In 2003 when I was in my late 20’s I was involved in a car accident which left me with a burst vertebrae in my neck, the fragmented bones just millimetres from severing my spinal cord. I had a bone graft from my hip to build a new C5 vertebrae and two titanium plates now hold C4-C6 fixed together for me. I was put into a halo frame for 8 weeks and had months of physio, it was a long journey physically and emotionally but I felt very lucky to have narrowly escaped being paralysed from the chest down.
Although I feel I have made a really positive recovery some of the on-going problems from my injury have meant that it doesn’t take much for me to suffer muscular problems in my back, shoulders and neck which can leave me in pain and with severe headaches. Over the years I have discovered the things that can worsen my symptoms and just tried to manage that as best I can. I had to have a massage every month to keep the muscular pain under control. I struggled with exercise as things like cycling, swimming and running put too much stress into my shoulders and as a result I was left feeling quite disillusioned and resigned myself to thinking that exercise was never going to be easy until I came across LRG Fitness…….
After weeks of over-thinking I dropped Nina an email and told her about my injuries and my concerns, she promptly came back to me and arranged a telephone conversation. We talked at length about my physical issues but also about my mental blocks around exercise. Nina’s knowledge in sports rehabilitation was very apparent, as was her understanding in the fears surrounding injuries. She assured me that they would always be accessible for further advice and support should I decide to sign up. I felt very reassured by this and she suggested I take some time to review what we had discussed. I don’t really know why I felt I had to keep thinking about the decision to sign up. I think it was this nagging thought that “what if I fail”, “don’t do my video’s regularly enough” or “what if I make my neck worse” but once I realised that I was just overthinking again and just making excuses I decided to go for it!
Nina called me again and we went through some extra warm up stretches for my neck and the same for the warm down and I embarked on my LRG journey……….
Nina stayed in contact to see how my first few weeks were going and I just followed Nina on the workouts to start with (the easier version of the exercise). One week I think I pushed myself too much and found that my neck & shoulders were very tight, I panicked and dropped Nina an email and again she offered her words of wisdom and extra stretches to help ease things, which it did. I am now 9 months in and most weeks I complete the HIIT workout 2/3 times and I am proud to say I am now following Ben on workouts (the advanced version of the exercise). I have really been able to break away from my injury problems and the associated fears. I have slowly built up my resilience and this has enabled me to pass through the mind set of “I can’t do that because of my neck”. I have realised that building up my physical strength and in particular around my areas of weakness has had such a positive impact on my symptoms. I no longer need a massage every month, instead it’s a treat every 6 months or so. My outlook on exercise has changed dramatically I now actually enjoy it and see it as a welcome challenge. With Nina’s guidance and support I have learnt my limitations and recognise when I need to pull back from a particular exercise. LRG Fitness has truly changed my life and my thinking about exercise, I can see how beneficial it has become to my wellbeing and how being stronger and fitter has helped alleviate the side effects from my accident.
My advice to anyone that has a physical weakness with their body and is wary, apprehensive or fearful of committing to an exercise programme, then this is exactly the programme to consider. Start to build up your confidence in the comfort and security of your own home, you are in control of the pace and you have expert advice on hand for reassurance. Don’t keep putting it off and hide behind your injury I am living proof that I am now so much more than the girl who broke her neck. I can now see that this exercise has become an essential way of life for me and has lessened my symptoms and pain in ways I could not have imagined.
Rachel Warner: September 2017