Sponsored athlete: Gina "Triple G" Hopkins
Gina is one of our sponsored athletes. She's won medals in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Strongman events. She has a Masters' degree in Sport and Exercise Science, and she runs her own company.
Gina also has a condition called Dystonia. I'll let her tell you more in her own words.
"My name is Gina Hopkins and I love Martial Arts. I started kickboxing at about 15 years of age as a method to cope with and get fit for major surgery which was neurosurgery. From kickboxing I found MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and loved it, its always been my hobby as well as my coping mechanism.
I have a condition called Dystonia, its considered rare but the professionals think it is just under diagnosed. It’s a very annoying and restricting condition to have. In addition I have a ‘slipped disc’ which causes sciatica and also I had an operation which went wrong and has damaged the tendons and nerves in my toes, leaving my balance even more compromised and extremely painful feet.
When my back went and especially after the operation on my feet I found MMA too much, the impact through my feet and back I could no longer cope with. Whilst studying my Masters, and looking for disabled martial arts, I came across a disabled grappling competition in America.
That’s when Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu clicked, and I haven't looked back since. I competed in America very successfully against disabled men and I compete in the UK against able-bodied women. I’m also working with several organisations to being adaptive/disabled categories in competitions in the UK, as well as running my not-for-profit organisation, Adaptive Martial Arts CIC, in order to bring the benefits I have had to those who can’t or don’t want to enter mainstream classes."
Gina first came to see me a little over six months ago. At the time she was suffering from severe neck pain that was heavily restricting her activities. Her doctors had prescribed her morphine, and told her that not much else could be done to help. When we spoke online, I wanted to be realistic. I told Gina that I couldn't make any promises, but that if she would like to give osteopathy a try, then we would work together to figure out the best way forward.
During that first session, we worked through a range of osteopathic techniques, Gina giving me plenty of feedback, and patiently letting me explore how her body reacted to the various movements. We finished with a few very gentle manipulations.
Gina messaged me later on the same day telling me that to her astonishment, the pain she had been in had entirely gone, and that she hadn't needed to take her morphine. Since then, she has come to see me periodically for treatment, which helps her to feel more in control and manage her symptoms (in addition to all the work she does herself to stay active). We're very happy to be able to support Gina, especially as she does so much herself for the disabled martial arts community.
"In order to train and compete, I need to keep my own health in the best condition it can be. This includes doing a lot of injury prevention conditioning myself, but I sometimes need help to reach those areas I cannot get to myself and to keep everything mobile.
Rosi has helped me overcome a career ending pain which all my doctors had resigned me too. After talking to Rosi, and her reassuring me and patiently answering my endless question she did some joint mobilisation on my neck before one 'basic' spinal manipulation. I was wary and didn't expect much, but it was the best thing I have done for my neck pain. Keeping active and mobile is vital to maintaining my health and keeping pain at bay, Osteopathy has surprised me in just how effective and sustainable the results are.
Rosi is very good at explaining and talking you through the whole thing. Its not just the joint cracks, its also about keeping joints moving which you can't reach yourself and it can make all the difference. It did to me. Rosi is very professional and calming, she's also extremely knowledgeable and it is evident she loves her job and keeps up to date with her CPD. I also highly value being able to ask her questions and getting explanations as to why she is doing what she's doing!"
For anyone who thinks they can't do martial arts, but would like to give it a try - Gina is the ideal person to talk to. You can get in touch with her via her website, or on Facebook @AdaptiveMA.