A testimonial by Agnieszka Biniek, physiotherapist
“In ten sessions you will feel the difference, in twenty you will see the difference, and in thirty you will have a whole new body” Joseph Hubertus Pilates (1880-1967)
It was about 6 years ago, when I was 26 years old, that I had an onset of low back pain. It was just a niggle/dull ache at first, into my left side, which was aggravated by standing for prolonged periods, especially at work, where I was constantly on my feet and standing leaning over the bed to treat patients. I didn’t think much of it at the time and did some self-release and stretches. But over the next few months, it started to get progressively worse, until it was radiating into my left leg, causing me constant discomfort, especially at night. The first logical step would be for me to see a physio and get some treatment, which I did. I saw one of my colleagues for treatment, twice a week.
I was also quite aware of the fact that strengthening my core (i.e. deep abdominals and pelvic floor muscles) and improving my posture and the stability around my back and pelvis was the key to improving my low back pain and preventing recurrence, so I incorporated some of these exercises into my daily routine. The physio treatment helped to relieve my symptoms somewhat, but every time I went for a run, did any prolonged sitting, bending, lifting, or housework, it would flare up again and I would be back to square one.
I then started to think about my foot position, working from the bottom up, and whether that could be affecting the position of my pelvis and aggravating my low back and leg pain. So off I went to see a podiatrist, who did an assessment and prescribed orthotics. These helped somewhat and relieved my pain during standing at work, but I still experienced recurrent episodes and flare-ups.
How I have discovered Pilates and atart me Pilates journey
At this stage, after a year of dealing with the pain, I was completely over it. So I went to see my GP to ask for a course of anti-inflammatory treatment, which he happily prescribed. I took this drug for ten days, and my pain settled. It was so wonderful, to be pain-free. However; the effect did not last. About four months later I was in pain again, and this time it was even worse than before. I consulted my colleague and had more treatment, and also decided to have an MRI scan done. My symptoms perfectly matched the picture of a disc injury with nerve compression, and I was positive this would show up on my scan. But, the MRI results were normal. Which was puzzling, where was my pain coming from? Surely it was not just due to lack of stability, poor flexibility, muscle imbalance and prolonged poor posture? Could the above factors be the secret to relieving my pain?
It was around this time that I attended a Clinical Pilates course in Melbourne, and was introduced to exercises on the equipment. I had done Pilates in the past, but only on the mat, and some of the mat exercises had flared up my low back pain. The equipment was completely different, it helped to improve my awareness of the position of my body and provided feedback and support during movement. It improved my control and helped me to recruit the correct muscle groups. I did not experience any flare-up of my pain and I felt amazing afterwards. I was immediately addicted and was keen to learn more and to incorporate these exercises into my daily routine.
Shortly after attending the course in Melbourne, I joined The Body Refinery team, and my Pilates journey continued from there. Within 3 months my core stability, flexibility and endurance had improved, my posture was getting better and my back pain had settled. I completed my Polestar Pilates instructor training in 2015, which challenged me even further and especially improved my thoracic mobility, which was by far my greatest challenge! I have never felt better, stronger and more mobile than I do now, but best of all I have not had one single episode of low back pain in the past 3 years. Pilates has definitely changed my life and it has given me a whole new body, which I love!
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