Spine Series 1 – Katie Holmes

Your spine is the central axis of your body: your nervous system clings to it, your limbs root from it, your brain sits on top of it, the womb is cradled by it, your crown jewels adorn the end of it … whichever way you want to think about it, the spine is essential.

An axis is defined as a point around which something revolves. Which depicts the spine beautifully – because it isn’t a straight-forward structure, it’s not made of straight lines and hinges. It has curves, facets, arcs and eaves. It produces spirals, circles and spindles.

Katie Back BraceAnd each spine has its own specific story. Mine involves a car accident – broken back, smashed ribcage, a punctured lung and this super stylish back brace (photo taken recently). People’s questions usually revolve around how it happened, was I the passenger or driver, did anyone else get hurt…
My curiosity lies in my injuries and how the whispers of them still lie in my movement more than 5 years later. Only movers, anatomy nerds and Pilates teachers find the details of any interest.

For those of you who don’t spend all day thinking about your psoas and talk about functional movement over coffee – here are…

Katie’s Top 6 Tips for A Broken Back

Intention: You can settle and grow into your injury, letting the pain and discomfort become part of your physical and spiritual identity, or you make a decision to grow stronger with it, learn to accept it and work with it. If you push it away, make it an enemy or ignore it-it will haunt you.

Moving every day: Obvious, maybe, but I’m not talking about after an injury. I was strong, healthy and fit when the accident happened, and so, dealing with the physical trauma was not as difficult as if may have been if all I was used to was sitting on my backside. There is even research that points to poor head posture increasing neck injuries and complications…this is where you should consider how much time you spend sitting?

Skilled Support: (Jett and Acupuncture): I know she’ll be shaking her head when she reads this but I credit her exceptional skill, knowledge and deep compassion with starting my healing. I was in bits physically and mentally when I went to her. Her needles cured the held tension and trauma around my spine, her Pilates classes eased me back towards spine health, and her compassion gave me the push I needed to get strong again.

I believe in therapists and teachers, not necessarily the therapy or movement you choose. For some people, it’s a physical therapy, for others its energy therapies or movement. What is empowering and powerful, is a reciprocal partnership built with that qualified teacher/therapist which gives you support in guiding mind and body back to health.

Kindness: Kindness to yourself first and to others. Yes, you can substitute compassion in here, but it cannot be overestimated. Not all paramedics, fire people, teachers, nurses, doctors, physios or humans in general, are capable of empathising and showing kindness or compassion to every patient, as I found out – it is the exception not the rule.

But when people are kind when you’re in pain or struggling to move (even as they’re sticking a large syringe into your glute) a smile, a kind word or funny joke, changes everything-the hard edges soften, the trauma quietens, it’s all bearable.

Rest and sleep: It should be number one. I moved as soon, as much, as intelligently and as fast as I could, but it was the long, deep hours of sleep that restored and cemented my strength.

Finally – Pilates: – Yes it works! Katie Teaser For me, for my clients, over and over and over and over again. Thankfully, every week, there’s a new scientific research article in the proven benefits, physically, mentally, emotionally of this system of movement. Pilates is an essential partner to anything you do be that boxing, baby-lifting, hillwalking, and of course, a broken back ?

If you have any questions relating to your broken back or other injuries feel free to get in touch