Fed up of aches and pains? I get it…
Do you ever feel like bursting into tears because you just don’t want to be in pain any more? You’ve been struggling with it for weeks, months, years on end, seemingly persistently, and you simply want rid of it now. You’ve tried everything under the sun, spent thousands on medical and holistic treatments that simply haven’t worked for you and now you’re at a loose end as to what to do. Surely this can’t be forever?
Well let me reassure you, I quite literally feel your pain.
I’m currently 29 weeks pregnant and have felt dreadful throughout…nausea, vomiting, extreme fatigue…you name it, I’ve had it, day and night with little if no reprieve at any time. I’ve tried everything under the sun to try and alleviate some of my symptoms…acupuncture, reflexology, anti-sickness wrist bands, changing my diet, resting, taking prescribed medication, taking supplements…the list is endless but nothing seems to have worked. (Thankfully I know that there is definitely one solution…and that’s having the baby, but in the meantime, life isn’t fun!)
The other week, to save both my sanity and that of my partner’s, I decided to go for a walk in the hopes that it might change my ideas. Whilst I enjoyed time out of the house, towards the end of my walk I started feeling pain in my lower back, the same pain I battled for years between the age of 18 and 28. All the negative thoughts and emotions that I associated with this pain during that time suddenly came flooding back to me. The sheer panic and fear I felt at the thought of having to battle this relentless pain again left me inconsolable.
I first hurt my back during my university degree in which I majored in Dance and Biology. I had pushed my body to the limit in ways it wasn’t designed to move and it started telling me it couldn’t cope with it any longer. During uni I didn’t think I had enough money to get it seen to but this was probably one of the biggest mistakes I made…leaving it too long before doing anything about it.
Post uni, I was still battling persistent pain. There wasn’t a day that went by when I didn’t feel plagued by it on a permanent basis. It stopped me doing all the activities I love to do including dance, which was devastating. I finally decided to take matters into my own hands and seek medical advice. After numerous MRI scans (which showed a bulging disc in my lower back), taking pain killers and months of visits to the physio, osteo, cranial osteo, chiro, acupuncturist, hydrotherapist etc I was still no further forwards. Until I stumbled upon Pilates.
Now don’t ask me how I stumbled across Pilates because I don’t actually remember. All I do recall is feeling totally overwhelmed at my first session, by now so worried about moving in case I exacerbated my pain or aggravated my injury. Thankfully my instructor was extremely patient with me, fully empathetic to my needs and concerns because she too had struggled with similar just a few years prior.
But let me tell you, it wasn’t a quick fix, by any means. First of all I had to get over my inbuilt protection mechanism called fear of movement, which took months. Only then could I start working on deconstructing, to reconstruct, all my incorrect movement strategies and start realigning my skeleton to improve the way my joints and muscles moved. I remember coming out of some Pilates classes in more pain than I went in. But one thing was certain, I wasn’t going to give up as this felt like the only resource left available to me. Added to which, I enjoyed being encouraged to move again in a safe environment where I soon understood that risk of further damage was relatively slim, even if I did often feel more sore after a session than before.
Slowly but surely I did start to notice differences in my pain levels and I even started having days when I considered my pain much more manageable. Eventually, I started back at the gym and began incorporating more activity into my every day life, something which I never thought would be possible.
Thanks to Pilates I now understand my body much better. I am more in tune with it and can better appreciate how it was designed to function efficiently, even if I am a long way from achieving that. But of course the path to recovery is never smooth. There have been numerous times when the pain has returned and quite violently so but what Pilates has done is provide me with the tools I need to better manage my pain on a daily basis so that I can remain in control of it, rather than it permanently controlling me.
And when I look back at the moments in my life when my pain has returned, it has often been associated with a period of time in which I let my Pilates practise slip. My ill health during pregnancy has meant that I haven’t been as regular in my Pilates attendance and so it’s no wonder that my back is suffering again, particularly given the added weight it now has to support.
But one thing I do know now, which I didn’t before, is that my pain isn’t forever. Unlike physio, osteo, chiro and other medical interventions, which I consider to be short term solutions to my problems, Pilates enables me to look after my body in a constructive way. After every session I know that I’ve brought my body that one step closer to moving in the way that it was designed, which in my head must mean that I’m not only reducing the wear and tear on it today but also in the future.
Is Pilates expensive…yes…but that’s because I choose to invest in private sessions, given my history, with an instructor who I completely trust, not just the cheapest one I could find down the road from me. I did try that once and it didn’t stand me in any good stead at all! But is it worth it…every penny…especially if it enables me to run after my little one when she’s born and continue to be as active as possible for the rest of my life.
So if you’re struggling like I did and want to find out more about Jessica Pilates and how we can help get you out of pain, please visit www.jessicapilates.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.