Updated: Nov 1, 2022
How Pilates changed the way I move through life.
I was diagnosed with mild scoliosis (around 15°) at age 12. At the time it didn't warrant any intervention and it didn't stop me from remaining active (hiking, swimming, cheerleading, musical theatre, pole vaulting, hurdles, running – yes, I'll give anything a go).
After nearly a decade of doing 'desk work,' I started to experience back pain that was so debilitating I couldn't stand or sit for long periods of time. I even found myself bowing out of many social situations because I knew I couldn't withstand the length of time I'd likely be standing or sitting.
I had an x-ray and MRI done in 2019 which showed that the degree of curvature in my lumbar (lower back) had increased to 38°!
Although the x-ray paints a pretty stark picture, especially with a bit of degeneration and arthritis between the discs, the orthopaedic surgeon said I could still lead a normal life. It surprised me because I really thought he would say there was neural damage or disc problems that required surgery - in fact there were none. I just needed to build up strength around my core.
My osteopath at the time recommended Pilates for core strength. As a yogi I was sceptical, but I have never looked back. Although it has taken time, my core and postural muscles provide me with a good scaffolding to keep the spinal degeneration at bay and live pain-free. I've even been able to add running back into my routine which I never thought would happen!
If you're suffering from back pain, I can completely empathise. It can be debilitating and stop you from doing things you love. The good news is there is light at the end of the tunnel with strength work and gentle movement.
I did give up my 'desk job' to become a Pilates teacher, however improvement can be seen by practicing Pilates a few times a week and peppering in gentle movement every day. The more frequently you practice, the quicker you'll see improvement.
In the words of Joseph Pilates - You're only as young as your spine is flexible.
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