A TEENAGER who always dreamt of a career in dance was devastated to be diagnosed with a severe curve in her spine needing major surgery.
Carly Willis was just 12 when she was told she needed the operation to save her mobility due to scoliosis – a curvature of the spine.
She had started to complain about aches and pains in her back.
Her mum, Tara, noticed her shoulder blade was protruding on one side and Carly, now 13, had started getting tired more quickly than usual.
Until then, Carly, of Maldon Road, Southend, had been a fit and active girl passionate about singing and dancing.
Tara made an emergency appointment to see a GP who gave the family a devastating diagnosis.
The GP believed her condition was particularly severe and they were told she would be referred to see an orthopaedic surgeon.
Carly, who is now taught at home, said: “Scoliosis completely rocked my world. I started to find absolutely everything really hard. Even carrying my bag around the school was a nightmare.
“I have always been so passionate about dance, getting up on the stage and giving absolutely everything to performing, but when I started feeling tired and getting pain down my back, it was really hard to stay motivated.
“Everyone around me was really worried and it was hard because I felt like certain things were being kept from me.Ihated the appearance of my back and I started to feel traumatised by mirrors.”
Scoliosis is a progressive condition and needs to be treated as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
It causes the spine to excessively curve sideways. The condition affects more than 4 per cent of the population and, if left untreated, can lead to fatal heart and lung problems.
Carly’s aunt has the condition and her grandmother has hyper-kyphosis –aforward curvature.
The major operation needed to correct the curve involves metal rods being inserted either side of the spine, before the spine is fused solid.
With Carly facing the prospect of major surgery and her ambition of dancing professionally disappearing, her family started to search the internet for alternative treatments and discovered Scoliosis SOS.
Founded and run by Erika Maude, who has scoliosis herself, the London clinic’s exercise-based therapy is aimed at strengthening the muscles surrounding the spine to bring the patient into a more central upright position.
Carly, who has had four weeks of treatment, said: “I feel likeIhave been re-born. It’s incredible the results I have had.
“My back looks amazing and I have my energy back. My confidence has soared and I am so excited about returning to school and perfecting my new routines.
“I am still very determined to make it as a professional dancer and as soon as I leave school this is something I am going to pursue.
“I am ecstatic thatIhave been able to avoid surgery. It would have stopped me from being whoIwant to be and would have damaged my ability to perform.”
Tara said: “I was terrified of Carly needing to have surgery. I really was so worried it kept me awake at night.
You want to protect your children and I just felt so helpless. It was terrible. The scoliosis drained all of Carly’s confidence and left her suffering from mild depression.
“I was extremely concerned about how she was going to bounce back from all of this.
“The exercise therapy has completely changed things around for my daughter.”
For more information, visit www.scoliosisSOS.com