WHEN teenager Poppy Musgrove found herself suddenly struggling to breathe and was diagnosed with a spinal condition, she feared her dreams of becoming a singer were in jeopardy.
She tells AASMA DAY how a set of exercises helped her avoid a dangerous operation and how she now plans to audition for next year’s X Factor.
FROM a young age, Poppy Musgrove adored singing and dancing and would belt out songs with her amazing voice at any opportunity.
Poppy, 13, who lives in Fulwood, Preston, had always been very fit and active throughout her life - until her mother Mary started to notice that Poppy’s hips were protruding on one side.
Poppy had also begun complaining about backache and shortness of breath during her singing lessons.
This was highly unusual for Poppy as she had always pushed herself really hard and was not the type to give up on anything easily.
In a state of panic, mum Mary made an emergency appointment to see the family GP who immediately gave Poppy a devastating diagnosis.
Poppy was told she had a condition called scoliosis, which means curvature of the spine. Poppy was told she would be referred to a specialist but that it was likely to be a good three to six months wait.
Throughout this wait Poppy’s pain got worse and she was struggling to sing at all. She couldn’t hit the same notes and became very disinterested in attending singing lessons.
Poppy had always been adamant she was going to be a professional singer and that she would make herself stand out but this determination was disappearing fast.
When Poppy returned home, her family decided to do a bit of their own research into the symptoms of scoliosis as they were all very keen to find out how this condition would affect Poppy’s dream of becoming a professional singer.
The more Mary read on the Internet, the more alarmed she became.
She explains: “I discovered scoliosis was a progressive condition and that it needed to be treated as soon as possible to prevent any further damage.
“I decided to take matters into my own hands. I could see my daughter was deteriorating fast and knew she would be told she needed an operation so I saw no point in waiting to see a consultant and decided to be proactive in our treatment approach.
“This was just the beginning and the search for alternative treatment was not easy.”
Scoliosis causes the spine to excessively curve sideways. The condition affects more than four per cent of the population and if left untreated, it can lead to fatal heart and lung problems.
Current treatment in this country is to wait until the curve becomes so severe, that the only option left is to operate.
The major operation is a risky procedure which involves metal rods being inserted either side of the spine, before the spine is fused solid.
Poppy loved singing and the attention that came with it and would practice very competitively every day until her health started to deteriorate.
Not only did the condition cause her flexibility to be reduced, she also lost a huge amount of confidence.
Poppy’s life fell apart. She was facing the prospect that major surgery was probably her only option and that being a successful singer was not going to be possible.
In a desperate last attempt to help her daughter, Mary started to search the Internet for alternative treatments. She then discovered Scoliosis SOS.
Founded and run by Erika Maude, who has scoliosis herself, the clinic opened nine years ago and has since brought relief to hundreds of sufferers.
Located in central London, it is the only clinic in the world to offer treatment following the ScolioGold method, which is the combination of internationally renowned non-surgical treatments which have been practiced separately in Europe for several decades.
Mary decided this treatment couldn’t harm her daughter and that if it worked, it could change her life.
She booked her on to a four-week treatment course and was overwhelmed by the results.
Within weeks of being on the course, Poppy’s condition dramatically improved. She was no longer getting short of breath when exercising and her bubbly, confident personality returned.
Poppy made some great friends and understood why it was so important to exercise and keep her curve under control. She saw how bad some of the other patients’ spinal curves were and she also met a patient who had her spine fused solid. This made her more determined to work hard and get her scoliosis under control.
Poppy learnt a set of exercises which strengthened the muscles surrounding her spine and meant her scoliosis stabilised.
She also made huge improvements to her cosmetic appearance and learnt her condition would not ruin her life if she kept up the exercises.
Poppy’s lung capacity increased and for the first time in months, Poppy started singing again. First of all it would just be in the shower or in her bedroom but gradually her confidence returned and Poppy started singing anywhere she could just like she did before her diagnosis.
Mary felt a massive sense of relief her daughter was not going to need to have surgery. She knew the recovery following surgery would have been long and painful and that Poppy would probably have had to give up singing all together.
Since completing a course of ScolioGold treatment, Poppy has returned home and been able to attend her singing lessons again for the first time in months.
She has regained all of her confidence and bounced back to her normal sociable self.
Poppy is now religiously watching television’s X Factor in the hope she will be able to join all the contestants in next year’s competition.
Poppy says: “I can finally sing again.
“My lungs no longer feel like they are being crushed and I can hit the high notes again.
“My back will never be perfect but at least now I can focus on perfecting my voice.
“I am so excited for what the future might hold.
“I am looking to apply for X Factor next year and fingers crossed the judges will like my voice.
“I hope they will be able to see how determined I am and how much I want this.
“I have a year to prepare myself now and in the meantime I can watch this year’s competition!”
SCOLIOSIS SOS was established by clinic principal Erika Maude in 2006 following her own experiences with the condition.
Diagnosed at the age of 13, after spending two years in a back brace with no improvement, she faced the prospect of complex spinal surgery to correct the curve in her back.
Instead, after travelling to Europe to receive intensive exercise therapy, she returned home inspired to bring the amazing non-surgical treatment to the English-speaking community.
Nearly 10 years on, the clinic’s team of medical specialists have changed the lives of thousands of patients in the treatment of scoliosis and other spinal conditions.
• For more information, visit: www.scoliosisSOS.com or call: 0207 4884428.