by Marjorie Cossar
A few years ago,when I was 63, I began to suffer back pain. I had regular sessions for about two years with an Osteopath who told me I had a Scoliosis, or curvature of the spine. Although her skill brought immediate relief after each appointment, the pain soon returned. On the Osteopath’s recommendation I saw a consultant at the RIE. After the x-rays, I had one shoe built up at the Orthotics Department as the Scoliosis was causing me to lean to one side, I also had Physiotherapy and Hydrotherapy. These sessions were very helpful but I felt I needed greater understanding of how to improve the muscles in order to support my back. I had heard that Pilates could help strengthen the core muscles and I felt this might be worth a try.
I have now been working with Karen as a one to one for about two months now and I have a much better understanding of how I must think about my Posture. She has explained and shown me how the muscles on one side of my body have weakened. I am working with her to try and balance this out. The exercises we work on are done with a focus on mind and body control and afterwards, although I feel I’ve had a workout, I feel stronger and more relaxed. I think this is the way forward for me and I must work hard at it, as the discomfort I have experienced for years and years has prevented me from enjoying so many interests. It seems sensible for me, or someone in a similar situation, to aim to try and minimise the discomfort rather than aggravate it by allowing my Scoliosis to take over.
I am age 24 and I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 15 and had an instrumental spinal fusion to stop the curve from getting worse. After getting my degree I secured a place on a competitive graduate scheme and was so excited to start but like many a desk-based role this had a negative effect on my back. I started to experience high-levels of pain and I learned a great deal about my condition through working with doctors and physiotherapists. Everyone recommended Pilates so I went to a group class at my gym which I really didn’t like, I didn’t understand the movements to the purpose of them and the class was so big I had no way of knowing if I was doing it right. I started yoga for a while and enjoyed it but found no great improvement on my back pain or strength.
My physio urged me to look at Pilates once again, I searched for someone who would understand me and my condition. I read Karen’s website and was impressed at the amount of conditions she understood and had experience working with. I decided to give the one to one sessions a go, my first session was filled with a good conversation with Karen helping her understand my condition, my symptoms and my goals. She was understanding and really listened to me.
I could feel a difference in my strength and was surprised by the speed of the results when other things I had tried had taken so long for any sign of improvement. For me the clearest sign that Pilates works for me was after my 6th session when I moved house and could actually lift boxes and carry them to my top floor flat. To go from not being able to lift a heavy shopping bag to moving myself across town has been amazing for me and not only has Pilates improved my strength but it has helped me regain my independence. The one to one sessions are an investment in yourself, whether you’re recovering from injury or just seeking to improve your fitness. The results are noticeable and for me it’s been worth every penny for so many reasons.
I find Karen a great teacher and coach for someone like me who is trying to fight pain, she is so supportive and motivating.
I was truly amazed at my results and I’ve had fun in the sessions, I’m now looking forward to joining Karen’s weekly group classes.