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This shouldn't happen, but it does.

My 71-year-old mum was trying to half sit on her couch at Christmas time and I could clearly see the discomfort she was in just trying to sit there. I said, “Hey Ma why are you sitting like that?”

And she said “My back has become so bad the only time it doesn’t hurt is first thing in the morning when I wake up, so I try and stay in bed just a little longer to feel pain-free just for a couple of minutes a day.

My mum is a lady who’s been active all her life and I could see that while she was trying not to worry me the pain was written all over her face. Later that day I asked her to describe the pain that she was in. She started by telling me that this had been going on for three years but had now become so bad that she was struggling to drive the car and sit in the lounge in the evenings, let alone live her normal life on her farm. When I asked her what she had done about it she said she had been to see her doctor who referred her to an allied health professional, she had had scans on her lower back showing deterioration that was congruent with somebody her age. But nothing anyone was doing was helping her. She had been to see 3 different allied health professionals and nothing was helping to even ease her pain.

When I asked her to describe when, where, and how the pain felt when she moved in certain ways I suggested it may not have been a lower back disc or degeneration problem but instead a muscular problem that was causing her pain. I explained and showed her how her body and in-particularly her hips worked how her core worked and then recommended she gradually and slowly tried three specific exercises. I emphasised that if she felt any pain while she was attempting to do the exercises that she should stop immediately. I also recommended that rather than trying to speed up her healing that she take her exercises carefully and slowly even if she started to feel pain relief.

One week after she had started her exercises we spoke on the telephone and she said she couldn’t believe how much better she was feeling. Then two weeks after she started her exercises we spoke again on the telephone and this time she told me she had been mowing her yard with her ride-on lawnmower and she was worried that when she hopped off she wouldn’t be able to walk. So as soon as she hopped off her lawnmower she carefully did one of her exercises and said it is the best she has felt in three years. I wanted to cry. It should never have taken three years for her to have pain relief. It should not have taken three different allied health professionals to help her with the pain that she was in. I don’t want other people to be in the same situation as my mum.

I’m so proud of her for being such a great student and even though she had been told they weren’t sure how to help fix her. She trusted me enough to try one last time to ease her pain. She has her life, her freedom, and her comfort back. She can trust her body again. At 71, that is a pretty exciting opportunity to keep being out in the world.

If you are experiencing discomfort in your body, a signal is going off to let you know that something is not right.

The message I want to share with you is that there is natural degeneration that occurs in our bodies at different rates as we age.

Your age is not an automatic reason for your pain.

Let me say that again.

Your age is not an automatic reason for your pain.

Seek out someone who will listen to what you are saying, to how you are experiencing your pain and when it is occurring. You haven’t come this far not to trust yourself, not to trust how your body feels.

Bec x

Become part of the Arlais Pilates and Yoga in person if you are local to Sandgate, Brighton, or Deagon, or join for your own personal Reformer Pilates Classes. If you can't make it in person become part of the online virtual wellness studio for personal classes or to the Daily Stretching program.

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