From Living with Chronic Back Pain to Loving Life with Shannon

The Gymnastics Journey

When Shannon was ten, she began training in martial arts and eventually achieved the rank of black belt. Her gymnastics career followed as she always wanted to and continued until she graduated from high school. During her senior year of high school, she broke her foot at a gymnastics competition when she landed on one foot on top of another while attempting a back tuck on a balance beam. This was a crushing blow to her after she had missed the states, regionals, and national championships her senior year. She underwent two surgeries and still has a plate and eight screws in her foot. Even though Shannon’s competitive gymnastics career ended at this point, she went on to coach gymnastics for many years until she was forced to stop because of back and shoulder injuries.

Dealing with Unexplained Back Pain

A woman riding an Echo Bike in a gym
Just another fun day at Bent On Better Personal Training Gym.

Around her mid-20s Shannon attended the gym and worked with a trainer, where she remembers practicing a specific back machine workout. She once complained that her back was hurting but was advised that it might be because she had been sitting in the chair all day and needed to work out more to strengthen her back. But the more they did it, the more she was in excruciating pain. Getting back into the gym was difficult after she had quit seeing her personal trainer.

She then discovered a new gym, a boot camp-style, high-intensity, high-impact gym, which she found to be her favorite. Her trainers were aware that her back was still hurting, and they modified or avoided certain activities to strengthen it. Her MRIs and X-rays revealed nothing serious except a minor disc slip, but she was still in excruciating pain. The fact that she was unable to do simple things like sleep, sit, walk, or stand was frustrating, but she accepted it as part of her condition, that this was the way things were going to be, and worked through it.

A year and a half ago, Shannon performed a suicide drill in her former gym, but as soon as she turned around, she could not walk and had to be taken to the floor by her trainer. She lay there for an hour before they nearly called an ambulance since she could not get up. Finally, she went to the hospital and was told that she didn’t have anything wrong with her.

Your trainer must understand exactly what is going on with your body, so they can tailor the program to accommodate your needs.

Finding the Right Gym for Her
As a final resort, someone recommended she consult a physical therapist after a long battle with back pains. Nisha, who wasn’t even her first choice, ended up being the ideal PT for her, helping her walk, move, and lift more comfortably. While also looking for a gym, Shannon avoided any with high-impact workouts because she was afraid it would worsen her injuries. Nisha was so kind enough to check out every gym in the neighborhood until she found Bent On Better, which would be the ideal gym for Shannon.

Today, Shannon has made tremendous improvement, and she can now do the things she was previously unable to because of her injuries. Although she enjoyed her previous gym and the people she met there, she decided to stick with Bent On Better because it was better suited to her needs. She realized she didn’t have to do high-intensity, high-impact boot camp-style workouts to get in shape, get stronger, and heal.

“It just makes me happy that when I walk in the door here, I don’t have to think what to do because you guys as trainers know my pain and what I can and can’t do. If I can’t do something that’s in programming it’s no big deal. It’s super individualized to everybody in the room no matter if you’re 10 or 65, pain or no pain, you can walk in this door and get a legit, good workout for you and that is super important to me.” – Shannon G.

There are answers.

Life is a tricky thing. You can never know what will happen or when things will change. One day you might be dealing with some curveball, and the next, you’re living your dream. In other words, the only way to deal with life is to show up, and throw yourself out there. The best things come to those who just show up and are willing to give it a shot.

 Don’t stop until you find answers. I was very close to just giving up and thinking that’s how I had to live my life but you don’t have to. There are answers. Just do something, keep going, keep fighting for yourself, keep fighting your family or whoever it is you need to fight for and just take that step in the door, just don’t give up no matter what.  Find your place find your people find those who genuinely truly care about you and take it and run with it. Just do something. – Shannon G.

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