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Pilates, My Roadmap to Health and Motherhood

I have no tailbone; now, I wasn’t born this way. My coccyx was removed. I broke my tailbone three times on three separate occasions; it needed to be removed…

The first time I broke my tailbone I was twelve years old. I slid down a stairwell railing and landed at full speed right on my tailbone. It took me about four months to “recover” from the break.

The second time I fell ice skating.

The third time I’m not exactly sure how my bone was broken. When doctors examined the X-Ray, they determined that my bone was not only broken again, but it was also hooked up and there was no way my bone was going to heal properly. The only option was to remove my coccyx. For months I lived with pain that wouldn’t allow me to sit anywhere or sleep comfortably. I constantly found myself standing; I would even have dinner standing! It took me four months to finally find a doctor who would perform the coccygectomy (removal of the Coccyx). To my dismay, the doctor was so booked he couldn’t perform the surgery for another two months.

Each day that went by was torture for me; I was looking forward to this surgery more than anything in the world. Once I had my surgery, I was bedridden for weeks. Unfortunately after the surgery, I never went to physical therapy to help myself regain strength. After the scar healed, I continued to live with pain in the region; I also begin to develop new symptoms. I felt extremely weak and I lived with lower back, hip, and sciatic pain every day. I required assistance for ordinary things like tying my shoes and getting dressed. I felt as though a weight belt was dragging me down by the hips. I couldn’t sleep and would wake up in screaming pain frequently. I saw many doctors who did not comprehend why I had such pain. I had countless spinal blocks and caudal epidurals to help manage the pain. I even considered filing a claim for disability. As a young woman in my early twenties my husband and I feared the possibility of never having children.

My wonderful pain management doctor referred me to Partnership in Therapy, a physical therapy facility in South Florida that specializes in lower back, pelvic pain and women’s health issues. The therapist diagnosed me with a condition called Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, a weakness and atrophy of the pelvic muscles. I began rigorous therapy sessions that incorporated Pilates as a complementary treatment.

Pilates became a part of my daily life; it helped me become aware of my body, posture, and worked on strengthening my core muscles. Normal everyday tasks became easier as the days went by, and pain began to melt away. I couldn’t believe how much of a difference Pilates made in my life, I felt alive again! Pilates gave me the confidence I needed to begin a routine exercise regimen and before I knew it I was spinning 30 miles a week! My road to recovery took years but I’m delighted to say that the hard work paid off, I was now living pain free! In the summer of 2010, my husband and I got the great news that we were expecting our first child! The moment I learned of my pregnancy I joined a Pre/Post Natal Pilates class. I took the class weekly and focused in on those muscles that would help me during my pregnancy. I went to my Pilates classes until I was 37 weeks. I went into labor at 40 weeks and two days. I had an un-medicated natural birth, to a healthy 6lb 8oz baby boy February 28th 2011.

Pilates was not just a form of exercise for me, it was my way back to recovery from what I thought was a certain life of debility and pain. It gave me the confidence I needed to believe that I can accomplish anything if I dedicate myself fully. I am eternally grateful to my husband for his support through this long road to recovery, but I am equally as grateful to my therapists, doctors, and Pilates instructors who have brought me to motherhood, love, peace, and a life that is essentially pain free.

Name: Jennifer Novo
Location: Miami, FL

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