We Are Made of More Series - The Importance of Spinal Health: Our Backbones to Life

Written by Anna Ellis, Head of Brand & Nicola Geismar from The Free Your Spine Method

I met Nicola at a wonderful event full of amazing women back in May and was immediately taken by her beautiful vintage shirt that she was wearing. Like with any first meet, you grab on to a hook to start the conversation, and yes, the shirt was our cue but we quickly moved on when I asked Nicola about her work and learning of her expertise but also experience of intense spinal problems.

3 minute read


It quickly prompted me to say; ‘It’s amazing how we often take our spines for granted and yet they are the backbone to life!’

Nicola is the founder of the Free Your Spine Method and completely taken by her strength and determination to be the ‘backbone’ for her spine I asked if she would write a piece for Made of More on the importance of spinal health and why it’s particularly important as hormone levels start to dip. It’s not always about glowing from the outside; glowing stems from the inside first.

“In 2020, I experienced a severe back injury that brought my life to a standstill. The pain was excruciating, and even simple tasks like reaching for toilet paper triggered intense spasms. This incident occurred just as I was entering perimenopause, a time when my menstrual cycle became erratic, and my hormones were on a rollercoaster ride. This experience underscored the critical link between fluctuating estrogen levels during perimenopause and spinal health.

Our spine, a complex structure supported by muscles, ligaments, and tendons, is significantly affected by the hormonal changes of menopause. Estrogen is essential for maintaining the flexibility of these tissues. As estrogen levels decrease, the spine can shrink and lose flexibility, leading to discomfort and pain.
Studies show that up to 50% of women experience lower back pain during perimenopause and menopause.

To start feeling better and alleviate my intense pain, having hit a brick wall with conventional medicines and advice, I focused my attention on three key aspects.

First, I sought support from an incredible osteopath who provided the necessary care and nourishment.

Second, I incorporated soothing stretches into my routine, finding relief in simple movements like lying on my back with my legs up the wall and breathing deeply for ten minutes daily.

Finally, I practiced self-love chatter, using daily affirmations to reassure myself that the pain would pass and to recognize the lessons it was teaching me, while consistently speaking loving messages to my back.

Given my experience and 25 years in movement education, I want to share five self-loving spinal strategies to maintain and improve spinal health during perimenopause and beyond:

1. Daily Spinal Care Routine: Treat your spine with the same care you give your teeth. Dedicate time each day to move your spine. Incorporate simple exercises like cat/cow stretches in the morning and midday to maintain spinal mobility and suppleness.

2. Full Range of Motion: Regularly move your spine in all directions: forwards, backwards, side-to-side, and twisting. Our sedentary lifestyles demand that we frequently mobilize our backs and hips to prevent stiffness.

3. Appreciate Your Spine: Cultivate gratitude for your spine and its role in keeping you upright. Recognize its importance and treat it with the love and care it deserves.

4. Strengthening Exercises: Integrate specific back-strengthening exercises into your routine. Pilates is particularly effective for building the necessary strength and flexibility in your spine and surrounding muscles.

5. Inner Core Support: Develop a strong relationship with your core muscles, including the pelvic floor, transversus abdominals, and diaphragm. A robust core support system is crucial for maintaining spinal health and stability. 

If you are interested in working on your spinal ‘glow up’, Nicola hosts an online program: ‘Free Spine Free Mind’ for Peri (menopausal) women combining Pilates, emotions are energy in motion and the Free Your Spine methodology. For more information you can reach Nicola here: nicola@freeyourspinepilates.com /

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