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  • Nikki Robinson 7:40 pm on March 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , arthroscopy, cancelled operation, hip replacement, , pain, surgery   

    Has your operation been cancelled? 

    Cancelled op? What can you do?

    You may have seen the recent article by BBC reporter Nick Triggle which states that thousands of people in England are in “pain and discomfort” because their planned operations have been cancelled.

    One of the main reasons for the cancellations is to enable NHS staff to provide extra beds and try to keep up with the resources required by the additional demand on A&E during the winter months. The spells of snowy and icy weather haven’t helped!

    The NHS Trust local to Holisticare hasn’t escaped this effect with Princess Alexandra Hospital missing its January target of 92% of patients having planned operations and care waiting less than 18 weeks. The hospital met the target in December 2017 but this dropped to 89.3% in January (this is better than England’s average of 88.2%).

    The Royal College of Surgeons said that hip and knee surgeries were worst affected and overall there were 62,289 fewer planned operations carried out from November 2017 to January 2018 than in the same period the year before.

    If you’ve been left waiting, in pain and discomfort, possibly getting worse and still with an unknown date for your operation we may be able to help your body while you wait. Our gentle and effective therapy is suitable for people of all ages and can be adapted for anyone, whether you have a recent injury or have complex problems that you have been living with for years.

    Holisticare can help you relax, ease body tension, help to ease aches and pains and provides a safe, calm environment. If that’s what your mind and body are asking for ring us today to book your appointment.

  • Nikki Robinson 12:16 pm on October 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: falls, , , osteoporosis, pain, , prevention   

    How to avoid falls 

    elderly falling in bathroom because slippery surfaces

    The Holisticare team have been talking a lot about falls recently. The reasons for this are because the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Saga and Public Health England have produced a leaflet called “Get Up and Go” (pick one up from Reception); the seasons have changed and the nights and weather are changing; we’ve seen an increase in patients needing our help after suffering an injury through falling and World Osteoporosis Day was on Friday 20th October.

    Osteoporosis affects over 3 million people in the UK with more than 500,000 needing hospital treatment for osteoporosis fractures every year. Worldwide it causes 9 million fractures annually. In 1996 the National Osteoporosis Society set up World Osteoporosis Day and the International Osteoporosis Foundation took it on in 1998. The aim is to raise public awareness about bone health and fracture prevention advice to more than two billion people.

    Osteoporosis weakens bones gradually, developing over several years and is often only diagnosed when a minor fall or sudden impact causes a bone fracture. Injuries can happen to any bone but the most common are the wrist, hip and vertebrae. Taking regular exercise, eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, not smoking and keeping alcohol consumption to sensible levels can all help to prevent osteoporosis. If you have, or suspect you have, osteoporosis please let your therapist know.

    Older people are more vulnerable and more likely to fall particularly if they have a long-term health condition but anyone can fall and hurt themselves. Approximately 1 in 3 adults over 65 who live at home will have at least one fall a year. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy says that half of people who fall will fall again in the next 12 months.

    There are many risk factors for falling. These include lack of physical activity, long term health conditions such as heart disease and low blood pressure, other health issues such as balance problems, muscle weakness, poor vision surgery, trauma, advancing age, environmental hazards like dim light, certain types of flooring particularly when wet and loose rugs, everyday activity such as going downstairs particularly if carrying something, reaching up for things, getting up to go to the toilet especially in the night, and previous falls.

    Injuries from falls are many and varied. A slip and fall tends to result in falling backwards, while a trip and fall ends with falling forwards. The direction you fall can influence the type and severity of your injuries. As well as physical injuries, falls can cause people to lose confidence, become withdrawn and feel as if they’ve lost their independence.

    Cuts and abrasions, soft tissue injuries and fractures and breaks are all common in falls. The most frequent areas to be hurt are wrists, backs, shoulders, knees and hips with pelvis and neck not far behind. Pulled muscles, torn or sprained ligaments and tendons can feel as painful as a break. Falls can even cause whiplash. Lower back damage can also result in numbness and tingling in the legs and feet often by a herniated disc or a compression fracture in the vertebrae. Hip and pelvic fractures are often problematic with most people over 65 not returning to completely independent living after a fracture.

    At Holisticare, we work with our patients and their carers to prevent falls by:
    • Identifying patients who are at risk of falling
    • Treating the patient to reduce pain, stiffness and swelling
    • Devising a personal exercise programme to improve strength, balance and mobility
    • Gait re-education to improve safety and confidence
    • Teaching the patient how to safely get up from the ground
    • Assessing risks in the home and other environments
    • Referring the patient to other professionals as required
    • Liaising with family, carers and other professionals involved in the care of at risk patients
    • Teaching carers how to safely assist the patient

    Each person will have a different history and risks, and therefore the specific treatment and advice given will be individual to that patient.

    Any specific falls assessment, exercises and advice will be given by one of our Physiotherapists, but the hands-on Myofascial Release treatment may be carried out by any of our therapists.

    Patients may be referred by their family or another health professional particularly for our falls prevention advice and treatment. All our therapists are also continually assessing their patients and if they are concerned, they will speak to the patient (and carer when appropriate) about how we can help.

    This service is provided as part of our usual charging structure, based on time, and does not have a set price. This is because we do not know in advance how much treatment will be needed, and we see our Myofascial Release treatment as integral to falls prevention.

    If you would like to find out more about how we can help you or someone that you know to prevent falls, please call us on 01279 718331.

  • Nikki Robinson 10:27 am on September 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: chronic pain, fatigue, fibromyalgia, lady gaga, , pain,   

    5 ways Lady Gaga could help ease the symptoms that have forced her to cancel her tour dates 

    Lady Gaga has been in the news recently, after she revealed the reason for cancelling concert dates. In her documentary, she talks about how she has been suffering from Fibromyalgia.

    Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions in the world, affecting an estimated 3-6% of the world’s population (200-400 million people). Around 80% of those suffering are women.

    Symptoms are mainly pain, extreme fatigue, tenderness around the body, sleep problems, headaches and IBS. But often people have a range of problems that vary from day to day.

    Lastest research by American Neuroscientist Dr Frank L Rice has found that sufferers have an excessive number of nerve fibres called arteriole-venule (AV) shunts. It is thought that these cause a lot of the symptoms. Every cell in your body is connected by a continuous web of connective tissue, which tightens in response to trauma, surgery, stress and ongoing poor posture. If these restrictions are causing tension around the AV shunts, the nerve fibres will become irritated, leading to pain and altered blood flow

    Myofascial Release is a gentle hands-on treatment that was developed by American Physiotherapist John Barnes. The technique allows the therapist to work with your body and mind to untangle the restrictions that cause pain, tension and inflammation, relieving the irritation on the nerve fibres and easing the symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

    5 Tips to help ease your Fibromyalgia symptoms

    1. Drink plenty of water: you are made up of 70% water, so dehydration affects every cell and connective tissue fibre in your body
    2. Breathe properly: most of us breathe from the tops of our lungs, rather than using our diaphragms to fill our lungs completely. Improving your breathing technique helps your cells to receive enough oxygen.
    3. Follow your body: it’s ok to rest when you have had enough! By stopping the activity that is aggravating your symptoms, you will enable your body to settle down before everything flares up.
    4. Posture: have a look at how you are spending most of your day. Your body will become the shape it is put into, so by making changes to computer screens, desk chairs, etc, you will be able to relax more easily.
    5. Find a Myofascial Release therapist to assess you and advise on the best course of treatment to help your symptoms.

    Nikki Robinson is one of the top Myofascial Release Physiotherapists in Europe. Contact her at http://www.holisticare.co.uk or nikki@holisticare.co.uk

  • Nikki Robinson 10:18 am on May 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 10k, achilles tendonitis, back, , , itb, , , pain, , plantarfasciitis, road race, running, shin splints, training   

    Keep on Running 

    Hatfield Broad Oak’s annual 10k Road Race and 1 Mile Fun Run are on Bank Holiday Monday on 29th May. This is the 32nd year that the race has been held and it’s one of the most popular 10k races for serious and casual runners alike. It’s open to runners aged 15 and over and approximately 1500 runners take part every year. The 1 Mile Fun Run is for younger runners and their friends and family.

    It is a great event and the participants are in their final weeks of preparation. Preparation is extremely important because it’s estimated that almost 80% of runners worldwide are injured every year. At Holisticare we can help you to be ready for the run (though we won’t be running alongside you in your training runs!) and we can also help your body recover afterwards.

    Runner’s World magazine says that 10k is the UK’s most popular race distance. 10k is about 6.2 miles so it’s great for those who are building up their strength and endurance towards a half marathon or a full marathon but it’s also great for the more casual runner who possibly has less time to commit to training but still wants a reasonable length run as a challenge.

    They recommend that if you’re a first-time 10k runner you should increase your training distance gradually but about ¼ to ½ a mile at a time and UK runner Jo Pavey says to run at your own pace, take rest days and if you’ve got a niggle delay what you’re doing for a day, don’t just push through it. If you’ve got a target to achieve or beat a specific time then US Olympic runner and 10k record holder, Galen Rupp, advises varying your training practice to include runs at target pace, a little slower and a little faster.

    Female runner knee injury and pain.

    Five of the most common ailments and injuries that runners are prone to are:
    • Runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome – PFPS) – pain slightly above or below the kneecap
    • Achilles tendonitis – pain and swelling on the back of your heel
    • Plantarfasciitis – pain in the heel or underside of your foot
    • Iliotibial band syndrome – a pain-giving injury to the connective tissues – the iliotibial band which is a thick band that begins at the iliac crest in the pelvis, runs down the outer part of the thigh, and crosses the knee to attach into the top part of the shinbone
    • Shin Splints (medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) – a cumulative stress disorder, with shins that feel hot and pain along the inner edge of the shin bone even while resting.

    Other injuries common to runners are sprains, pulled muscles, blisters and getting a stitch. Most of these are caused by repeated stress on the bones, muscles and joints as you run on the hard surface of a road or track. Holisticare therapists can help reduce your risk of injury in your training and the race and then bring your body back to comfort after the run. We assess your posture and look at any movements that are restricted by pain or stiffness then use the John F. Barnes Myofascial Release technique to realign your body, soothe pain, release restrictions in the fascia and improve your flexibility and range of movement.

    If you, or someone you know, are planning to join the HBO 10k Road Race, make an appointment with us for before and after the race so that you can keep on running!

  • Nikki Robinson 6:24 pm on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: exercise, , , pain, , spring, warm up   

    Spring is the time of plans and projects 

    Tolstoy wrote that “spring is the time of plans and projects” and once the clocks go back, the sun comes out and Easter is here we, as a nation, head out into the garden to begin the next year of plans and prainbowrojects – and by the time school summer term begins we’re aching and nursing a pulled muscle or a strain. But Holisticare patients need not suffer!

    “Country Living” magazine quotes a survey that shows 69% of UK adults aged over 45 have experienced physical pain from gardening. The British College of Osteopathic Medicine say that their clinics see a huge surge in injuries, strains and sprains in the spring months. They put this down to people not preparing themselves properly for working in the garden. They equate it to an elite athlete taking a break then going straight into competition. So many of us are more sedentary over the winter months and when the days brighten we go all out, don’t pace ourselves properly, mow the lawn, dig the whole allotment, weed all the flower beds, tidy the trees…and end up with a strain or an injury.

    Of the garden equipment we use, the lawnmower is, unsurprisingly, the most dangerous. Second on the list is the flowerpot! Flowerpots are involved in approximately 5300 accidents and injuries a year with strains and sprains from lifting them as a significant factor. Backs, knees and shoulders tend to suffer the most. Think of the motions your body goes through. Backs have to put up with repetitive jarring, pulling, bending and twisting. Prolonged kneeling can aggravate the knees and increase the risk of bursitis (an inflammation of the small fluid filled sacs in your joints) because of the pressure as well as the repetitive strain which causes pain and swelling. Shoulders are the other garden injury hotspot. The shoulder is a complicated structure in order to allow the large range of vertical, horizontal and circular arm movements. This is perfect for lopping branches, trimming hedges and any other job above waist height but if the top bone of the shoulder rubs against the muscles or bursas you’re left with irritation, pain and inflammation. The neck, wrist, hip and elbow joints can also be affected and then of course there are all your muscles.

    Holisticare therapists can help you if you find yourself in pain after gardening. You knew that already so here’s the clever bit! Myofascial Release Treatment can help to prepare your body to be in the best shape it can be before you start! This will help you withstand these extra pressures and if you do still hurt yourself you’ll already have a head start on recovery. If you suffer from conditions such as, or similar to, arthritis, back, neck or muscle pain, or tennis and golfer’s elbow, preparation is particularly important.

    Gardening is exercise so it’s important to warm up. Watch our video on YouTube and let Nikki guide you with safe, gentle stretching techniques so you can reduce your risk of damage and injury. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6FxnxP4ghc . If you have ideas for other videos that would help you please let us know.

    Now is the time to book yourself in with us to prepare for your plans and projects and put a spring in your step! Call 01279 718331 to make an appointment and remember we are open Monday-Saturday and on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

  • Nikki Robinson 10:57 pm on March 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: endometriosis, endometriosis awareness week, gynaecology, help for endometriosis, , international women's day, , pain, period pain, , women's health   

    A Focus on Women’s Health 

    Last Wednesday, 8th March was International Women’s Day, and the week from Friday 3rd to Thursday 9th was Endometriosis Awareness Week so for this blog we are looking at women’s health with a focus on endometriosis.

    The main aims of the awareness week are:

    • to increase awareness and understanding of endometriosis as a debilitating disease
    • to highlight the consequences of living with endometriosis
    • to raise the profile of endometriosis amongst medics, educators, employers, politicians, and society in general
    • to highlight the need for best practice and consistent care for sufferers
    • to enable those affected by endometriosis to make a difference.

    So what is endometriosis? The answer given to this question rather depends on who you ask.

    A family doctor might say it’s a long term chronic condition and its symptoms can vary significantly from none to one, or a combination of, painful, heavy periods,                                                    pain in the abdomen, pelvis or lower back, infertility, fatigue, suppressed immune system, pain during and after sex, bleeding between periods, discomfort when going to the toilet, bleeding from the rectum and blood in the faeces.

    A statistician might tell you that it is a condition that affects around 2 million women in the UK, most of whom are diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 40. It is rare in women who have had their menopause. 1 in 10 women of reproductive age and 176 million women worldwide suffer from it. It’s the 2nd most common gynaecological condition in the UK (http://www.endometriosis.org).

    We asked two women from Bishop’s Stortford who have the disease to describe their experiences. This is what they had to say.

    M said, “Endometriosis isn’t just “period pains”. It’s being sick at work pain, it’s fainting on your commute pain, it’s can’t-leave-the-house pain, so bad it gives you diarrhoea. It’s 14 operations by the time you’re 35. None of it is normal, but how do you know when every woman is different? If you think your periods aren’t quite right, trust your instincts and get help.”
    J said, “There is nothing can help with chronic fatigue, it feels like you spend your days going through a mind fog! Nobody can see what is going on inside so you either spend your bad days putting on an outward smile to hide the pain you are actually suffering or you give in to it & people wonder what you are complaining about. It would be easier if you could outwardly show the mess that you have inside. I dread the symptoms coming back but sadly I know this is inevitable. Contrary to what people think they know, there is no absolute cure.


    3D illustration of Hip Skeleton, medical concept.

    I have tried acupuncture, reflexology, mindfulness, detoxed my beauty products & household products & followed an Endo friendly diet to help. I found heat pads & hot baths always helped too. I have had cocktails of pain meds throughout including naproxen (anti inflammatory), codeine & paracetamol (together with laxido to counteract the side effects) & oral morphine for flair ups or exacerbated periods. After surgery I was given physio which helped. I went to A&E on a couple of awful occasions when I could not get on top of the pain & was given a drip & stronger opiates. But this only lasted until sent home again.

    I was not offered the therapies or advice for these on the NHS, only through self research & our local Endometriosis UK support group. Nobody looks at the bigger picture & combines all the therapies together. It has been a frustrating journey! One of the things I have never had is a referral for pain management!”

    A Myofascial Release Therapist will say many of the things written above. At Holisticare our therapists will also advise that no, we can’t cure it but we can help you to manage and reduce your pain, tension and anxiety that comes with this disease enabling you to need fewer drugs. We can teach you methods to continue your treatment at home. If you have surgery we can help you to recover faster. We can liaise with your medical team to increase your circle of care.

    Please go to the Women’s Health section of our website http://www.holisticare.co.uk to see which other women’s health conditions we can help with or call us on 01279 718331.

  • Nikki Robinson 9:09 am on February 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: help, , nobrainer, pain, , treatment   

    It’s a no brainer! 

    Monday 27 February is No Brainer Day! You’re probably as surprised as we were to find this exists but it’s true! This “holidate” was created by Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith (self-professed Premier Eventologist of America), through Washington DC’s Insight Magazine in August 1995. The special unofficial working holiday has apparently been increasing in popularity since then.

    There are conflicting theories about the origin of “no brainer”. Some say it originated sometime between 1975 and 1980 in engineering jargon in America. However, Carl Grubert used it in a cartoon in 1959! It certainly became more popular during the 1990s and 2000s.

    The term is used to describe a problem or question that allegedly has a very easy solution, requiring little effort or thought. So how easy does a no brainer have to be to qualify? Well, in a study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, neuroscientists found that the human brain can process images that have been flashed in front of the person for just 13 milliseconds. A no brainer is faster than that and is a decision or choice that is so easy that it requires no thinking at all!

    What, then, is the purpose of No Brainer Day?

    HeadIt is to remind us all that most things are simple and many of life’s daily problems have obvious and easy solutions. It allows us to stop over analysing things, second-guessing ourselves and to take it easy. Don’t sweat the small stuff! If you’ve got things to do which require analysis and heavy thinking, No Brainer Day isn’t the day to do them. Give your brain a mini vacation instead, it’s the brain’s special day for a rest.

    Take the day to relax and just be happy about its existence. If you absolutely can’t leave tricky problems for another day then that choice, in itself, is a no brainer celebration! See how easy it is?!


    At Holisticare we can make celebrating No Brainer Day even easier for you. How? Now that really IS a no brainer – book yourself a Myofascial Release Treatment appointment of course! Let us gently alleviate your pain, stiffness, anxiety, headaches and more in our calm, soothing environment. Jacina, Ali and Al look forward to your calls to book you in.

  • Nikki Robinson 10:25 am on February 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , pain, , , , , , ,   

    Mrs R’s Knee Replacement Journey – day 35 

    PURPLE_2LINEMrs R’s Knee Replacement Journey

    Mrs R had her left knee replaced 49 days ago. She is receiving at least 1 hour of Myofascial Release treatment every day at Holisticare for a few weeks.

    This is a record of her journey in her own words:

    Day after Mrs R’s thirty fourth treatment:

    “Did not sleep too well last night. No pain just slightly out of my routine so could not get off to sleep. I can now sleep on either side to sleep with no pain. Did my 1 mile this morning.

    I will be going home on Sunday – this will be after 36 days of intensive therapy from Nikki and 5 or 6 extra from Sally. I cannot believe how much I have progressed in the 7 weeks from the operation. In the beginning I never thought I was doing too good, but what I realized after about 3 weeks was that I was so much further forward than a lot of other people.

    The booklet the hospital gave me about the operation and after effects of the operation, says that between 6 and 12 weeks I might be climbing the stairs in a ‘normal’ way and I also might be walking 1/2 mile – 1 mile and maybe without my stick. Ha ha!

    So I really feel pretty pleased with my progress. I am seeing the surgeon on Monday so will do one last blog to let you know what he thinks. I’d like to think he will say that the MFR has really helped me to progress so quickly.”

    The video below shows Mrs R exercising on the pedals today.

    Please come back to tomorrow to see how Mrs R is progressing with her Myofascial Release treatment.

    Call us on 01279 718331 to book your treatment.

    We are open  Monday to Saturday, and till late on Tuesdays.

  • Nikki Robinson 9:21 pm on February 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , pain, , , , , ,   

    Mrs R’s Knee Replacement Journey – day 34 

    PURPLE_2LINEMrs R’s Knee Replacement Journey

    Mrs R had her left knee replaced 48 days ago. She is receiving at least 1 hour of Myofascial Release treatment every day at Holisticare for a few weeks.

    This is a record of her journey in her own words:

    Day after Mrs R’s thirty third treatment:

    “No paracetamol last night but slept really well. Had another treatment from Sally on my thigh, knee and down to my ankle. Walked 1/2 mile this morning and 1/2 mile this afternoon.

    My knee has been quite sore today, so took 2 paracetamol about 3pm and they seemed to have calmed my knee down.

    Nikki has been measuring how far my knee bends every day, and I am pleased to say that it reached 105 degrees tonight. It was only bending to 50 degrees when I arrived, so I am very happy with the progress it has made.

    Please come back to tomorrow to see how Mrs R is progressing with her Myofascial Release treatment.

    Call us on 01279 718331 to book your treatment.

    We are open  Monday to Saturday, and till late on Tuesdays.

  • Nikki Robinson 5:49 pm on February 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , pain, , , , ,   

    Mrs R’s Knee Replacement Journey – day 33 

    PURPLE_2LINEMrs R’s Knee Replacement Journey

    Mrs R had her left knee replaced 47 days ago. She is receiving at least 1 hour of Myofascial Release treatment every day at Holisticare for a few weeks.

    This is a record of her journey in her own words:

    Day after Mrs R’s thirty second treatment:

    “No paracetamol at all last night or all day today, still slept really well.

    Did my 1 mile walk again today, still no stick. Just uncomfortable after walk, so did exercises and stretches to help get rid of pain.

    Another treatment from Nikki tonight, just working on the outside of my knee and scar also now. Still feeling quite tired in the afternoon even though I am sleeping really well at night.”

    Please come back to tomorrow to see how Mrs R is progressing with her Myofascial Release treatment.

    Call us on 01279 718331 to book your treatment.

    We are open  Monday to Saturday, and till late on Tuesdays.

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