A formerly hunched-over eighty-six-year-old New York woman now stands tall thanks to yoga.
For decades, Anna Pesce says a herniated disc, scoliosis and osteoporosis gave her a hunchback-like posture and immense pain, the New York Post reports.
“I had this horrible pain shooting up my back,” said Pesce, recalling the time she visited her children in South Carolina in late 2014. “I had to be carried up the stairs and put into a wheelchair for the rest of my stay.”
Pesce says she tried everything to heal her back, from physical therapy to seeing a chiropractor. Nothing provided long-term relief.
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Her destiny changed, however, a few months after visiting her children when she started taking yoga classes with 28-year-old instructor, Rachel Jesien.
Jesien, who has scoliosis, specializes in back care and knew just what to do to help Pesce.
She herself had sought out yoga to help with her condition in 2010.
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“I had to wear a back brace for five years and went to physical therapy every week, but [yoga] was the only thing that worked,” says Jesien.
After only the first month of classes, Pesce said she immediately began to see results.
Now, two years later, she is a much happier woman.
Not only did the yoga help treat Pesce's pain, it also allows her to stand tall, improving her mobility in more than one way.
“I feel wonderful now because I can drive by myself and do the things I wasn’t able to do before,” Pesce said.
Dr. Houman Danesh, director of integrative pain management at Mount Sinai Hospital, agrees yoga can help people with back conditions like Pesce's.
“Doing weight-bearing exercises like squats and lunges can definitely increase bone density,” said Danesh. “Yoga poses can be easily extrapolated to have the same effect."
But Danesh stresses individuals should get a diagnosis from a physical therapist first.
“I would rather patients see a great physical therapist over a great yoga instructor,” Danesh said. “But what’s important is that people get individual care and attention.”
Yet yoga may not be for everybody. For some, surgery was more effective.
"My Mom was hunched over and had the same problems as this woman," writes Nancy Anderson Gibbs on LittleThings' Facebook page. "The only way you can fix this is with surgery. If only it were this simple."