‘Exercise helped me heal’
Pilates instructor and mum of two Jeannie Di Bon, 47, from London, developed chronic pain after her second pregnancy. ‘After the birth of my son in 2006, I began getting neck and shoulder pain and daily headaches. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t pick up the boys and lost feeling in my left arm.
A physiotherapist recommended Pilates. I loved it from the first lesson, and it had such an impact that I decided to train as an instructor. To beat chronic pain, you have to work with the brain and the body. Chronic pain sufferers have an overreaction of the pain receptors in their brains, which fire off messages all the time. You need to calm that bit of the brain – I do that with meditation. I also incorporate movement every day and avoid inflammatory foods, so anything that comes in a packet – ready meals, crisps, biscuits. Exercise is great for pain, but you have to love what you do. For me, that’s Pilates, but for others it might be walking, tennis or dance. I’m so grateful my pain is behind me.’