Every married women will very likely cringe whenever the term “mother-in-law” is brought up in any conversation. I am one of those lucky ones to have a lovely mother-in-law who is very independent despite being sickly. She is 78 years old this year and was a nurse who did her nursing scholarship in UK.
After we moved back to Australia, it dawned on me that it is inevitable that we will have more frequent contacts/visits with my mother-in-law. With every initial conversation pleasantries, my mother-in-law will usually continue to tell us about the pain that she is having on the back, neck, legs, cramps etc. Everyday there will be some form of pain being brought up as we speak. Some days, I avoided asking her how is she as I already anticipated what she would say. I tried asking if she had been to physiotherapy, acupuncture, Pilates, etc. She will always have an answer ready for me. It is like “she has been through and done that and that I am a step slower than her”.
Having said that, with her past experience as a nurse, she knows the importance of being diligent in physiotherapy and it is something that she does not missed. Sadly physiotherapy alone could not help her much. She tried acupuncture but the needles were too painful. She tried Pilates but the exercises were too tough for her and she couldn’t do them. She had consulted chiropractor on a few occasions but it did nothing to elevate her back and neck ache. She had an answer for almost anything that I suggested that she try. She had surgeries done in her back and shoulder before and hence I can understand the intensity of the pain that she is feeling whenever it hits her. Somehow none of the things that she tried or took to have done much to help her in her situation. Though I can get “annoyed” with her whenever we are at this topic of her pain, deep down inside, I secretly wished I can have or help her find the right “antidote”.
Meanwhile, I started going for Pilates classes as part of my fitness regime. It had been something that I heard about but didn’t get the time to do when I was in Singapore. My husband was surprised that I continued with my Pilates classes after I completed the beginner’s lessons. He was even more surprised that I increased the number of classes that I go to every week and the fact that I was looking forward to going, surprises myself too. I felt really good after each Pilates workout and the exercises are actually not difficult exercises. In fact, the exercises can be modified to suit each individual’s condition. People noticed that I look different. Even my mother-in-law! She had her opinion on Pilates since it didn’t work for her. I tried convincing her to give it another go as I have seen many elderly women attending the same Pilates class as me. If they can do those exercises, I don’t see why my mother-in-law couldn’t. She wasn’t keen, as she has tried Pilates before, so she said.
Lately, she started seeing a chiropractor again. She has been telling us how good this chiropractor is. She felt good these days after each chiro session with her. I thought about what she said and asked her how different is this chiropractor from the previous one that she had seen. Her answer was the chiropractor’s hands were good and her suggested exercises were easy for my mother-in-law to do. My mother-in-law even suggested that I go with her for her next appointment so that I can see for myself.
The day came and I accompanied her. The chiropractor went about her ways to examine my mother-in-law. It was all routine until she asked my mother-in-law if she has been doing the few exercises that she had drawn up for her. My mother-in-law said she had not been doing them, as she has forgotten some of the exercises. The chiropractor demonstrated the exercises again and told my mother-in-law that she needs to strengthen her core. Being kyphotic lordorsis, my mother-in-law encounters frequent neckaches. Her protruding stomach is putting a strain on her back and she needs to build up her core muscles at the abdominal. Emphasis of the exercise regime for her is to focus on intercoastal breathing and using breathing to work on the respective muscles. There and then, I felt enlightened and it struck me that the recommended exercises are all Pilates-related and how useful they are! After leaving the clinic, my mother-in-law was surprised when I told her that these are basic Pilates exercises.
Ever since that trip with my mother-in-law to the chiropractor, I have been thinking about how Pilates can improve one’s overall wellbeing not only for the immediate day to day but also for the future. It is definitely a good hedge to have when we grow older. That’s when I started my research on Pilates instructor course so as to learn more about Pilates.
Pilates is something I never regret picking up and is also definitely something that I will grow old with other, than with my beloved family….
Michelle, Mar 2015 Pilates Matwork Instructor Course, Tirisula Yoga