sometimes swelling to the tendon. The repeated nature of the loading causes chronic changes that lead to pain and sometimes a loss of function. 


Tendonitis is the acute (newly occurred) damage to a tendon where inflammation causes swelling and pain around the tendon.  
 
Tennis Elbow is when pain on the outside of the elbow (also known as lateral epicondylitis) affects the grip and function of the hand. This can refer to acute tendonitis or chronic tendinopathy. 


TheraBand is one type of resistance band. The stretch of a resistance band enables strengthening of a muscle throughout a range of movements. The degree of resistance is graded from light to heavy. 


Thoracic refers to the middle portion of the spine where your ribs are. There are 12 vertebrae that provide connection points for the ribs to the spine. 
 
Trigger point release pain can develop in muscle and its myofascial tissue. Sometimes felt as painful “knot” in a muscle that is very sore to touch. Releasing a trigger point involves forms of massage and posture modification to ease the pain. 
 
Trochanteric bursitis see Gluteal Tendinopathy 
 
U  
 
Ultrasound therapy is the application of therapeutic ultrasound waves to deliver a change in the cells of a painful tendon or ligament. This differs from an ultrasound scan as energy of the sound waves is absorbed by the tissue rather than being reflected to create an image on a screen. 


Upper limb injury any injury to the arm including the joints, muscles, nerves, ligaments and tendons. 


Urinary Incontinence refers to a limited degree of bladder control. This is a common problem with women and even men. There are different types of incontinence. Many cases are treatable with Pelvic floor exercises. See Pelvic floor exercises 
 

Weight training is the use of resistance to build muscle strength. Resistance challenges the muscle fibres leading to the increase of strength. Weights can vary from hand-held weights, weights connected to cable machines or stretchy resistance bands. 
 
Women's Health Physiotherapy is specialised Physiotherapy for pelvic pain and pelvic floor symptoms. This is done under the care of Physiotherapists with specialised training. 


Wrist strain / pain can occur suddenly with an injury such as a tear to a ligament or gradually with overuse of the wrist. Pain can be mild or intense limiting activity. Some injuries may require medical attention to help resolve.  
 

Patellar Pain
Iliotibial Band
Gluteal Tendinopathy
Pelvic Floor
Physiotherapy
ACL
Mum & Baby Pilates
Tendinopathy
Women's Health
bottom of page