Wild thing pose – Grace Sisto
I recently met Grace, a yoga teacher, through a common friend. Grace came to see me because she had been struggling with low back pain for a while, which had been recently aggravated and was preventing her from doing yoga.
The assessment and treatment
After working together with Grace for a few sessions, we soon realised that the pelvic floor muscles, diaphragm coordination and activation and core stability during some yoga movements needed to be improved. By not using these muscles correctly, Grace was using very subtle compensatory movement strategies that were placing more stress and pressure on the lower back, hip muscles and joints, leading to pain, muscle imbalance and dysfunction. We also realised – I say we, because treatment is always done as team work – that some other lifestyle habits were contributing to an increase in her pain levels. Grace was sitting for long periods of time at her full-time desk based job and was dealing with a lot of stress. We worked together in the treatment room and on a yoga mat and I’m now happy to say that Grace is teaching yoga pain free to her students again.
Grace is a brilliant yoga teacher, with a profound understanding of the body biomechanics and movement, and now pain. With this in mind, I decided to ask her to write a few words for the blog to share her story with my patients. I’m a big yoga advocate, not only is it a very complete way of exercising, combining whole body stretching and strengthening techniques but it also involves a lot of body awareness, breathing and relaxation techniques. When it’s done gently and whilst respecting one’s limits, it can be a powerful tool in healing chronic back pain, hip and pelvic pain.
I too, use yoga as self-treatment strategy to help me get rid of muscle tension and stress that gets built up from my job and everyday life events.
Here is what Grace has to say:
The physio I saw to treat it told me that the injury was caused by the way my sacroiliac joint tilts and he asked me to avoid any forward bends. I was not too happy specially with the idea of not doing certain postures. I then spent a lot of time trying to strengthen my core, being very careful at every movement I did and in some ways I started fearing some postures. I eventually came to terms with the fact that the pinching and tightness would now be part of my body’s feelings and I just hoped to never feel the same pain I had the first time around.
However, at the beginning of this year for a combination of reasons aforementioned, my back started going into spasms again. It was not as bad as my first injury but my fear of aggravating made me reach out to a physio straight away. I had recently met Marta through a common friend and because she is a physiotherapist who specialises in women’s health, I thought she could have a different perspective to offer me which would not just be treating me and telling me to avoid certain postures. I was right! Marta is a big yoga advocate and the dialogue between the two of us resonated with my approach towards my body. Of course we discussed pre-spasm conditions, physical activity, lifestyle, stress levels and she reassured me that the pain would cease. Most importantly she told me that I could carry on doing my usual physical activities and only to back off as soon as there was pain.
This is usually what I as well ask my students to do during classes. Exploring until the stretch becomes too much, the slight discomfort should never become pain. Some of the fears of hurting ourselves are just mental barriers we create which we could overcome by just simply trying and seeing how “bad” or not that posture feels. Marta was instrumental in suppressing that fear and to provide me with insights on how good functioning of the pelvic floor can help with back pains. With all this knew knowledge I started reading my anatomy texts again and kept exchanging views and advice with her. After all we both have at heart the wellbeing of the body and despite hers being a therapeutical approach the end result is the same.
I have found a great therapist but also a knowledgeable and enthusiastic person with whom I can share thoughts, articles and who understands my yogic perspective.”
- Thanks for reading! 🙂
- If you enjoyed it you can say hello on Facebook | Instagram
- If you think this article might be helpful for you or someone you know please share it with others
- If you want to keep receiving more info about pelvic health and Women’s health physiotherapy subscribe to my Newsletter HERE
- If you want to book a Women’s health Physiotherapy consultation with me click HERE
- If you are looking for a Yoga teacher that understands pain, injury and recovery you can find Grace HERE