Pippa CrowtherPersonal Trainer
In early 2000 I developed severe low back pain and combined with the loss of sensation in my leg I was admitted to hospital as an emergency. After several weeks in hospital I was discharged home on multiple medications, still in incredible pain and told just to “get on with it”.
By 2003 there was no change and I was granted Ill Health Retirement from the NHS. I had worked as a Nurse since the age of 18. I was told at this stage I would never expect to walk again unaided and as a consequence was registered disabled.
By 2004 my house is adapted and I required a full time carer to assist with my day-to-day life. My bedroom became my home. If I went out it was by ambulance and stretcher, simply to travel to hospital appointments. I could walk very short distances with my crutches and only with support from a carer. I was provided with a wheelchair.
I was referred to the Royal National Orthopaedic hospital in Stanmore in 2004 for a final opinion. I was offered a relatively knew spinal surgery technique that had just been licensed. No real long term patient outcomes had ever been measured. I was told that at best it would improve my quality of life but not cure me and I would never be totally pain free.
Total Intervertebral Disc Replacement surgery had just finished its trial period, it was considered incredibly risky I was told that death or paralysis were very real outcomes. I decided to go ahead.
Following a brief period in intensive care, I woke up with NO back pain. Ten days later I was discharged home from hospital no longer in an ambulance but by car and I was able to sit up for the first time in a very long time with the aid of a spinal brace.
Six weeks later I returned to the hospital for my first check-up walking unaided and by car. Six months later I travelled back by tube with no assistance and a year later I drove myself for follow up.
There was no physiotherapy and rehab available at this time as it was a newly licenced procedure. I therefore had to do my own. Six months later I joined a gym for the first time in my life.
In 2007 I was finally discharged from Stanmore.
The success of my operation surprised many and I felt incredibly grateful and still do to this day. I felt then, as I still do now, that if I could help people, you guys, to achieve basic day to day functional movements, celebrate what your body can do, get stronger, move better and feel better about themselves; while helping to find a way of exercising that is enjoyable and allowed for consistency, then that is what I would do.
It took a lot to enrol on a course. Heavily male dominated and full of ‘younger and fitter people than me’. There were very few female Personal Trainers at this time.
By the time I started I knew I had something very different to offer. Real life experience, experience of the effect of mental health on physical activity, the importance of goal setting and going after what you want.
In 2009 I completed my Diploma in Personal Training. This included, nutrition and weight management, the management of prenatal and post natal clients, care of the ageing, training young people, sport specific training, core and functional training.
Subsequently I completed high level qualifications in the Management of Low Back Pain and the Exercise Referral Scheme.
I have recently completed a certificate for the training pre and post menopausal women.
I have specific qualifications to in TRX, Kettlebells and ViPR.
I genuinely love my job I regularly train myself at least five to six times a week. I use a combination of strength training, cardiovascular training and mobility training.
Physical activity has been so important for my recovery both mentally and physically.
My aim is to make fitness fun for any age, any fitness level and any ability.
Celebrate what your body/our bodies can achieve.