Back or neck pain

MSK - Information for GPs - Back or neck pain - Top Image

Back and neck pathways

Please use the back and neck pathways below to determine the best treatment option for your patient, based on their condition:

Any qualified provider - Haringey

Whittington Health provides a musculoskeletal physiotherapy service, through any qualified provider (AQP), for patients with back and neck pain who have a Haringey GP. If a patient has had back or neck pain for 12 months or less, they can choose to have their physiotherapy treatment with us.
This service is provided at six of our sites:
  • Bounds Green Health Centre, 1a Gordon Road, London N11 2PA
  • Highgate Group Practice, 44 North Hill, London N6 4QA
  • Hornsey Health Centre, 151 Park Road, London N8 8JD
  • Lordship Lane Primary Care Health Centre, 239 Lordship Lane, London N17 6AA
  • St Ann’s Hospital, Block C, St Ann’s Road, London N15 3TH
  • The Whittington Hospital, Physiotherapy Outpatient Department, Highgate Hill, London N19 5NF

MSK clinical assessment and treatment service

The musculoskeletal clinical assessment and treatment service (MSK CATS) is for patients with complex musculoskeletal presentations with failed conservative management who may require specialist assessment, access to diagnostics and possibly onward referral to secondary care. It is also for MSK patients who may require peripheral soft tissue, peri-articular and articular injections.
MSK CATS is run by specialist staff with many years’ experience, including extended scope physiotherapy practitioners and a GP with a special interest (GPwSI) in musculoskeletal medicine. The team has close links with secondary care consultants in orthopaedics, rheumatology and chronic pain.
The clinicians in the team are able to refer directly for investigations and can refer to secondary care as appropriate.

Clinical Champions

Some practices have a named contact person within the MSK team, called a ‘clinical champion’, who can be contacted to discuss any matter relating to the service. This might include referrals or the management of complex patients. Click to find your clinical champion.

How to refer

Please complete the appropriate referral form with full, accurate information and provide any relevant investigation reports.
Referrals are triaged by a senior clinician to ensure patients are seen by the most appropriate service. A referral can be triaged into MSK physiotherapy, MSK CATS, MSK podiatry or secondary care (e.g. orthopaedics, rheumatology or chronic pain consultants).
In MSK Physiotherapy you might be directed to one of the following appointment types:
  • Our back pain education session – in this appointment you attend a specialised group session followed by your physiotherapy assessment – these sessions can take up to 2 hours
  • Our lower limb osteoarthritis education sessions – in this appointment you attend a specialised group session followed by your physiotherapy assessment – these sessions can take up to 2 hours
  • Our specialised ‘persistent pain’ appointments – these appointments may start with a group education session
  • A standard 1:1 Physiotherapy Assessment
  • Our Turkish speaking education session

You may then complete your treatment in one of our many exercise classes based across Haringey and Islington.

Contact us

For general physiotherapy queries, please call 020 3224 4789 or email

For new referrals and AQP referrals, please contact our Central Bookings team on 020 3316 1111.

For MSK CATS referrals, please call 020 3224 4744.
For MSK Single Point of Access referral queries please call 02072883317.

Advice Leaflets

Useful Apps

Please click each title to find out more.

NHS 24 MSK Help

Advice on common muscle, back and joint problems:

  • Exercises and video clips to help you get moving safely
  • Information to help with Work – Working lives information
  • Reminders to do your exercises and/or attend any appointments
  • A log to keep a note of your progress

NASS Back to Action

The Back to Action app has been specifically designed for people with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) to exercise safely in the gym.


In order to be able to treat pain effectively, pain experts recommend you keep a diary. CatchMyPain allows you to track your pain problem by using detailed drawings and by providing other relevant information. The diary will help you to explain your pain problem to any care provider.

Back Fix

Developed in conjunction with a team of Olympic sports doctors, international physiotherapists (physical therapists) and a spinal orthopaedic surgeon, this smart app provides simple, clear and practical guidelines on how to effectively self-manage your low back pain.

Page last updated: 30 Jun 2017
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