I am a qualified and insured Specialist Pilates Instructor focusing on mixed ability classes, rehabilitation, sports conditioning and helping those with chronic pain & fatigue.
It was in April 2013 that the intensity of what a debilitating illness Fibromyalgia actually it became my reality.
2 ½ years earlier I was involved in a road traffic accident; I was stationary at a junction and a van drove in to the rear of my vehicle at around 25mph, I had some discomfort but following a few weeks’ private physiotherapy I was ok. 6 months later I was involved in another road traffic accident through this time I was blind-sided and spun and this seemingly was too much; I immediately felt lumbar discomfort.
I returned to the same private physiotherapist for a few weeks and I was back on my feet and healing.
Prior to the initial accident, I was keen on fitness attending the gym at least 3 times a week; my favourite classes were body jam and body pump, I enjoyed off-road mountain biking, hill walking and a little running.
However, during the recuperation phase I found that without exercising and obviously no intense diet, I had put on weight. This opened my eyes, so I decided to dust off my bike and go for a leisurely ride, just a couple of miles I thought, make a start, nothing too taxing.
Sadly, this was not meant to be, after ½ a mile I had to turn round, the pain in my lower back was too intense and it lasted a couple of days and made me realise that I wasn’t fully recovered so I went to see my GP. He gave me some strong anti-inflammatory painkillers and organised an MRI scan.
Fast forward 12 months to April 2013. The MRI showed a tear in Lumbar 4/5. As I was too young to operate, steroid injections were prescribed. Within a week of having a Facet Joint Injection I came home from work with what I now know as a “major fibro episode”. This displayed similar symptoms to a mini-stroke, including total loss of feeling and strength down the right-hand side of my body. It was during the extended period of time off work that followed that I discovered Pilates. By having one to one sessions with my instructor I was able to build my core strength, develop pain management techniques and return to my physically demanding full-time job.
For the next couple of years I had further MRI scans, CT scans, blood tests, appointments with orthopaedic surgeons, neurologist and rheumatologist and another Steroid Injection (Caudal Foramen) with the eventual prognosis being I had a lumbar tear that wouldn’t repair. Although there was still no explanation for the feelings of weakness and whole body pain I was experiencing.
Throughout all this I was trying different drugs for pain relief:
Amitriptyline, Pregabalin, Gabapentin but I struggled with the various side effects.
I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (2015) which sent me on my own path of research because you don’t find much out from anyone else.
I was also fortunate in two ways; I was lucky enough to have a super GP who just stuck with me and kept looking for the answers with me, and a fabulous Pilates Instructor who I only found by chance.
Twice a month I had skype 121’s with my Personal Trainer that helped me to rehabilitate myself. A large part of this early recuperation was to strengthen my powerhouse by developing the finer muscular structure from the inside out to support my lumbar back. This was where Pilates really came into its own and how I developed my passion for the Pilates fundamentals. I studied the theory and practice of Pilates and am now qualified as a Specialist Pilates Instructor. I want to use my own experience to help and support others because if Pilates has helped me, and it has, it can help you too.