Painkillers or Pilates?

It was Friday 27th May 1994, there was an air of optimism as the UK started to wind down for a sunny bank holiday weekend. I had just nipped out to my local village shops for some provisions before going, with my then boyfriend, to Wales for the weekend.

Now, the village where I grew up is split down the middle by the A34 – the main road into Manchester that then snakes through England all the way down to Southampton. Before the bypass was built it was a busy road, and on this balmy afternoon the traffic was at a standstill due to traffic lights further into the village.

I needed to cross the road to grab a last item of shopping (a jar of pickle, if you were wondering).  A good-natured lorry driver signalled me out into the middle of the road in front of him and that is when life as I knew it was changed forever!

Before I knew it I was lying on the floor, having been hit by a motorbike courier who had been overtaking the standing traffic.

Within moments there was a big crowd around me – so much so that my brother, who was also in the village at the time, didn’t even realise it was me in the middle of the road. I lay there wondering if I was going to make it to Wales perhaps if not today, maybe tomorrow. It wasn’t until the paramedics tried to move me that the severity of my accident started to become clear.

After moving swiftly through A&E I learnt I had sheared my pelvis in half – if you have ever seen an X-ray with a small line depicting a break, this was a two-inch gap from top to bottom, I was only thankful it wasn’t two inches further round as it could have been my spine.

After a morphine induced weekend and having been moved to a specialist hospital, I was given the option – weeks and weeks of traction that did not promise a full recovery, or to be the first person in the UK to have their pelvis ‘successfully’ internally fixed (it had been tried unsuccessfully in the previous year).

I clearly gained some inner strength from somewhere as I opted for the operation which was carried out by a specialist who came down from Scotland to perform the 12-hour procedure. As you can see my pelvis looks like a piece of Meccano (and no, I don’t go off through security in the airport).

My recovery was slow.

The amazing team caring for me were over-cautious given the unsuccessful procedure the previous year. I went from months of bedrest to a wheelchair and the hydropool to the Zimmer frame and, eventually, learning to walk again. After months I was mobile on crutches and allowed to go home.  I went on to complete my final year of university and began to come to terms with the limitations that brought the pain back. (Standing still is the worst!)

Now this brings me back to the title of this story, for about 10 years after the ‘argument with the motorbike’ I tried my best to manage the pain. After visits to many different Chiropractors, I found an amazing McTimoney Chiropractor and with a combination of visits, supported with painkillers, I managed to learn to ski, start riding crazy horses again (I grew up doing this) and travelling extensively for work.

But I found myself taking more painkillers and my visits to the Chiropractor were getting closer and closer together. Not only that but my Chiropractor was about to retire. This was not sustainable.

I went back to the doctors and this is where the story changes and becomes incredibly relevant to what we do at the Amplified Group.

The forward-thinking doctor signed me up for a course of Pilates run by the NHS – this has quite definitely changed my life.  Through the course I learnt how to strengthen my core and the regular exercises that help me control the pain without any painkillers.  I then found myself a local Pilates teacher and now with conscious effort and regular practice I am able to independently ‘take care’ of myself.

So, I hear you say, great story, Vic but how is this relevant to what the Amplified Group do?

Choose your journey to recovery


So, let me turn it around and ask you,

“How many times have you in your corporate life listened to a motivational speaker or been on a course where, for a few weeks afterwards, you have had best intentions but you soon fall back into ‘the old way’?”

This is how I think organisations ‘take care’ of their culture. They think a quick hit with an off-site team building session, a leadership course, or a motivational keynote is going to fix things . . . like taking a shot of painkillers.

At the Amplified Group we take the Pilates approach of building teams that are made to last.

We don’t just deliver a workshop and leave you to it.  Support continues as needed by helping you create healthy team habits that are intrinsic to your everyday work life. We are on the journey with you to continually strive for better.

Imagine being able to handle anything that comes your way in work because you know you’re strong enough – you know your manager and team has your back, and you have theirs. We spend the majority of our life at work and it has to be a place of safety, a place where we can grow as a person for the better, where we listen to one another and are able to take the best route forward.

Compassion in the business world can be difficult when there’s a revenue number to hit but, to build a business that lasts, you need as much focus on people as anything else.

There’s plenty of research to show unhealthy teams = stress, sickness, resignations, internal competition and ultimately, a failing business.

As with my Pilates, to maintain a healthy functioning body, we provide a way for companies to take care of themselves to be successful.

For this to happen an organisation needs to constantly work at its culture’s fitness. It needs to put regular practice in daily so that it becomes muscle memory across the entire organisation. This is why what we do is different.

What we do may sound simple, but in practice can be hard without the right support.

We are passionate about helping develop healthy team habits so you and everyone in your team become more successful.

Give it a try, after all, what have you got to lose?


Blog Author Vicky Reddington

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