pain (noun): physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury
We all know what pain is. We also know that pain is relevant. Sometimes that papercut between your fingers makes you aware of its annoying presence but doesn’t stop you from going about your day. Sometimes your back hurts so much you can’t climb stairs. There is the type of pain that you “push through” knowing it is temporary and will soon disappear. Sometimes pain is extreme but you know that as you heal it too will subside.
Then there is pain that is chronic and you feel utterly at a loss. Perhaps at first it started as what you thought was a temporary situation, but as time goes by it doesn’t seem to be getting better or even growing worse. This is the type of pain that sends you to your doctor hoping for relief. Often, your doctor is able to help, but there are times when specialist after specialist and test after test still give you little in the way of answers or relief. This is the type of pain that can cause some to feel helpless as well as hopeless. Your life seems to revolve around your pain, planning your day around having someone to help you with small tasks you thought nothing of before. Things like housework, meals, shopping, and even getting dressed are difficult without help. You are angry this has happened, you are sad about missing out on your old life, and scared that you may not get back to the way you were.
I write this with experience, having lived with this type of pain. I went to more doctors than I can count without significant results. After a year I chose to find an alternative route to pain medicine and cortisone shots. I have never made a better choice. After talking to my doctor about my choice, he suggested Pilates. I scheduled an appointment at a Pilates studio in Toronto where I lived at the time. After a few sessions I realized this was the best advice I was given throughout the entire healing process. Within six weeks I went from back pain that made me unable to climb steps, push in the clutch on my car or tie my shoes, to doing ALL of that! I continued my sessions and found myself showing friends and family “what we do in Pilates” to help with this or that. Soon I found people calling me with questions about what to do for this pain or that ache. I knew then I wanted to help others feel better.
Now, 15 years later, I feel healthier than I ever have in my life — free of pain and with the ability and knowledge to help others find their paths to being pain free. My education and career have evolved over the years but — just as in the beginning — when someone walks out of my studio with a bit of hope in their eyes, a bit lighter step in their walk and eventually a smile on their face, I know that I have done what I set out to do, and nothing is more rewarding.