Updated: Jun 25
It is October 2012 and I think I am really, truly, badly broken. I have a 9 month old baby, my first-born, who I should enjoy, but I am in so much pain and so depressed that I can’t.
When expecting her, I was (sensibly) active and keeping fit, taking the best advice. A year before this, I was strong and resilient, doing 18 mile hikes in the Scottish mountains. I was ready for motherhood - or so I thought.
However, in the middle of the pregnancy, when out for a walk in the countryside, my deep hip muscle snaps - just like that! - creating a horrible pain. Then within days, on top of that, pelvic girdle pain follows. And I know I am in bad trouble.
I wear a support belt, expecting it all to resolve after delivery. Yet it does not, and gets worse. I cannot push a pram up the hill, walk up the stairs, manoeuvre a trolley around the supermarket, or do any exercises without massively aggravating my injuries.
I have already been through 7 physiotherapists and other private bodyworkers who are puzzled and who, I can tell, are guessing and just poking around my pelvis. The NHS team of postnatal specialists makes me a lot worse…
It is awful. I actually think my life is over. My GP asks if I am having suicidal thoughts and it is with huge relief that I almost shout to her: “Yes! But don’t worry, I won’t act on this urge… ”.
Finally, someone gets just how grim things are for me. But I am still in pain.
Then I discover Pilates.
At that point, I have quite low expectations - indeed, why would it work after all that physiotherapy failed? I cry through my first sessions thinking it’s a waste of time. But I start noticing that I am actually really weak; I am shaking all over in certain exercises, and I am very compromised on one side. Not being able to rotate without collapsing into a side bend one way, very stiff in one hip, and my lower back is sore and tight on the left.
I become super-curious - and then I get hooked on making connections, building new body awareness, and starting to learn anatomy just observing my body’s idiosynchracies.
It takes another 20 months of Pilates plus a new chiropractor who supports me in a much better way - but then I am finally out of pain when my daughter is well into being a toddler.
I am BACK! Maybe still not perfect in my body, but functional enough to enjoy life once again.
And then it hits me - doing THIS sort of work was what I want to do with the rest of my life. It sparked a passion for movement and rehabilitation which I initially approached by working on myself, and then I brought this work to the others.
So, I abandoned my previous career in finance and retrained in Pilates therapy, which is a mix of Pilates with objective screens that physiotherapists might use, assessment of nerves and muscles, hands-on corrections, elements of massage, applied neurology, kinesiotaping, and so much more.
My second daughter was born without my pelvis getting compromised and I knew I was on the right track.
But Pilates on its own was not enough.
I still had a lot of tightness, assymetry and pain inherited from childhood illnesses and chronic conditions. I realised that I had tons of compensation patterns. I had scoliosis in my neck and spine, pain in my lower back, and my neck movement was very restricted to one side.
Pilates on its own could not cure that. Exercise can manage pain, but it does not take away our compensations. The body still guards against past injuries, perhaps in a more subtle way, but it does not stop the avoidance completely. For instance, once an ankle has had a bad sprain, the body will have a degree of guarding against further injury - until the underlying patterns are identified and rebalanced from a neurological standpoint.
This is why, incidentally, we can have pain no matter how much strengthening we do. So, for completely lasting solutions, something more profound than just movement is needed.
Scoliosis, for instance, is a symptom that goes back to breathing restritions, assymetry in how deep back muscles work, and often to scars and other injuries such as ankle sprains or head rotation preferences. And I had all of those.
I mean, who has not had an ankle sprain in their life?! It's all important! It will have some degree of bearing on us.
I found the answers to these challenges in applied neurology, which led me to NeuroKinetic Therapy (NKT). This powerful modality finds the centre of the problem and takes us out of compensation patterns immediately. Movement strengthening can then be applied on top. And that is when movement becomes really effective.
I have since trained to in advanced NKT as I love nothing better than to help my clients to truly understand and address their problems at source in a swift and efficient manner.
I also became a Restore Your Core teacher (this is a core and pelvic-floor friendly rehabilitative programme); Hypopressives, a programme for posture strengthening and pelvic floor optimisation; and the incredible Immaculate Dissection for applied functional anatomy... amongst many, many other courses.
But knowing, through personal experience, and by observing many clients, that many physical problems also have an emotional origin of guarding, protecting and associated anxiety, I needed to add the aspect of working with emotions to the mix.
So this year, seeing first-hand how important healthy emotional balance is to my clients' recovery, I trained in Integrated Eye Movement Therapy (IEMT), where we can access and release the impact of difficult memories through simple eye movements.
And in addition, I am currently training as a Cognitive-Behavioral hypnotherapist (Hypno-CBT) with the UK College of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy.
And all of these skills I bring to you, my reader, for YOU to benefit on your journey.
Are you holding back, concerned that it might be too late, too complicated, too long to get better?
It never is. We can ALWAYS do something, and most of the time, we can do HUGE amounts to move you forwards.
Chat to me and we can start mapping your way back to better health.
I have been there myself. It gets better. I can guide you too, with all the learning I have, and with my passion for seeing people stop feeling broken, and get their zest for life back.
To your health,
I practice in Wimborne, Dorset, UK, and online, seeing clients nationally and globally over Zoom. Contact me for a no-obligation chat: