Member Spotlight: How Pilates Healed Sandra’s Pain From Spinal Stenosis

spinal stenosis pilates sandra member spotlight

In today’s Pilatesology Member Spotlight, we learn the miraculous benefits of a consistent Pilates practice from our member, Sandra Malkovsky. Sandra was diagnosed in 2015 with spinal stenosis and bone degeneration in her spine and struggled with pain and numbness in her body. Read on to learn how Pilates made the biggest difference for her.

Spinal stenosis happens when the space inside the backbone is too small. This can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves that travel through the spine. Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck. The most common cause of spinal stenosis is wear-and-tear changes in the spine related to arthritis. – Mayo Clinic

“I was diagnosed six years ago with stenosis and bone degeneration in my spine, C2 – C6. The symptoms are a sudden wave of pain and numbness which starts in the neck, flows down my shoulders, down into my arms and hands. For a short time, my arms were so heavy I could hardly move them, so I would just sit still and wait for it to pass, which it did within a couple of minutes. I was treated with steroid shots at first which worked great for nine months.

Being in the world of alternative medicine, my doctor was opposed to living on steroids and suggested I start using an inversion table to give my spine relief. Spending 20 minutes at least three time a week inverted, getting the weight off my neck, worked pretty well and kept the episodes at bay. Of course, hanging on that table is not fun and I often would skip a couple of days and the episodes would return and remind me to get back on.

Then, last November the episodes stopped.  I stopped using the table.  My husband, David, was nervous that this problem would come back with a roar and I’d be in big trouble.  I wanted to push it, and see how far I could go before trouble returned.  Because I had a theory.

The episodes stopped last November, three months after I quit all other exercises and started focusing on Pilates seriously and consistently.

Pilatesology Member, Sandra Malkovsky

This week I saw my neurologist for my yearly checkup. I told him what had happened and that I no longer use the table. I asked if it could be Pilates. He was delighted and enthusiastic. Absolutely, Absolutely it is the Pilates. And then he started telling me why it was the Pilates and all the benefits, which I already had come to know first-hand.

He loves Pilates. And I love Pilates too.”

Sandra sent us her original story in March 2021 and has provided an update 2 years later (January 2023):

“I thought I’d let you know that I have continued pain free since my last update.  My neurologist remains delighted.  Yes, I am very happy to renew my subscription with Pilatesology.   

I have loved the program Intermediate to Advanced Mat Progression.  I’ve been doing it over and over since it started and have learned so much.  I am not an advanced student, but I enjoy learning these hard exercises and the thrill when one of those advanced moves suddenly clicks.”

We’re so incredibly happy for you Sandra and wish you continued health and happiness!

Specific exercises in Pilates are beneficial for spinal injury and back pain because they are designed to strengthen your core muscles, which also strengthens the muscles surrounding your spine. See a filtered list of spine-safe workouts here.

If you have a Pilates success story that you’d like to share, please send us a note at

Check out the program Sandra mentioned above that she continues to practice on repeat! :

Here is our spine-safe mat program that doesn’t involve bending or flexion:

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