Pilates and Sciatica

I have been fortunate enough to guide the most wonderful woman in a Pilates regimen. I’ll call her Anne. Life has given Anne a bit of a physical beating. She suffered from chronic sciatic pain before taking weekly Pilates lessons. She has no cartilage to speak of in her knees. To this day she describes her lower vertebrae as “fused together.” The list goes on.

Despite living in constant pain, this inspiring woman won’t let life slow her down. To the contrary, Anne realizes that only by working through the pain, properly, will she have any relief from it.

I realized early on that a traditional Pilates regimen would never suit Anne. Her knees often protest under the resistance of only one spring so the Reformer is not our “go to” apparatus. The Cadillac has been a fantastic tool for Anne because it allows her wobbly body to sit, aligned on a flat surface and work evenly to stretch and strengthen.

The first time Anne did the Tower Stretch (stretch only with no lift due to pain in her low back) she really appreciated the way it targeted the exact location where she feels the sciatic pain. This soon became an exercise we worked into virtually every lesson. Anne got better and better at deepening the stretch and working through its associated pain.

After approximately a year of lessons, Anne came in one day exclaiming, “You’ve cured my electric leg!” She claimed that the pain she had once felt daily was gone. I was thrilled for Anne and reminded her that she had done all the work.

Anne continues to do the work her body needs to feel the best she can every day. This is why I teach Pilates. I love helping people feel well by creating the best physical versions of themselves.

 Thank you Liz Boyd of Irving, Texas for sharing!

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