When a friend suggested she try Pilates to alleviate severe back pain, Jennifer Warren was skeptical. “I truly didn’t understand how different it was from physical therapy,” she says. “I assumed it to be similar, and since physical therapy was not working, I didn’t believe Pilates would do it for me.”
An interaction with her 4-year-old daughter left Jennifer realizing she needed to find a way back to feeling healthy and strong as soon as she could.
“She asked me to play outside with her. I said to her, ‘I’m sorry honey, Mommy can’t do that because my back hurts too much.’ She looked at me upset and replied, ‘Mommy when will your back feel better again so we can play?’ It struck a chord with me and I knew I had to try every avenue until I found something that worked.”
Jennifer, who lives with her husband Beau and their four children in Traverse City, has been with Pure Pilates for the past nine months. We caught up with her recently to hear more about how her twice-weekly Pilates practice has boosted her quality of life.
Tell us more about your health journey and how you began your Pilates practice.
I was desperate. I had been in severe pain for nine months from myriad issues. Years ago I was diagnosed with two ruptured discs in the L4/L5 and L5/S1 regions after a traumatic hit from a high tide wave in the ocean in southern California. In addition, I have had four children since that incident, and my pelvis became severely misaligned and unstable, which not only provided its own severe pain, but also exacerbated my low back issues. For years I had tried injections, physical therapy and explored surgery as an option. My good friend Sahra is a Pilates instructor and begged me to try Pilates.
How would you describe your Pure Pilates experience?
Sahra and Jen are my heroes. After three months in physical therapy, I couldn’t get any answers as to why I was still in so much pain. After just one Pilates session, not only did I feel a difference, but Jen and Sahra were able to explain in detail why they thought I was in so much pain. I have never felt this good. Severe pain is not only physically tolling, but it can also make you depressed. I was starting to feel worthless. I couldn’t help my family, and everything was riding on my husband’s shoulders. It was debilitating in every way.
How would you describe how Pilates has helped you?
Pilates changed my life. There is no better way to put it. Before I started, my daily pain level resided anywhere from a 7 to a 10. Daily functions were extremely challenging. I could hardly care for my children and I felt like I was truly missing out. I could hardly dress myself, and the only way I could function was by lying down flat for 15 minutes every hour. Even standing was painful, and if one of children ran up to me for a hug, I screamed in agony. It wasn’t a way to live. Since starting Pilates, I no longer wake in pain, and my pain now almost always is 0.
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