The longer I am teaching Pilates, the more I see the many different reasons people come to us; some have heard it will give them a flat stomach, some want to support their marathon training.. Yet in the last month I have worked with the following conditions: sciatica, slipped disc (many with more than one), plantar fascitis, “unexplained” lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, Pelvic Girdle Pain…the list goes on. All of my clients inspire me in some way or another but one rehab client in particular has really made a personal impact on me with her bravery and strength of character.
M has diabetes and therefore had right leg amputated below the knee a few years ago. Months later she also lost her big toe and 3rd toe on her remaining foot. 6 weeks ago she walked into a class with me and amazed me with her positive attitude and strength. In her first class she walked in with a stick and every time we moved around between pieces of equipment she used her stick to get her to the next place. Two weeks later she walked in without a stick and last week she balanced on one leg while standing on a wobble board.
In our first class I confess I was nervous. Although my teacher training was fantastic in terms of rehabilitation, it didn’t go so far as to equip you with how to deal with prosthetic limbs and I wasn’t entirely sure how to work with one, but, together, M and I have found out what works and what doesn’t. We have challenged her in ways that just weeks ago she didn’t think were possible and it has been a truly life changing experience for both of us. Not only are we working to strengthen her legs and give her confidence in standing; she is learning to move her pelvis and articulate her spine (which had long since been forgotten) in order to improve her gait and allow her hips to move when walking.
In just a few weeks the difference in her movement, and also her confidence, has been just wonderful and I am very proud to be able to call her my client.
Exercises we have done include:
Breathing, engaging abdominals
Pelvic tilts and pelvic lifts – double and single legs
Wide hip rolls
Adductor squeezes with magic circle
Open book/lazy angel/thoracic stretch
Push throughs on Cadillac – straight and twisted
Side lying – clams, side leg lifts, adductor lifts
Leg springs – circles and scissors
This is a useful podcast from Balanced Body Pilates that was posted on youtube for anyone else who might be interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQD7_LZsUB4&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL17FDE6AD9E35693E