Pilates with Purpose: Ruby’s Story
Back pain is becoming the great, health leveller and due largely to our 24-hour digital dependency, it is now a multi-generational problem. For most people, a couple of sessions with a Physio and a handful of pain pills is the obvious (and short term) solution, but studies are increasingly showing Pilates holds the key to long term, sustained relief from back pain, for all ages!
No one know this better than Professional Dancer and All About Dance Company, Teacher, Ruby who herself falls into the less typical category of a young back pain sufferer.
We asked Ruby to share her experience with back pain and how Pilates has transformed her health and is playing an important, ongoing role in her dancing career.
When I was four years old my Mum enrolled me in dance classes at a local school. I started with tap and jazz, and later explored other styles like classical ballet, contemporary and lyrical.
At 13 I had an opportunity to complete the teaching exams and join the team at All About Dance Company as a jazz and ballet teacher. Now 16, dancing is not only my passion but it’s also my career: and as any career dancer will tell you, it takes a toll on even the fittest and youngest bodies!
In April 2017, I (reluctantly) had to stop advanced classes for four weeks when what started as discomfort in my back escalated into stabbing pain radiating from the back of my right rib when I inhaled. A Physio provided some release, but only temporary, not even lasting long enough for me to return to class.
Frustrated and seemingly unable to find a solution to the pain, Mum suggested I try Pilates: with nothing to lose, I did!
After one studio session, I felt immediate relief that lasted longer than I expected. I found the class quite uncomfortable and intense on my back, but the tightness was reduced after and I experienced less irritation in the area, for longer.
I kept going and kept seeing improvement, not only a reduction in discomfort, but I found I was able to access greater range of movement through my back also. It honestly didn’t occur to me that Pilates could help heal an injury and change how my body moves, for the better!
In addition to solving my back-pain issue, the other most unexpected (and welcome!) benefit of Pilates was the change I saw in my body shape. After just three weeks of doing Pilates twice a week, my stomach had more muscle, my legs were leaner and I started to feel the difference too. I felt so much stronger.
When I returned to my advanced classes my teacher even commented on my improved alignment in pirouettes and kicks, and my control and posture also.
I cannot recommend Pilates enough to dancers and non-dancers alike, who are experiencing back pain. Pilates can help to rehabilitate injuries, and will make you stronger, perform better and protect you from injuries down the track.
Studio Pilates is ideal for injury or pain management. For your safety, PFI cannot accommodate clients with acute (recent/live) injuries or conditions. Learn more about Studio and how this form of Pilates can be of use to you, here.
For professional, elite and aspiring dancers; PFI now offers specialised Performer classes. To learn more, contact PFI HQ on (08) 9330 8900.