Fast forward over two years from her first tearful lesson, and she’s a ball of energy and joy at my studio, Spiral Spine Pilates. She no longer needs private lessons because she knows what exercises she should and shouldn’t do—the true epitome of someone who owns her scoli. She takes group equipment classes regularly and does trios occasionally with her two daughters when they want to take a Pilates class. She’s so much more stable than her beautiful, athletic teenaged daughters and I use her to demonstrate exercises to them about what stability looks like.
Alicia continues to absolutely amaze me with how well she knows her body and what she’s safely capable to push herself to do. Just the other day she was doing Magician on the Cadillac in a group class safely without nerve pain! Never in a million years when I started working with her could you have convinced me that she’d be here today.
Spiral Spine Pilates is filled with people who, like her, aren’t your typical Pilates clients. Most of them have scoliosis and have unique bodily stories that others haven’t been able to figure out. My staff and I use our minds to piece together their bodies, all the while loving on their souls deeply, strengthening their entire bodies, and creating an environment where they can feel normal.
Just a few weeks ago I had a new client who came with a very similar situation to Alicia’s. Because Alicia’s body puzzle had been figured out, I knew I had a template to use for this woman. We were able to make progress quickly, and after a few lessons I’d felt that I’d gained her trust enough to ask if she’d like to meet a client who was just like her. Serendipitously, Alicia was coming in for a group class during the next hour.
Alicia’s arrived at the studio with her infectious smile and I told her I had someone I wanted her to meet. With tears in my new client’s eyes, knowing someone else was out there who knew what she was going through, Alicia motivated her and loved on her soul. From the other room I heard Alicia tell her, “You’re not alone anymore. We understand you and will figure this out. No more surgeries. Keep moving.” Phone numbers were exchanged as well as hugs, and my heart was blessed as I witnessed the full circle transformation of Alicia.
Is Alicia’s scoliosis and listhesis gone? No. I can still see her fighting to keep her pelvis level and torso stacked up every day, but she’s not in nerve pain—and that’s what matters to her. Every single day she walks in the studio I ask how her nerve pain is. Most days she gives me a huge, silly grin and says, “none!” On other days, she’ll says she has a little, but will always tell me what she did to make it happen and what her plan is to stop it. She is full of hope now because she has a plan, a place to be cared for, people to go to stop her pain when it starts—and all of that makes her feel empowered. The hopelessness of her situation is gone.
Will she have to have surgery one day? I have no idea, but I do know that day is not today. Someone actually asked Alicia that question when I was in earshot of her at the studio the other day and she said, “NO! I’m NOT having surgery! Surgeons need to stop cutting on people that have scoliosis. You can manage it other ways and surgery isn’t the answer.”
Wow, what a mental transformation she’s made in just two short years!
The longer I’m in the scoliosis world, the more people I work with around the world, the more I study and research, the more I realize that there are millions and millions of people just like Alicia all over the world. I see why the scoliosis world is in the middle of an opioid epidemic. I see why body dysmorphism is a serious issue—as is suicide. By definition, scoliosis just affects the spine, but I can attest that it affects so much more.
The bodies, hearts, and souls of those with scoliosis all over the world need to find places to be cared for. They need to find their forever homes. Unless they live near Nashville, TN, it’s not going to be Spiral Spine Pilates—it’s going to be their local Pilates studios. Study hard, love deeply, and be willing to do the hard thing—to care for someone who the rest of the world has given up on.