Pilates exercises to help manage spinal injuries and build strength

Written by Bonia who uses Pilates to manage her spinal injuries:

“In 2004 I had an accident which left me with three prolapsing discs in my lumbar spine, chronic lower back pain and sciatica. For five years, the only way I could manage my pain was through prescribed pain killers and muscle relaxants. I was approaching my thirties but I felt very old, immobile and depressed. There were days when my husband had to help me wash, dress, and tie up my shoes, because I was unable to do any of those basic functions by myself.

In 2009 our mutual friend, who is also a personal trainer, introduced me to Pilates. I wanted him to help me build muscles but when he put me on the treadmill I was unable to stand upright, let alone run, that’s how weak my core was!

We started with very basic Pilates exercises on the mat: pelvic curl, single leg lifts, chest lift. I remember it was very frustrating: I could not understand how such small movements could make anyone feel better, I had difficulties concentrating on mindful breathing, and I didn’t want to accept the fact that I need to surrender fighting my body and to start listening to it.

After six months of regular practice I was pain and medicine free. My trainer started adding fitness programmes on top of my Pilates routine. Two years later I was in the best shape ever: running, cycling and lifting weights.

Pilates has changed my life forever. Discovering Pilates apparatus helped me build strength I never believed I was capable of having.

Although the accident left me with some irreparable damage in my body (and I still get occasional flare ups), through Pilates I learned how to self-manage myself, I never rely on pain-killers anymore and I lead a pretty regular, pain free life.

In 2011 I decided to qualify as a Pilates instructor because Pilates gave me my life back. I believe if I managed to rehab myself from such an advanced injury then anyone can, and helping others discover Pilates became my life mission.“