Quite simply, Pilates helped give me my life back.
Five years ago at our vacation home in Coronado, CA I awoke one night and discovered I could not move without excruciating back pain. I had to crawl on the floor just to get to the bathroom that night, and my husband had to assist me on the plane for our return flight to Houston.
After seeing a series of doctors and specialists it was discovered that I had degenerative disc disease and stenosis of the spine. Basically, I had a disc in my back that was eroding and almost gone, causing that area in my spine to go “bone on bone”. Not fun.
Unfortunately surgery was not an option for me. I have been a Rheumatoid arthritis sufferer for over 22 years. An amazing drug therapy has allowed me to live without the pain of that condition, but it took me out of the running as a candidate for surgery. I was going to have to find alternative ways to stop the pain in my spine.
I tried pain medication and additional drug therapy. I tried acupuncture. I tried massage. I tried chiropractors. All of these allowed me to have some minimal form of functionality, but I was still in pain and wasn’t able to live my life the way I wanted to or do the things I wanted to do. I was getting desperate.
I had taken Pilates mat classes and a few Reformer classes before, but when my athletic club closed permanently, I decided to try private Pilates instruction. This is when my dramatic recovery began. In 2006, I started taking Pilates with Hilary Opheim, now the owner of Washington Avenue Pilates in Houston. The results have been startling. Little by little I began feeling better. After three years with Hilary I have no back pain and full range of motion. I really think the full-body principles of the Pilates exercises gave me a stronger, more balanced musculature that better supports my back as well as the rest of my body.
I haven’t taken a look at an X-ray of my back recently so I don’t know exactly what has transpired. All I know is that I do not have any pain as long as I do Pilates. So you can bet I’m going to keep doing it. For anyone out there suffering from a back malady I strongly suggest you talk to your doctor or PT about a Pilates-based rehab program. It worked wonders for me and it can do the same for you!
Sandra Williams does Pilates at Washington Ave. Pilates in Houston, TX.
Has Pilates changed your life? Are you an instructor with a great client success story? We’d love to hear from you.