Pilates After Major Back Surgery

This is the story of how I learned that when all else fails, Pilates prevails.

When I was a very new teacher and only beginning to understand the Pilates system of exercise in its complete and original form, I had a client who had undergone two very difficult years before coming to me. She had spent those years in bed suffering from a tremendous amount of pain because her spine had collapsed and then been reconstructed in an invasive surgical procedure involving multiple pieces of hardware being installed along her vertebral column. Apart from what I knew of Pilates, I had learned a lot of other more basic movements that I incorrectly thought would be more appropriate for her. For a while we worked our way through those, realizing one by one that they were causing her more harm than good. As we approached the end of my list of repertoire, I reconsidered what I could show her of actual Pilates. We worked with the simple concept of engaging her center to support her spine while she did the push down on the wunda chair. She immediately felt considerable relief and perhaps more importantly, hope. We continued for many years deepening our study of the method over and over again. I learned so much working with her and fell more in love with Pilates with each discovery that we made. But my favorite lesson was that first one, when I realized the singular power of Pilates when it is respected as a complete system for addressing an entire person.

Submitted by Eliza Twist, AKA The Body Sleuth.

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