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Someone once mentioned to me that “we are the sum total of the decisions we make in life” Did you see Chelsea Cameron on Victoria Derbyshire’s show when she thanked her drug-dependent parents for all the things they DIDN’T do for her as a child and the choices she made subsequently?:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38825332

With this in mind, my wife Georgie and I found ourselves last year at a craft exhibition in London. Whilst we were looking for a particular exhibitor, we came across the work of Peter Lanyon who was exhibiting his woodcraft furniture in one of the stalls (www.peterlanyonfurniture.co.uk).

Rewinding the clock nearly 50 years, one of the few subjects I enjoyed at school, apart from Biology, was woodworking but being a boy and it being the 1970s, science was the obvious avenue to pursue.

Magazine rack made at school, circa 1973

Magazine rack made at school, circa 1973

 

I was taken by Peter’s beautiful handmade Devon furniture, which uses coppiced wood i.e. freshly cut unseasoned Greenwood and traditional woodworking tools. On the spur of the moment, I signed up with my wife to do Peter’s ‘Introduction to Greenwood Furniture Making’ for my 60th birthday present!

Shaping the Ash legs from a split tree trunk

Shaping the Ash legs from a split tree trunk

 

Whilst this was relatively familiar territory for me, for Georgie it was very much out of her comfort zone. So why mention this in my newsletter to you? The answer I believe is that as we all become older, so we become more set in our ways, both emotionally and physically. For most of my patients and our society generally, lives are largely sedentary and much like me, one gravitates towards what is most comfortable and familiar.

Lanyon 3 Lanyon 4

 

It is interesting I find how conquering one’s own, seemingly trivial, mental limitations can have profound and far-reaching results in one’s lives. My wife, who is a primary school teacher, had an OFSTED-type class inspection the following week after her return from Peter’s course. She claims that her ‘Outstanding’ OFSTED result was, in part, due to the positive emotional influence she felt having conquered her reservations of her own ability to do woodcraft.

The finished products (Georgie’s table left)

The finished products (Georgie’s table left)

 

So my message to everyone is: DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! It needn’t be doing a course – I sometimes ride my motorbike to work a different way …. it’s very small and trivial but it’s just “doing something different”. When was the last time you spontaneously said “hello” to a stranger in an elevator? How often do you stop to say “hello” to someone living rough? And so the list goes on and on. In NLP jargon, it’s called “changing state”.

Almost every one of us knows somebody who suffers from Arthritis, and of the most common statements you’ll have heard those friends or family members make is that their symptoms worsen in the winter. Indeed many people who have the condition go to warmer climates for a holiday at this time of year to lessen the symptoms.

In this article I will take a look at what arthritis is and why winter can make it so painful.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?Rheumatoid Arthritis

It’s an autoimmune disease which causes stiffness and pain because of inflammation in the joints. It’s not to be confused with the much more common Osteoarthritis caused by regular wear and tear on the body which is why it troubles people as they get older. Osteoarthritis can cause deformities in the hands as can be evidenced on television in a well-known celebrity baker who is advanced in years.

Doctors usually treat Rheumatoid Arthritis with anti-inflammatories and pain relief medicine however a growing number of people are looking for a natural approach. If you remember a few months back when I circulated ‘The doctor who gave up drugs’ this is an approach I support as a registered naturopath.

Why are the symptoms of Arthritis harder to manage in winter?

According to Robert Jamieson, Professor at the Harvard Medical School and chief psychologist at the Pain Management Centre at Brigham Hospital, it may be a change in barometric pressure which causes the worsening of symptoms rather than cold, rain or snow. He carried out a survey focused on patients with chronic pain which reported “67.9% of the people surveyed responded that they were sure changes in the weather had an effect on their pain. Most of the patients reported that they can feel a change in their pain before rain or cold weather occur.”

His reasoning on it being barometric pressure cause was from a test conducted on a balloon. “When a balloon is inflated, it has the maximum inside and outside pressure. High barometric pressure that pushes against the body from the outside keeps tissues from expanding.” His conclusion was that the falling barometric pressure falls led to tissues expanding in the body and that in turn puts more pressure on nerves that control pain signals. He concluded that “it doesn’t take much expansion or contraction of tissue to affect a pain trigger.”

What if you can’t avoid bad weather?

Living in London makes bad weather pretty unavoidable and not all Arthritis sufferers have the luxury of being retired and able to spend chunks of the winter in sunnier regions. So I would suggest a number of lifestyle changes which could help to lessen your symptoms including:

  • Research naturopathy – we really are what we eat and there’s a connection to many foods and their ability to lessen inflammation. Turmeric contains Curcumin which is very well known for the aforementioned inflammation reduction properties, however if you feel you cannot eat enough curries to contain a beneficial amount there are supplements available in health food shops. Celery is also well known to reduce inflammation and a great way to eat as much as possible is through soup, I have included a recipe from the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/celerysoup_85016
  • If you are overweight try to lose a few pounds – the heavier you are, the more pressure you put on joints which in turn causes more pain
  • Try acupuncture – there is increasing evidence that acupuncture can lessen symptoms of arthritic pain. My website has much more information on acupuncture so that would be a good starting point in finding further information.
  • Exercise more – I said above that losing weight would help and regular exercise will aid this. However the more you flex joints the more you’ll keep them flexible so try things that aren’t weight bearing (as running would cause more damage) like swimming or yoga. It’s purely coincidental that my other article this month is on the benefits of yoga to chronic back pain sufferers.

In summary, there is a lot you can do to lessen symptoms. However if the information above seems daunting them feel free to make an appointment with me to discuss manageable changes in your life which can help to lessen the pain – just call 020 8815 0979 or click here to request an appointment.

As a practising osteopath in London I see a number of clients each week that experience back pain, in varying forms and severities. For these clients I am able to provide a comprehensive treatment plan and we work together over a number of sessions to treat the problem. In addition to treatment provided by myself I also look to work with clients on what lifestyle changes can be made and other things that can be introduced to try to prevent problems such as back pain recurring again in the future. I was therefore interested to read about a recent study carried out in the US into yoga and the positive benefits it can have on long-term back pain.

Women practicing yoga in a class

A recent study into yoga and back pain

The study analysed more than 1000 men and women who were experiencing long-term lower back pain. It found that those patients who practised yoga were most likely to improve their mobility and reduce their pain levels. These patients were all taught yoga-like exercises by experienced and qualified professionals.

Lead author Susan Wieland, from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said: “Our findings suggest that yoga exercise may lead to reducing the symptoms of lower back pain by a small amount, but the results have come from studies with a short follow-up.”

Back pain affects nearly one in 10 people in the UK and becomes more common with age. Very often the cause of long-term back pain is unknown, which can be very frustrating for the sufferer. Perhaps putting down the pain-killers and picking up a yoga mat could help to relieve some of the pain.

Following on from this initial research, the scientists involved in the study are also now calling for longer-term studies to really understand the full benefits for patients.

So what is Yoga?

Yoga, stemming from the Sanskrit work ‘yuj’ to yoke or join, yoga aims to “coordinate the breath, mind and body to encourage balance, both internally and externally,” according to the British Wheel of Yoga. Yoga is a practical philosophy and a system of asanas (postures), promoting physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. It is an effective antidote to the stresses of modern lifestyle and encourages a fit and supple body. Yoga is a ‘science of the mind’ and philosophical system that originated in India thousands of years ago.

A typical yoga class here in the UK will last between 60-90 minutes and you can find them at leisure centres, gyms and in local halls and community centres. Yoga is very accessible for all body shapes and ages and you really don’t need much equipment (or even shoes!) to give it a go.

Experiencing back pain?

If you are experiencing back pain why not try a yoga class near you, or call The Robin Kiashek Clinics for a consultation on 020 8815 0979.

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/01/12/yoga-key-relieving-long-term-back-pain-new-study-suggests/

Back in June, we posted an article describing The Dripping Tap Syndrome, which aims to explain the reason why many people visit an Osteopath.

This month we follow this up with a video blog from Robin explaining further what this means.

If you would like to speak to Robin about anything covered within this video or to discuss any symptoms you may have please contact the clinic on 0208 8815 0979.

sciatica_diagram [Converted]

Sciatica (or in layman’s terminology lumbago) is a common nerve pain, which is a symptom of an underlying condition that affects the back, hips and legs. It is characterised by a pain accompanied sometimes by pins & needles and/or numbness and/or weakness in the legs. Sometimes the pain affects both legs, and though it most commonly runs down the back of the legs, it can manifest at the front or side too. The cause of the symptoms is irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve.

What is the sciatic nerve?

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the human body, beginning at lower spinal region, running through the buttocks and extends right down the length of the leg to the feet. The symptoms (pain/pins & needles/numbness/weakness) can be felt either locally in the lower back or anywhere along the course of the sciatic nerve (as far as the feet). Other areas, including the genital region, can also be affected.

How do you get sciatica?

In most cases sciatica is caused by an irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, commonly a bulging disc in the lower (Lumbar) spine. Discs are very special shock-absorbing, cushioning tissue structures, which sit between the vertebrae (the bones that make up the spinal column). Structurally, discs can the thought of as having an inner soft core (nucleous pulposus) surrounded by tough circular outer fibres (nucleous fibrosus), the outer fibres holding in place the softer inner core. Typically, over a period of time, the outer surrounding fibres develop micro tears due to, for example, poor posture or overloading over a long period of time (see the June blog article ‘The Dripping Tap Syndrome’). Bearing in mind the lower spinal discs absorb most of the upper body weight, these micro fissures in the outer fibres begin to allow the inner soft core to bulge outwards through the tougher outer fibres, resulting in a ‘disc bulge’, which in turn can begin to impinge on the surrounding tissues, including the sciatic nerve (this scenario is commonly eroneously called a ‘trapped nerve’).

How is sciatica treated?

sciaticaHere at the Robin Kiashek Clinics we promote prevention, and have plenty of advice on keeping your spine healthy and pain-free (see our recent article ’10 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Spine’). However, if you are either experiencing symptoms, no matter how mild, or would like an assessment, an initial consultation should be considered. Robin will take a full case history followed by a clinical examination, which will provide you with a ‘working diagnosis’ of your situation.

You will get a care plan for your treatment, which may include a couple of follow up appointments, and you will get plenty of guidance on understanding pain, and will be given a strategy to move your recovery forward, including advice on exercise.

For more information on sciatica or to book an appointment with Robin, please call 020 8815 0979.

Western Medical Acupuncture is just one technique used by London Osteopath Robin Kiashek.

In this short video, Robin explains what this type of acupuncture is.

For more information on acupuncture please click here.

Here at Robin Kiashek Clinics we have been looking after patients with back pain and structural spinal problems for over twenty years. In some cases, pain is related to the way we are built but in others pain is present because of a recent or historical injury. Any pain is a signal that the body is out of balance and needs assistance in getting back to normal.

SONY DSC

At the Robin Kiashek Clinics, as well as treating acute pain when it occurs, we also aim to prevent problems in our patients before they take hold, so here is a list of 10 tips on how to look after your spine to ward off potentially debilitating problems.

Tip 1 – Rest Your Spine

We mean it! If you have suffered an injury or you are in acute pain, after seeing a specialist, ensure you thoroughly rest your spine. If there is swelling & inflammation, it will need time to go down and the tissue needs rest to recover.

Tip 2 – Wear Supportive Footwear

This might not be immediately obvious, or what you want to hear if you are a lover of high heels, but the plain truth is your footwear determines your posture. Your musculoskeletal structure is one system. Where one part is impacted it is felt elsewhere.

Tip 3 – Quit Smoking

This is not a big headline but it really should be. Nicotine and the general dehydration that goes along with smoking can adversely affect your spine. Also, in the same way that smoking affects blood vessels and circulation, it affects the vascular structures in your disks and joints. Many smokers suffer from lower back pain. It is no coincidence but backed up by research.

Tip 4 – Get a Massage

getty_rf_photo_of_hands_on_backMassage is good for so many aspects of your health. Primarily it helps increase endorphins – your body’s natural painkillers – that provide relief to sufferers of chronic pain. It helps stimulate your circulation, bringing a good blood supply to the affected area, and it improves your lymphatic drainage system helping your body combat disease.

Tip 5 – Limit Sitting Time

This is rather hard if you have a desk job, but you can combat stiffness and aches by regularly getting up from your desk and having a walk around, ensuring you get outside for part of your lunch break. Some people swear by standing desks. If at home, using advert breaks to get up and potter about for 5 minutes, or setting a simple kitchen timer for 45mins to remind you to move, could help you. Any movement and activity is good.

Tip 6 – Have an Ergonomic Workspace

Taking a little time in planning where and how to position your seat, your keyboard and screen or other things on your desk or workspace, can really save your back from straining and twisting. If you spend a lot of time shackled to a phone, for instance, it makes sense to give some thought to positioning essential tools or supplies.

Tip 7 – Practice Good Posture

Whether standing or sitting, try and be aware of your spine’s position. Stand with feet a comfortable width apart and try to hold your tummy in, elongating your spine if you can. When sitting, try to sit up, and if necessary, use a lower back support to help the natural curve in your back to stay in position. Knees bent at right angles and feet flat on the floor should also help steady your posture and support your spine. It’s surprising how we forget such a simple thing!

Tip 8 – Get Comfortable in Bed

Sleep will elude you if you are not comfortable in bed at night. Ask yourself if you need any extra support (maybe a cushion under your knees or between our knees if you sleep on your side) to take the pressure off your hips or lower back? Are you getting enough support from your pillow or mattress? Even things as basic as temperature and atmosphere can affect your sleep and whether you feel pain or not.

Tip 9 – Hydration, Nutrition and Weight

Drinking plenty of water is essential, whether you have a health complaint or not. Eating right also makes the difference in the speed at which you can bounce back from pain and injury. Particularly for people with any joint or muscle pain, sufficient hydration helps lubricate the joints and eating regular, well balanced meals means good lubrication of joints and disks, and nutrition reaching the parts of the body that are struggling. Excess weight puts unnecessary pressure on already beleaguered bones and joints, and can delay recovery or prolong pain. Consider seeing a dietician if you struggle with nutrition or controlling your weight.

Tip 10 – Stay Active and Exercise Your Core

As long as you aren’t in severe pain and have the green light to walk or exercise, try to do as much as you can manage, especially if your specialist has given you particular exercises to practice. If you are able to go to classes at the gym or are fortunate enough to have a personal trainer, depending on your level of fitness, you can hone in on core strength exercises to strengthen the muscles of your abdomen and back, and also your legs. This will support your spine and take the pressure off your lower back. Ensure your instructor is qualified to help you and always make them aware of your condition.

Be it a herniated disk or muscle strain, only a thorough examination by an experienced specialist can reveal the kind of pain it is, and consequently, how to treat it. At The Robin Kiashek Clinics we can offer the very best care and all that Robin’s vast experience can offer. Requesting a consultation is easy – click here to enter your details.

Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is a technique used by London Osteopath Robin Kiashek.

In this short video, Robin explains what low level laser therapy is and what it can be used to treat.

For more information on Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) please click here.

There are a number of questions I am frequently asked when I tell people I am an Osteopath. These generally go along the lines of “what do you actually do”, “how are you different from a Chiropractor” or “what can you treat?” Conversationally these questions are easier to answer, however this printed article has a finite word count. So in this instance I will direct you to my website www.robinkiashek.co.uk where not only these questions, but a multitude of others, are answered.

So why do people most commonly need an Osteopath?

london osteopath w1 n2 n10For me, within a clinical setting, I like to use the analogy of ‘The Dripping Tap Syndrome’. People will often have a small twinge or niggle of pain (a dripping tap over a glass scenario) which progressively starts to irritate that little bit more frequently (the glass starts to fill up). This can be over a period of weeks, months or even years. The analogical drip ultimately starts happening more often until eventually the final drop causes the glass to overflow and the patient experiences a significant increase in pain (commonly known as ‘acute’ pain). This ‘final drop’ can be an everyday event – maybe a sneeze, bending forward, a certain slight move etc

People come to me when the glass has overflowed. And my job is not only to turn it off, but to then understand why the tap was dripping in the first place. And the underlying reasons can sometimes be multifactorial – both on a physical level and sometimes emotional

How Can an Osteopath Help?

Assuming that someone has an issue which I can help, be that chronic or acute pain, sciatica, workplace injuries, sporting injuries or migraine, there is a very common set of three questions people ask me:

  1. What’s happening? (which is often a subtext for is it something more serious which I may not survive)
  2. How long will it take to fix?
  3. Will it come back?

A Holistic Approach to Health

Physiotherapist massaging patientUltimately I take a holistic approach to any health issue and, to go back to the analogy, find out why that dripping tap first occurred. As somebody who has undertaken extensive training from Osteopathy and Naturopathy, Post graduate studies in NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP)/Life Coaching, Western Acupuncture, The Perrin Technique for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Low Level Laser Therapy.

Stopping the drip is normally the relatively straightforward part of what I do. When it comes to preventing it from recurring this is where I need to understand the individual patient’s causative factors and working alongside them, help reduce the probability of a re-occurrence.

We both want the same goal, the patient to be happy and pain free. And by working together that is a more likely outcome.

To find out more about working with me in North or Central London please call 020 8815 0979. Alternatively you can request an appointment directly through our website here: https://www.robinkiashek.co.uk//request-an-appointment/

It is most certainly the case for osteopaths in Central London and North London such as myself, that it’s becoming much more common place to be working alongside GP’s and other healthcare professionals to provide private treatment by way of referrals.

Bodies such as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend osteopathy as a source of manual therapy and treatment for lower back pain, while and the Department of Health has published specific guidelines that advocate osteopathy as an effective treatment for musculoskeletal problems in patients.

The NHS, GPs and consultants recognise the value that osteopathy can bring to people in pain, resulting in our services being referred by a number of doctors in and around London, who have been kind enough to also give us testimonials. Here are three such glowing testimonials…

“I have been a patient of Robin Kiashek and also referred many of my patients. The consensus of all of us is that he has been a committed, thoughtful and wise osteopath who has also brought in other disciplines and approaches to his work to achieve an even greater chance of benefit.”

Dr Michael Gormley, General Practitioner, The Basil Street Practice, London.

“Over the years I have referred a number of patients to Robin. I have always received very positive feedback. He has a holistic approach to treatment and is genuinely interested in helping his clients to gain a long term solution to their problems. He is very professional. His excellent communication skills form the basis of his clinical assessments. His treatments are skilful, thorough and effective. I would be happy to recommend Robin. The clinic facilities are of a high standard and are quiet and relaxing.”

Mr Ron Miller MS FRCS FRGS Consultant Urological Surgeon, St Johns & Elizabeth Hospital, London

“Robin Kiashek is my ‘go-to’ osteopath for my complex patients with neck and back problems. He combines excellent clinical care, effective treatment and a friendly approachable manner. He always communicates well with patients and the referring specialist. I would strongly recommend him to anyone in search of a first class osteopath.”

Dr Paul Jarman, Consultant Neurologist, The National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London

If your health insurance covers osteopathy, some insurance companies will require you to be referred by a doctor first before receiving osteopathic treatment. You can ask to be referred to a specific practitioner if you so desire.

As a registered Osteopath based in North London and Central London, I aim to work with patients to address their presenting symptoms and understand causative factors to promote ongoing health. With over 20 years experience in London of Osteopathy and allied therapies, I offer safe, gentle and effective treatment for a wide age range of patients and conditions. All referrals are welcome.