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  1. Can I just say, Pilates is awesome! I love doing it when I can but my husband loves it more! So many people forget that Pilates is great for men too! (It was, after all created by a man) My husband is often the only guy in class but he doesn’t care! He has a slight curvature of his spine so he will often get back pain and sciatic nerve pain down his leg. Pilates really helps with that and it also helps with his very tight hamstrings! I on the other hand have a chronic foot problem that the doctors and specialists (and w MRI) still can’t seem to figure out! I have some pain everyday (but not debilitating in anyway) so I figure I’ll probably have to live with this (I am also in my 40’s). Aging stinks!

  2. Wendy Pringle says:

    Check into prolotherapy if it’s available. After 4 sessions, and several months of recovery, I feel good after years of pain. Also 48! It’s timely to work on my core daily as my metabolism has downshifted this year. I love going to a women’s only gym that I do Pilates, Barre, yoga, Hitt, and Bootcamp. I mix it up every week, that makes it fun..

  3. Thank you so much for sharing! I’m awful at remembering to work my core. This will help me keep it a priority. Denise Austin used to say you are only as old as your spine. 😉

  4. I have a very similar back issue…. from (I think) doing gymnastics as a kid, having 3 babies and teaching young children my whole life. I had pain on and off, nothing serious until about 2 and a half years ago when it became constant. I put up with it for 6 months snapping at my 3 boys and husband because I was at the end of my rope. I went to see a ‘back doctor’ who literally just works with people with back pain and had an MRI. I also was diagnosed with a disc bulge in exactly the same place as you Monica. He suggested an injection in my spine which I was very dubious about because I am very anti medication and love to find a natural cure if possible! He explained to me that it was like resetting my system and would cause me to be pain free for a few months while I worked at strengthening my core. It was the best thing I ever did! I now attend Pilates with an exercise physiologist twice a week to keep my core strength up and I am basically pain free. Occasionally when I sit too much, fly long distances or do too much driving my back gets niggly but nothing like it was. I am a massive believer in Pilates (I love it! it works!) and would recommend seeing a qualified Pilates instructor to anyone who is in pain…. actually I refer my friends all the time!

  5. Monica

    An answer to prayer. This is what I needed to read when I needed to read it! (Actually, I needed to read it 6 years ago…but…would I have appreciated it then? Probably not. Its been a rough 6 years)
    I vowed yesterday to start strengthening my core with “some” (unbeknownst to me at the time) exercises this week to help manage my back and overall chronic pain. Well, here it is Monday-and I found my inspiration in reading this today. Off to check out Pilates and do some bridge exercises! I’m excited to get started now!

    Grateful for your positive attitude and inspiration,

    Thank you!

    1. Oh that just makes my day, Brenda! SO happy the timing was so good! 🙂 Blessings to you and keep me posted on how you do, ok? 🙂 Have an awesome week! aloha-

  6. Kerri Brigham says:

    Have you researched or tried Prolotherapy.

    1. No I haven’t. I’ll have to look that up. 🙂 Thanks for mentioning.

  7. Monica🙏🏽I’m so sorry to hear about your back pain😬hope you feel better soon,. Glad PT is helping, will keep praying for your continued recovery.As ever Penny

    1. Oh thank you Penny! Much more to be thankful for than to complain about… 😉 So happy we got to meet for coffee. You inspire me! Much love–

  8. Hi Monica! Thank you for sharing your journey with us, so that we can learn and even possibly relate! I can relate in that I have found Pilates to be an amazing way to strengthen my body in so many areas and preserve muscle to support my bones. I recently aggravated the cartilage behind my kneecap and Pilates has really helped. I was already working one-on-one with an instructor and now she’s been able to tailor our sessions to focus more on my knee. I’m also seeing an orthopedic doctor about it and doing physical therapy…so your post is really timely for me! I was in a lot of pain and I also felt discouraged, feeling that my 40’s is too young to be feeling chronic pain and trying to beat the clock against arthritis pain! But the good news is that by exercising, stretching and strengthening our bodies, we can help relieve the pain we’re feeling if we’re injured, and try to prevent some of the aches and pains and arthritis that affect so many people in older age. My orthopedist also recommended gentle yoga so i am going to try to start doing yoga more regularly. Hope your back feels better soon and feel free to keep us updated!

    1. Thank you so much Wendy! It is so interesting to hear other’s stories also, so thank you for sharing. I am thrilled that pilates has been helpful to you, and I agree–we really can find some hope for a strong next season of life! 😉 Blessings to you, and thanks for taking the time to share! aloha-

  9. Leigh Helton says:

    Just had a microdiscectomy at L5/S1 December of last year and struggled with recovery. Finally asked to go to physical therapy and core strengthening helped SO MUCH!! I am still not 100% but I am getting there. I have slacked off on exercising lately so I am using this post as affirmation to get back at it to prevent more issues!! Thank you for sharing!!!

  10. Hello from the Pilbara in Western Australia! I have had fibromyalgia since my fourth child was born 6 years ago. I am determined not to spend the rest of my life lying down with the curtains drawn. I started with rehab pilates and then a part time job that is quite physical to get me out of the house. I could not have done it without the much maligned pain opiate pain relief but I am now fit, strong and active! I think the hardest part has been seeing how much my behaviour and reality has impacted my children’s understanding of pain, they seem much more sensitive than their peers.

  11. Thank you for the reminder that I have been slacking on my core work the physical therapists gave me.

    Though I did spend a good amount of time doing Prone on Elbows last night, because it is so good. Is your physical therapist familiar with the McKenzie Technique?

  12. I recently started doing some Barre classes, and the focus is all about core! Pelvic floor muscles and the front, back, and sides of torso. So helpful!
    Also, after each birth, pilates was how I got strong again and felt my best.
    Praying that you feel better!
    Thank you for sharing❤

    1. Thanks Jessica! I’ve taken Barre before (while traveling, of course :)) and I loved it! I think it’s such a good mix of things and so good for the core! Much aloha-

  13. Monica ,

    Wow! I just woke up this morning looked at my phone for the time and there was your email notification for this post.
    Perfect timing! Read it all out loud and word for word . Ted was probably still asleep, but he too woke up and listened intently!
    Let me just say I am not only going to keep praying for you daily, but let me walk with you and do some of what you are doing though miles of ocean separate us. I am not only your sister-in-law, but I am your sister in back pain.
    After now 2 years of espidodic almost unbearable sciatica and at times not being able to walk or stand straight due to nerve pain I too finally got an MRI this past week. Guess what was discovered at L-5 S-1? A large 1 cm bulging disc!! Ugh! They say radiologists usually measure disc in mm so it is pretty bad, but so good to know.
    Of course most people would go straight to a neurosurgeon right away, but like you I have for now going to try to live my life the best I can going the conservative route with Therapy and Exercise! I too am seeing a physical therapist who focuses on the McKenzie method and going to try to get the pain to subside by doing certain prone positions several times daily to try to move that disc back into place. I’m also using the grandmas walkers at home right now trying to do laps to get myself to stand straight again. When I finally can get standing straight again with no nerve or sciatica I can then begin to strengthen my back with exercise and core strengthening.
    I can’t wait to talk to you more about this and truly be your sister in strengthening our backs without surgery and live our lives well into the next years ahead. We have a lot to do as mamas and together!
    Blessings your way!!

    1. OH Cami…I know you’ve been in SO much pain–definitely worse than mine. I hope and pray you can get better and if not, then I would never judge you for choosing surgery. You’ve been through the ringer!! Thanks for the comment and sending much love. Wish we could be closer in person, but always love knowing you are there. Hugs!

    2. Cami, I like to think of it as John telling me my homework was to marathon netflix! I mean seriously if I’m gonna be doing prone on elbows on the living room floor I might was well be “productive” with it. It also has been one he has been having me do for my neck. This may also be how I discovered I need a new vacuum.

  14. I’m so sorry that you have been dealing with this. I know how awful it can be. Part of me wants to jump up and run downstairs and pick Pilates back up because (1) I loved Pilates and (2) you’ve never steered me wrong before. But then I remembered that I have a hernia that I haven’t gotten fixed (won’t, shh – my husband and I have been arguing about it for a while) because I just don’t want to have any. More. Surgery. EVER.

    Let me know how it goes for you. If you have a significant reduction in pain I might have to reconsider. My back pain is from something different entirely, but the idea is the same, right?

    1. Oh Becka- So sorry for your hernia. Is there anything besides surgery that you can do for that? I might have to nudge you to listen to your husband on that one my dear…Regardless, yes, core strength is good for just about everything. As soon as you’re able, pick it up again!! much aloha and take care of yourself…

  15. I have been going through the same thing for the past year and have been going to PT as well. I just turned 48 so I totally relate with you! I feel your pain 😊 and wish you the best in your recovery! Let us know how you progress.

  16. Mindy Connelly says:

    I highly suggest cranio sacral therapy for back pain if you can find someone who does it!