Mary started with Upside-Down Pilates in November 2011. She was in level 8 plus pain daily and took pain medication. Three years prior she had rods placed in her back to straighten her painful scoliosis. After the surgery, she had physical therapy which made her functional and most of her pain was decreased. Her physical therapist gave her exercises to do after she was released from care, but like many people, she did them for a while and then stopped. As time went on the pain crept up. She went to the doctor and was given pain medication.
Her daughter has been a student of mine for nearly 10 years. Her daughter asked me if I thought I could help and I said I would take a look and see. Mary started with our introductory solo lesson package. After doing her assessment I found her gluteus and hamstrings were so weak she could not lift her hips off the ground when pressing into her feet from lying. This was making it impossible to get out of bed or out of a chair. I was astonished. She was on a one track road to a wheelchair.
So, we started doing two solos per week. I designed a specific plan for Mary and gave her exercises to do every day she did not come to see me. Fortunately, Mary did the exercises at home. We kept a pain journal and tried to figure out what activities made the pain increase. Over time Mary’s pain began to slowly decrease. Over the course of a year, it subsided to a level 1-2 in a very specific location. She very rarely took any pain medication. We retrained Mary how to walk, and now she can locomote without a cane easily. She was even able to take a long trip to Japan without any problems. We are continuing to work on decreasing her pain to zero without medication and I expect to achieve our goal within the year so long as Mary stays consistent with her program.
It is my belief that if Mary had not come to see me when she did, she would be in a wheelchair by now. Thanks to Mary’s daughter and Mary’s diligence and commitment to change, she walks, drives, and continues to live her own life! It was an honor to lead Mary down this path.
Mary is doing amazing! For her 80th birthday, she climbed Machu Picchu and spent a week trekking through the Amazon rainforest. Seriously! She continues to do one solo lesson per week and her homework in between. Mary is now 83, she continues to lead her own life with gusto! Mary is living proof that if you care for yourself life will be full and exciting well into your 8th decade and beyond. She is an inspiration to all of us at Upside-Down Pilates. Thank you, Mary, for being so incredible!