Alicia Magliocco: An Inspiration To Us All
Here at Team Vivendi, we’ve known Alicia a little while since she began wearing our compression leggings. If you’re familiar with Vivendi, you’ll know we do a lot of work in terms of working with those rehabilitating from injuries. Alicia’s case however is a little extra special as she’s expressed on more than one occasion that our compression leggings don’t just look great but actually help her with nerve pain, something she suffers from a lot. We decided to speak with Alicia in more detail to not only share her story but her incredible wisdom too.
Jenni - Hey Alicia, thanks so much for agreeing to meet with us. For those who don’t know you, would you mind explaining a little about your story?
Alicia - Yes sure! I have a condition called Spondylolisthesis. It’s a slip in your vertebrae. The condition was diagnosed when I was around 7 years old. After some treatments I was deemed “stable” and was cleared to start competitive cheerleading. I did competitive cheer for 16 years. I’ve competed here in Canada and around the United States. After competing for so many years, during which time I’d actually fractured my back a few times, I started to complain about leg pain. No doctors picked up on that it could be coming from my back condition. I had surgery in 2016 and the surgeon caused more damage during a part of my surgery. I now have an incomplete spinal cord injury at L4.
J - Wow. That must have been a big shock after the surgery to find that out? How has that affected you on a daily basis?
A - Fortunately, I have an incomplete injury so I am able to do some walking. I still use my wheelchair on a daily basis but I walk around my apartment and short distances. My biggest challenge is nerve pain and mild bladder issues. I take medications for both but the nerve pain is what bothers me the most.
J - It’s the nerve pain that you’ve spoken about with our founder Elizabeth. You’d said that our compression wear actually helps. How so?
A - The compression wear promotes more blood flow and reduces inflammation. I truly think this is what’s helped my nerve pain. I try to wear them when I’m walking and working out so I don’t get as much pain. I also wear them while in my chair too. I actually wore them while travelling last week to and from my destination, so that it would cut down on the amount of pain I was in from sitting so long. I believe they also helped with any swelling I may have gotten from sitting on the flight for so long.
J - It’s always amazing to hear that our compression wear is making such a difference as this was our aim when creating them. Moving on from our clothing however, we’d love to chat more with you about your life and how you overcome your injury in day to day life. What has been your biggest challenge?
A - I believe the biggest challenge for me was getting used to doing the everyday things differently. Groceries, laundry, cleaning up the house, etc. I’m a very independent person so asking for help was a bit tough for me. I also get more attention sometimes because of my chair but I just ignore it. I’ve learnt that some people are just ignorant and you can’t change everyone’s attitudes.
J - We love the fact that people have questioned the word ‘Equestrian’ on your clothing and you’ve told them “The wheelchair is my horse”. Do you think such a positive daily approach is just as effective in terms of helping you live with nerve pain etc?
A - Yes! Being positive about having a “new normal” is key. I know some people who don’t work, they barely leave the house and they’re afraid to try new things. I made sure from the get go to not be scared and to be open minded about the things I could do or couldn’t.
J - We know access can be a real issue for wheelchair users? What do you think would make the biggest difference?
A - Ramps and less steps! I am able to do stairs a bit but I need help and it just causes more pain and discomfort. There are still so many places that don’t have great accessibility. I definitely saw so many areas that could be improved on when we were on vacation. You don’t think about the small things sometimes. I had to get accommodations at the bank branch I work at, which took months. I am now switching locations and have to redo the process. Even helping out another branch is out of the window because it doesn’t fit my needs.
J - Is there a message you’d like to get out there? Be it to employers, every day members of the public or even other wheelchair users?
A - Store and restaurant owners, etc..sit in a chair and try to see our perspective. Open some doors by yourself without an automatic button, try to get into an establishment that has a steep ramp. It’s funny how many places try to be accessible but don’t consult people who actually have the disability they're trying to accommodate.
J - So step into your shoes I guess and try to view the world through you? We can totally see how that needs to be done a little more often. So here at Vivendi, we’re looking at creating new pieces to help in ways our leggings have done for you. Which item of clothing do you think we could look at creating to help others with nerve pain and spinal cord injuries?
A - Leggings that have a higher waist line in the back than the front. Since we sit all day leggings, or any pants for that matter, tend to start to slip and we get our underwear or bum showing!
J - Noted!! We’re just about to release a new fitness range too. Do you have any top tips for wheelchair users who want to improve their fitness and look after their health?
A - Try an array of things. Get in the gym and see what you can do! I think the gym can be intimidating to anybody since most people have no idea what to do. I met with a personal trainer who showed me all the machines and how to use them. I then started to go and just tried to see what I could do. I’ve also added in swimming so that I can do laps and get cardio in without it being so hard on my body. Try different things to aid in walking/standing, if you can…it’s so good for your body. I also use ankle/foot braces so that it aids in my walking properly. I see an osteopath to better align my body, I do massage and see a naturopath. I try to get the most out of different areas of medicine so that I know what works for me.
From all of us here at Team Vivendi, we’d like to say a massive ‘Thank You’ to Alicia for taking the time to chat with us about her life and her love of Vivendi Compression Wear! We’ve really appreciated your input and cannot wait for you to see our new range!