Instead of Giving Up, She Tried Something New. It Worked Wonders!
Anna Pesce was always up for trying something new instead of giving up. She was about to put that theory to a major test! Anna’s fragile spine was literally collapsing. At 85, she just assumed she had to live with osteoporosis, scoliosis and a herniated disk. Her back was curved forward into an S-shaped hump. Anna knew many older people lived with challenges, so she accepted what she thought she couldn’t change.
In 2014 her ability to ‘live with it’ abruptly ended when Anna made a visit to her children. Her porous spine suddenly gave way and she dropped to the floor while climbing stairs. In terrible pain, she was placed in a wheel chair and there she stayed.
That could have been the end for Anna. Falls and stumbles like this one are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most frequent of emergency room visits. Survived falls often compromise quality of life and lead to depression and demise.
Imprisoned in a wheel chair and in terrible pain, Anna knew she could not give up. She had tried chiropractors and acupuncture. She decided to brave something entirely off course.
She called Rachel Jesien, a yoga instructor.
How could an 85-year-old grandmother in a wheel chair participate in yoga?
Thoracic kyphosis, or hunched upper back, causes people significant pain, height loss and disability. Unbalanced stance makes falls a given, and low bone density contributes to broken disks and substantial pain. A seriously hunched back puts pressure on internal organs, compromising the lungs and lowering oxygen intake. Anna’s scenario was not very hopeful.
Rachel Jesein is a certified yoga instructor specializing in back care, so Anna’s choice was within the ball park. Rachel has scoliosis herself and overcame the pain through yoga. She had tried everything else, too. Yoga was the only practice that gave relief. Pain is a great motivator.
It’s hard to put an exaggerated spin on osteoporosis. It is the most wide-spread and chronic of conditions in the Western world. It causes a million fractures each year, mostly vertebral injuries like Anna’s.
The practice of yoga may actually cause bones to strengthen and resist greater amounts of pressure. Yoga Contributor Loren Fishman, MD, reports that Yoga grows bone mass because the poses stretch, pull and push bones from every angle.
Anna and Rachel had a meeting. Rachel would agree with Doctor Fishman. She believes yoga can strengthen muscles, harden porous bones and relieve pain.
They decided to team up for yoga on a weekly basis.
Anna began to walk again within a month. Within another month, Anna had learned poses to do when pain began to creep back. If she was experiencing hip pain, for example, she would sit on a chair and practice an ankle to knee position. She learned restorative poses like chair savasana and the child’s pose.
Four months later, in a dramatic burst of self-determination, Anna triumphed with a modified headstand! This from a woman who had to be carried and placed in a wheel chair just four months earlier!
Yoga solved more than back pain for Anna. Today her humped position has vanished, and she stands straight and tall.
Anna tried something new and it worked wonders! Two years have passed since Anna determined to change her future, and she and Rachel practice yoga together every week.