Over the past 20 years from about the age of twenty I’ve suffered with unexplained chronic back pain with many acute bed-ridden episodes in between. As anyone with back pain knows it affects every part of your body from head to toe: stiffness, tightness, inflexibility, immobility – the list goes on. You are old before your time. With a strong background in athletics and soccer in my university days I had experienced fitness and mobility and the joy of team sports but when the injuries began to set in one after the other in my early twenties I soon found that not exercising was to create even bigger problems. I could never move forward without further injury no matter what I tried. Everything hurt too much and for a long time the only answer was anti inflammatory drugs and eventually my body seized up so much they didn’t even work. So began a quest to get to the cause of my back problems and to try everything possible to get myself out of pain. Of course little did I know that I was about to enter the corporate world of sitting for long hours at your desk daily which was the straw that broke the camels back – literally.
In my never-ending quest to get to the bottom of my back problems I’ve had all the best scans. I’ve seen all the pain specialists and exercise physiologists who concluded there was nothing they could do. I was never bad enough for surgery nor was I ever good enough to take part in normal everyday sporting activities or even just to jog home from work. Yes I have a bulging disk, the flattest feet in the world and scoliosis, which means I’ve developed a nice twist in my spine from all the compensating my body has had to do to keep me upright. The best chiropractors, podiatrists, massage therapists and physiotherapists could thankfully keep me out of acute pain but every week I still needed at least one or two visits so that I didn’t regress. I’d resigned myself to the fact that non-competitive low impact exercise: walking, pilates, yoga, swimming would be as much as I could ever expect. I even joined a high-end gym with a personal trainer and injured my back one session in never to return again.
So, in late 2015 when Dr Robbie Simons (Joint Medicine Specialist) started treating me with some success it came to the stage where he needed me to get stronger so that he could better focus on the true sources of my back issues. He offered two paths: Pilates or movement coaching. Having done Pilates to death over the past 15 years I took up his recommendation and began movement coaching with a now former coach of Aspen. Even though I knew nothing about what this would involve I had learned that a good practitioner always refers you to another so I took the chance and I will never look back. It has probably been the best decision I have made for my personal health and on so many levels.
Since December 2015 I have consistently trained twice a week with the coaches at Aspen and more recently supplemented this with a wide variety of strength, mobility and movement classes. Within only a couple of months I noticed changes to my posture, muscle tone and strength. With less than twelve months of Private sessions and movement classes I have come further in strength and mobility than a lifetime of other exercise regimes. I can hang (two arm, one arm), dead lift, front squat, bust out a chin-up, touch my toes, crawl like a lizard and much more. But that’s not the point and it’s not what I set out to achieve. The point is: I no longer feel or move like an old woman. I no longer cast my eyes forty years into the future and see someone barely able to move or stand upright. I have a long way to go however I don’t ever expect to get to the end of the movement journey as that’s what makes it fun and motivates me. I will be forever learning new skills surrounded by people passionate beyond belief about what they do whose relentless quest is to learn more and pass that on. My visits to health practitioners are now occasional and in the not too distant future I expect them to become a rarity.
The method works because the teachers are highly effective and efficient in what they teach. There is always a process with a very clear objective. Everyone follows a similar method and it’s proven to achieve results. The teachers are authentic and truly dedicated to achieving an outcome for you. The team are so passionate about their work providing health and wellness advice that goes beyond exercise. It all takes place within a non-conventional gym environment with not a treadmill to be found surrounded by a community that is friendly, supportive and non- judgemental. It’s a lot of fun.
I will be forever grateful that my fabulous teachers made such a significant impact on their own and the health journeys of others, that meant our paths crossed sooner rather than later.