IT IS OFFICIAL, MY CORE MUSCLES DO EXIST AND IT IS NO LONGER A MYTH!
Yesterday was the first time in years that I did not feel pain upon walking. It shocked me at first if I am honest. I was there waiting for the pelvic aches and pains to depressingly kick in at any moment……but instead they never came(or else at least not til much later on). I could not believe it, if anything I expected more pain upon walking not less. I felt like sharing this exciting new feeling with random people that past me by in the street, however somehow I refrained myself from doing so. It had to be down to me doing these those CORE exercises over the past four weeks. As I walked to the barber’s I thought to myself, ‘I NOW KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO HAVE CORE MUSCLES AT LONG LAST!
Thanks to my late Dad being such a massive sports fan, very early on sport became a very big part of my life whilst growing up as a kid. I loved watching sport on the telly and regularly played lots too. On family holidays, once we had landed then we would immediately look for the nearest ‘pitch and putt’ place(short golf). Tennis and bowls would often feature too. No family holiday was complete without us playing cricket on the beach or on nearby playing fields. Being active and sporty was in my blood from a very early age.
In my early teens, my love for playing and watching sport grew stronger and stronger. I played football for my Secondary school. I was also captain of my school cricket team. I played junior club cricket and won several trophies for my individual efforts. In late my teens and early twenties I really got into the gym. I loved looking physically fit. I also loved how ‘working out’ helped with stress. THEN DISASTER HAPPENED!
Aged twenty-one, I became really unwell. I started having terrible pains in my abdomen and it hurt like hell to pass water. I was also feeling the need to pass water about every five minutes. It was literally a nightmare of an experience. It took me around two and half years to finally get the correct diagnosis. Thankfully, prostate cancer was twice ruled out after undergoing two seperate investigations. I was diagnosed with a health condition called Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis(whatever that meant, I could barely pronounce it never mind know what it fully meant). In layman’s terms, it meant I had a prostate infection. I was told the bladder trouble was thus due to this infection and that I might suffer with an irritable bladder now for the rest of my life.
In time things did improve enough for me to go back to University and complete my degree. However, this awful ordeal left me chronic pelvic pain. I was like a pregnant woman suffering from inflamed pelvic joints due to the weight of the baby, but in my case obviously there was no baby. At the start it hurt my pelvis to walk even short distances. With the aid of anti-inflammatory drugs and a herbal remedy called quercetin, I slowly but surely started being able to be more physically active. Nevertheless, my cricketing and gym days now seemed like a remote possibility sadly. I channeled all my frustration about this into trying to get my degree.
When University was over I started seeing two physios about my pelvic pain. I had one helping my internal pelvic floor muscles and the other correcting my muscoskeletal issues. Regarding the latter physio, I can remember her saying all the time how much I needed to strengthen my core stability muscles. “You do not really have a big belly” she used to say. Instead, she stated how over the years my abdominal and core muscles have just flopped forwards. She had me squeezing my tummy in really hard. “Your core muscles are sooooooo important” she kept saying because they help hold you up and help give you balance. I agreed with all what she was saying however frustatingly it absolutely killed me to do these core exercises. My pelvic floor muscles are currently all too tight and inflamed. Therefore, whenever I went to tighten up my core, I would also as a consequence end up tightening my already too tight pelvic floor. Result was that I stopped doing any further attempts to help strengthen up my core muscles. I must have tried about half a dozen times to cope with the pelvic PAIN that tightening my core would bring on, but I just could not cope with it.
Fast forward to about four weeks ago. I hated the way I looked(see a recent previous blog) regarding feeling overweight. I had a bit of a tummy on me and I felt embarrassed by it, ashamed even. Thing is though, I had been feeling like this for ages yet had not really tried to do anything about it. I have been feeling really depressed with mental and physical health issues so had no motivation. THEN I GOT MOTIVATED and thought as well as dieting, I really needed to try doing those core tightening exercises again.
At first I did them really gently just to see how sore my pelvis would get afterwards. Yes, doing them did hurt my pelvis a bit but it was pain that I could handle. Some days I would squeeze my core in too tightly though which would then absolutely kill my pelvis. I walked a fair way to my doctors about three weeks ago and it felt so painful to walk. My pelvis was really hurting and I was sure it was down to doing the ruddy core exercises. I nearly gave up doing them about two weeks ago but I carried on because my stomach looked unrecognisable(in a good way).
In the four weeks I have daily done core exercises my tummy has at least HALVED in size. I am staggered by how smaller it looks. I would no longer feel embarrassed if I had to take my top off now in public. A more toned upper body has even given me a bit more confidence as a person. The only downside to all of this is that as well as hurting my pelvis somewhat, the core exercises have really made my sciatica a lot worse. I am guessing it is the increased pressure on my sciatic nerve via the tightening up of my core and pelvis that is the issue.
I have not got run before I can walk though. My lower back and pelvis are in still a bad way. I need many weeks of physiotherapy on them both. I hope to re-start the anxious journey of seeing somebody about them very soon. Nevertheless, I am still happy as well as encouraged that my walk yesterday was relatively pain free due to me doing the core exercises. When I go and see a physio soon then at least they cannot be have a go at me now for having not having any core muscles. Yesterday, I felt I had more power in my legs. Rather than struggling up hills and feeling like a right weakling with no power, I sort of did a ‘power walk’ up them. Today as expected my pelvis is all achy. I just hope it does not get too bad because just for a short time there yesterday, I forgot what it was like to suffer with utterly devastating chronic pelvic pain all of the time.
I have FINALLY found that my core muscles do exist………….HELLO BOYS, IT’S SO GOOD TO FEEL AND SEE YOU ONCE AGAIN!