Featured In Chat Magazine October 2023
Back pain can really challenge people and we find that so many of our members, perhaps like yourself struggle for too long without proper relief. Ultimately, finding the right program and support meant that Alison was finally able to return to a hobby that she loved.
This year, Alison was able to travel to Italy for an air ballon event and was one of 75 hot air balloons floating up in the sky, but it didn’t start there!
Alison Stevenson, 53, Shropshire
Kicking a cardboard box next to my desk at work, I felt a pop in my back. ‘Oh no,’ I groaned to myself.
It was February 2012 and ever since doing a handstand in a swimming pool as a teen I’d suffered fro back pain.
Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, nothing had been more than a quick fix. In time, I’d had to give up the activities I’d always loved, like horse riding and car racing.
But now it felt like something more sinister. ‘Just nipping out,’ I told my colleagues through gritted teeth. Walking up the road my back was in agony. In the supermarket I couldn’t even bend down to pick up a carton of milk.
Returning to the office, I made my excuses and left. Somehow I managed to drive home. That was the last time I drove for 3 months…
Over the next few days the pain got progressively worse, rippling through my right leg. I couldn’t walk the dog, and sitting down was agony. Could only stand, or lie over an inflatable gym ball. ‘One of your discs is partially prolapsed and your Sciatic nerve has been crushed,’ said the Doctor.
‘You need surgery.’
Without it I could be in a wheelchair for years to come. Desperate to be mobile again, I underwent the discectomy and decompression surgery. I then faced three months of recovery. Yet while it had taken away some pain, I still had a numb feeling in my right foot.
Over the next year I tried Physio again, plus Pilates and Yoga. Yet again, everything was a temporary fix. The pain returned and I couldn’t enjoy gardening or dog walks.
In 2017 I met Peter, then 56, who I married soon after. He introduced me to hot air ballooning and it became a hobby we enjoyed together.
Only it wasn’t easy on my poor back. So much carrying equipment, holding on tightly, it was putting too much pressure on my body. ‘I don’t want to give it up.’ I groaned to Peter. I’d already sacrificed so many activities I enjoyed. But I even felt like I was struggling with my posture and walking.
One evening in January 2023 I was desperately Googling a solution and came across the Back In Shape Program. Watching one of their videos, I welled up. ‘This sounds like exactly what I need.’ I said to Peter.
I signed up and began the exercises the programme recommended for me. Resistance training and tutorials on how to maintain a healthy back. And the results were almost instant. I felt a different, new ‘pop’ in my back. Only, this time it was a pop of positivity!
Soon I felt strong enough to resume hot air ballooning. And in July this year we travelled to Italy for an event featuring 75 balloons. Floating up to the sky, I felt like I’d started a new chapter in my life. A future without any back pain.
For the first time I feel like I understand what my back needs.
Back In Shape hasn’t been a quick fix, it’s been life changing.