A teenager who faced a major operation to correct a severe curve in her spine is making a splash after non-surgical treatment worked wonders.
Libby Stone, 14, of Penwortham, near Preston, was a normal healthy girl and a passionate swimmer until last year when her mum Sarah noticed that her shoulder blade was protruding on one side.
Libby had also started experiencing severe pain shooting down one side of her back and had begun struggling to keep up with her friends at her swimming class.
After seeing doctors, Libby was given the devastating diagnosis of scoliosis.
Scoliosis causes the spine to excessively curve sideways. If left untreated, the condition can lead to fatal heart and lung problems.
Current treatment on the NHS is to wait until the curve becomes so severe, that the only option left is to operate.
The major operation is a very risky procedure which involves metal rods being inserted either side of the spine, before the spine is fused solid.
Libby and her family were devastated by the diagnosis and had almost agreed to the brutal surgery when they discovered an exercise routine which drastically changed Libby’s prognosis.
Libby, who is home schooled, said: “I was so upset when I was told about my spine. I had always loved being on the water and I was getting really good, training up to four times a week.
“When I was told that my favourite stroke was putting serious strain on my spine and it was something I should consider giving up, I was devastated.”
Libby had been good at swimming and had been recognised in several competitions. However, her diagnosis led to her losing her flexibility and skills and her confidence plummeted.
In desperation, Libby’s family decided to research the internet for alternative treatments and discovered Scoliosis SOS in London.
Founded and run by Erika Maude, who has Scoliosis herself, the clinic is the only place in the world to offer treatment following the ScolioGold method, which is a combination of non-surgical treatments.
Libby was booked on to a four week course of treatment and her family have been overwhelmed by the results and are thrilled Libby has avoided surgery.
Mum Sarah said: “Libby changed literally overnight. She had become so deflated and depressed from the diagnosis and I had seen her confident, happy personality drain away.
“As soon as she started treatment and met other girls with the same condition, she started to bounce back.
“If she had ended up having surgery, it would have been my worst nightmare.”
Within weeks of being on the course, Libby’s condition dramatically improved. She was no longer getting short of breath when doing exercise and her pain disappeared.
Libby learnt a set of exercises which strengthened the muscles surrounding her spine and her scoliosis stabilised.
Libby has now returned to swimming at Fulwood Leisure Centre and is looking forward to entering competitions again.
She said: “I am so relieved to get back to what I love. I really didn’t want to have surgery. Swimming and keeping fit is my life.”
• For more details about Scoliosis SOS, visit www.scoliosisSOS.com