My multiple sclerosis journey:
It’s been 20 years since I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I’d thought of ways of marking the milestone, but it’s hardly cause for celebration. Then I was invited to write a short blog about my experience of Pilates for multiple sclerosis – perfect.
Discovering the benefits of Clinical Pilates:
Discovering Pilates is a significant silver lining of living with a chronic disease. I didn’t initially start Pilates for my multiple sclerosis as for several years after the initial presentation of symptoms I was relatively unaffected. I’d heard from friends how much they enjoyed this exercise so in 2006, recognising that having recently moved interstate and with heavy work commitments I wasn’t getting much exercise, I decided to give it a try. At first, I wasn’t overly impressed, then I joined a class run by a physiotherapist. What a difference! It was challenging, I was getting results… and it was fun. I was hooked.
The importance of a tailored Pilates program:
I’ve now been doing clinical Pilates (i.e. with a physiotherapist) for about 13 years and found Port Melbourne Physiotherapy & Pilates over 5 years ago. Whilst the course of the disease means that my multiple sclerosis symptoms have progressively worsened, clinical Pilates is a significant reason for my still being relatively mobile and able to manage the challenges of muscle spasticity. I’m now in my 60s and determined to stay reasonably fit and independent. To achieve this, I do a 1:1 Pilates class twice weekly, along with 1 – 2 personal training sessions each week.
Image credit: https://www.ohsu.edu/brain-institute/understanding-multiple-sclerosis
Pilates helps me in many ways:
- I’ve gained strength. I’m strong, very strong. In addition, I have quite good physical stamina. This is critical to enable me to continue to live independently and enjoy a good social life.
- My balance is poor, but would be much worse without Pilates and PT. I’ve had a few significant stumbles yet been able to stay upright. I’ve also had a couple of falls, but have managed to land quite well, with no serious injuries.
- It’s motivational. There’s always more to learn, more to try and more strength, flexibility and balance challenges to achieve.
- It enables me to stretch out those painful muscles.
- It’s fun! My wonderful PMPP Pilates instructors and I enjoy some great laughs as I pant away through their latest challenge.
I’m committed to Pilates for life – for my health, fitness, strength and independence.
For more information about multiple sclerosis, go to www.ms.org.au.
~ PMPP client
To learn more about how clinical Pilates differs from regular Pilates, read this blog by Sally: https://portmelbournephysio.com.au/clinical-pilates-vs-other-pilates-methods/