Enhance Magazine - Page 9

member spotlight Pierce’s condition is not well known, nor is it well understood. His particular spinal cord injury, aside from rendering him immobile for some time, causes the brain stem to compress, leading to a bodily imbalance. One side of his body experiences things such as tightened neck muscles, hamstrings, and calf muscles, as well as contracted shoulder and spinal muscles. The injury also causes that same side’s shoulder to sit lower, the hip to be raised, and the leg to be shorter. All of these effects can result in a variety of daily pain. Over my whole life, my body was twisting itself. Eventually, I was completely immobile for about four years. I went from running 80-90 miles a week and being extremely fit to being immobile. I had several different doctors who couldn’t figure out what was happening, and finally I found a doctor who knew what was wrong with me. I had gotten a recommendation from the physical therapist here at Elite, Andrew Rudawsky. He would send all the patients that he knew who needed more help to this particular doctor. I saw him and he knew what was wrong with me right away. I have been seeing him for the last three to four years. From when I was 19-22, I didn’t know what was wrong with me, so it was nice to finally have someone who was able to help me. When I was 25, I was finally able to walk again. It was the only form of exercise I could do, which was really boring for me as someone who was used to more strenuous activity. Last year I was able to start swimming a little. It My end goal is to get healthy, run again, and break 4 minutes to the mile. was still pretty painful, but now I can swim around 2 miles every day. I have also been doing yoga and tai chi for the past year and a half, which has been really helpful. I went skiing five times this year and have mountain biked a little bit. I want to be able to lift again, so I am seeing a trainer here about getting back into it. I’m hoping to get back to being able to compete [with running]. I’m going to try to race in a triathlon this year, just the swim part. I have friends who will do a relay with me. My end goal is to get healthy, run again, and break 4 minutes to the mile. I ran 4:20 when I was in high school. I’m just happy to be back in a gym. I’m really happy with everything here.” Swimming is a low-impact sport, which is why it works well for Pierce. The water relieves tension and pressure on your joints, while still providing sufficient resistance to engage and challenge your muscles. For many athletes recovering from an injury, swimming is a great option. enhance magazine | MAY 2016 9