When we discovered that our daughter, who was then 14 going on 15, had a severe double scoliosis, she was devastated, as she didn't want to have an operation to put a rod in her back, which would give her a rigid back for the rest of her life.
She is a very keen climber, at competition level, and didn't want to have to stop this sport, which she would have had to do if she had had the operation.
She looked for advice and help or at least comfort on various internet forums, and they only made her more depressed and panicky about the future.
The orthopedic specialist we saw was in "wait and see" mode, wanting to see her every six months, but without recommending physiotherapy or anything else to ease the pain and discomfort. Meanwhile, the worst curve, in the lumbar region, worsened, and the other one, higher up, lessened somewhat.
So I searched the internet, and found Scoliosis SOS; I contacted them on the website, and subsequently had a very detailed conversation with someone from the Clinic in Suffolk. Despite the cost (very high), we decided to take our daughter for a two-week treatment in August 2010, and then for another two weeks in December.
It was a heavy schedule, 5-6 hours a day, five days a week, but her back had begun to show improvement by the time we left.
Our daughter's perseverance (fuelled by her determination not to have an operation) has paid off : her posture has greatly improved, and she doesn't experience pain any more. We haven't yet had new x-rays done, but whether the actual curvature has diminished or not, her improved posture and the confidence she now has are most encouraging.
She is aware that she will probably have to do the exercises for many years to come, but she herself feels the improvement is worth the trouble and effort.
Because we had gone over to Suffolk from France, we couldn't bring back the most expensive and bulkiest equipment, the espalier, but we brought back the rest of the equipment, and we have made an arrangement with a physiotherapist nearby, where she goes to do her exercises four days a week, for 45 minutes to an hour. She has continued with her climbing, which exercises her muscles in a symmetrical way, and she recently won a trophy in a regional competition!
We really feel the results have been worth the expense, and our daughter is pleased and encouraged, and determined to persevere, though admittedly she sometimes has to force herself to go and do the exercise session.
We found the Staff at the Suffolk clinic, in particular the therapists, very warm, friendly, and helpful, and our daughter formed friendships with some of the youngsters under treatment with her.
We will be returning for a check-up in June, by which time shen will have had new x-rays done, and will have seen the orthopedic surgeon again too.
I would recommend this treatment, though it is very expensive, but only if the child or adult is personally motivated to follow through with the exercise programme.
Otherwise it would be like consulting a doctor for a serious problem, and then not taking the medicine he prescribes. In that case, if the illness doesn't improve, one can't blame the doctor. If one had a chronic illness, which required taking medication for the rest of one's life, one would do that, not so? Well, this is the same kind of thing, only the prescribed remedy is regular exercise, and not some kind of pill to swallow.