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Dr. Łukasz Kmieciak says that whoever loves his profession never goes to work. He specializes in the treatment of pain. In practice, it combines the knowledge of modern science with traditional Chinese medicine.

If traditional medicine is powerless against the patient's ailments, other techniques must be used - says Dr. Kmieciak, a neurologist. - Chronic pain is an unwanted passenger in our lives who has joined us. He teases us, tears the steering wheel from our hands, which makes the journey no longer pleasant and safe.

We know we won't get rid of it, but we can replant it to the last row where it will be less disturbing. At the same time, pain is not a homogeneous phenomenon. He is evolving. A good example to describe the escalation of pain is when a dog treads a path in the grass along the fence.

If he runs once, nothing will happen, but if he runs all the time, it will destroy the grass and stamp out the path. Even if we chase the dog away, the paths will remain for a long time. It's the same with pain. If we do not control acute pain, even if we remove its cause, the pathways that remain in the spinal cord for a long time will generate pain that we should not actually feel.

Last resort

Many patients come to Dr. Kmieciak, because pain has already robbed them of everything: he alth, joy of life, and often hope that it will stop hurting someday. From here it is very close to insomnia and depression. - I am most often contacted by patients with headaches and spine pains. A special group are seniors who struggle with pain resulting from degenerative and overload changes. This group is really hard to help because the spine cannot be replaced. But I'm always looking for the best solution. When I recommend medications, I need to know if the elderly person lives alone or is cared for, as some pills make you dizzy. Sometimes I use acupuncture. It does not completely remove the pain, but - as the patients say - it soothes it enough that they forget about it, are more agile and function better.

Way to the Far East

After the fifth year of studies, Dr. Łukasz Kmieciak went to Taiwan for summer internships, where he worked in the surgical ward of a very modern clinical hospital. It was there that he saw many patientsafter surgical or orthopedic operations, acupuncture is used. "When I was presented with the statistics, I was surprised," he recalls. - When using acupuncture treatments, many painkillers were used, so there were also fewer drug-related complications. Doctors in Taiwan showed me how to do it. I haven't learned everything, because it's not that simple, but I came back to Poland with the first models, books and the first acupuncture needles.

He knew, however, that if he wanted to take up acupuncture, he had to learn Chinese and go to study in China. He started taking lessons from a Chinese teacher. He also applied for a scholarship in China. The answer was no. "I went to ask why," she recalls. - The official with disarming frankness announced: "Because such a request from a medical student has not yet been with us." In the end, he capitulated and granted them to me for six months. After this time, I had to pass the exam, and as I did very well, I was approved for another six months. I was still learning the language, but I also went to the hospital, where I was allowed to first observe acupuncture treatments and then prick some patients. Time went by. Dr. Łukasz Kmieciak graduated from the Medical Academy, started doctoral studies and managed to qualify for a one-year postgraduate study at the University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Tianjin.

I combine methods and worlds

- In 90 percent of patients who come to me with pain, I use acupuncture treatments and that's enough - he says. - But it is not effective for everyone. I do acupuncture, but - for better results - I can always add a block to it. If a patient suffering from headaches comes to me, I try to look at this pain through the eye of Chinese medicine, where the headache is caused not in the head itself, but deeper, usually it is liver and stomach disorders - Dr. Kmieciak explains that, according to the Chinese, the liver becomes stagnant qi (energy that is a protective shield) due to bad emotions and stress. - If the headache is very severe, I use a blockade, but continue the treatment with acupuncture. Acupuncture has a neuromodulating effect on the transmission of pain, i.e. it changes the transmission of stimuli from the nerves to the spine and to the brain. Therefore, it can be used in the treatment of diseases that are accompanied by chronic pain.

- But that doesn't mean you should give up on painkillers, he says. - If drugs are ineffective, a neurological examination is necessary, sometimes an imaging test to show what you are dealing with. I recommend that patients exercise, heat or cold, depending on the duration of the injury. Heat accelerates tissue metabolism,they regenerate faster. In some cases, I use blockages followed by cryolysis (freezing), which turns off the nerve that conducts pain. After such surgery, the patient is pain-free for several months. The nerve does not get permanently damaged, it only turns off for a while. When the pain returns, as it happens, the treatment can be repeated.

Religion doesn't forbid

- Sometimes there come patients who do not want to use acupuncture because they say it conflicts with their Catholic faith, but none of them could explain why. I have tried to explore the subject, asked patients who are priests or religious, but they said there was no reason not to use this method of treatment. Acupuncture should be treated as one of the elements of the healing process. It is definitely not a panacea. When someone is severely injured in an accident, they become unconscious - acupuncture will not help them. We need to use the methods of Western medicine that work best in such situations. Acupuncture can be used in addition to surgery, pharmacology, physiotherapy and rehabilitation. That's how she should be treated. You should always choose the treatment methods that will bring the most benefits to the patient.

Two looks

In Western medicine, diseases are viewed in a slightly different way than in Chinese medicine. In Chinese medicine, the disease is due to our neglect. It is said here that everyone should take care of themselves, and if they do not care - disease appears. Yes, there are bacteria, viruses that attack us, contaminated food, etc. The Chinese believe, however, that a strong organism can cope with even strong toxins or virus attacks. Therefore, in the culture of this nation, daily gymnastics, proper nutrition and preventive medical check-ups are extremely important. In Western medicine, it is often believed that the disease is due to the negligence of a doctor. We do not recognize, or perhaps we do not know, that the way of life, what we eat, how much we sleep, how much we work, has an impact on the condition of our body, which weakens from overwork and begins to fall ill.

- The Chinese focus on prophylaxis - explains Dr. Kmieciak. - In our country, however, little time and attention is paid to it, which is a pity, because we are the forge of our own fate. We often excuse ourselves with genetic burdens. Yes, they do exist, but this is not always enough for the development of a disease or a malfunction of the body. There must be other factors that will influence the development of the disease. Usually it is stress, poisoning with toxins, drugs, inappropriate food. And yet here we can choose.

According to an expertDr. Łukasz Kmieciak, a specialist in neurology

Dr. Łukasz Kmieciak a specialist in neurology, dealing withtreatment of pain, the only doctor in Poland, belonging to the American Society for Interventional Treatment of Headaches.

  • As a child, I wanted to be…

A doctor, like my mother. She came home late from work each day, but I could see the joy that helping people gave her.

  • My three favorite books are …

The first books that I read with the greatest passion are those by Erich von Daeniken, who claimed that once we were helped by an alien civilization. Another one is "Apophtegmas of the Desert Fathers" - reflections on existence. My third favorite is "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki, which teaches how to deal with the economy today.

  • My mentors during my studies and during my first years of work were …

The biggest influence on me was: prof. Jan Czernicki, my doctorate supervisor; dr Aleksander Niewodniczy, first head of the specialization; prof. Piotr Woźniak, a guide to the world of acupuncture. In China, my mentor and authority was my friend, the late Prof. Liu Gong Wang.

  • The most important thing for a doctor is …

Developing, loving what you do. Enthusiasts strive for professional development.

  • A good doctor should…

Listen to the patient. There is also a Chinese proverb: A good doctor helps 9 out of 10 patients, a very good doctor helps 6 out of 10. Why? Because the first one heals only those whom he can certainly help - then successes are more frequent. The second one tries to help everyone, even those in a hopeless situation.

  • After work, most willingly …

I recover best during survival trips with my sons Ernest and Norbert. We have a group of fathers with children and we spend weekends together in difficult conditions, e.g. in the winter in the forest in a self-built shelter.

  • In life I try to be…

Optimist. Look to the future with hope, give thanks for what I have, wait for what fate will bring. And act according to the principle: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

  • I don't tolerate at work …

Whining, pessimism, looking for bad intentions. You have to look at life realistically, but whining and gossiping are unnecessary.

  • If he had not become a doctor, I would have been…

By remote control. So far, I haven't been able to complete the pilot course, but maybe I can do it yet.

monthly "Zdrowie"

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