A TEENAGER who was told she may never ride again after she was diagnosed with scoliosis has defied doctors’ prognoses and is now ready to get back in the saddle.
Mara Osborn, 16, from Swindon was a regular youngster until the age of 14, when she was diagnosed with a severe curve in her spine.
The condition put an abrupt end to her horseriding regimen and soon left her in excruciating pain.
Only a gruelling spinal fusion operation, surgeons explained, would allow her to remain mobile. Yet it would seriously impair her ability to ride.
But they had not counted on the teenager’s tenacity and resilience and the ground-breaking work of a unique London clinic.
The first signs of scoliosis became noticeable when her shoulder blade started protruding on one side. Mara had also began feeling unusually tired and complaining of aches and pain in her back.
An emergency appointment with her GP confirmed her worst fears.
“Scoliosis destroyed my world,” said Mara, of Fosse Close. “I have always been so passionate about riding, getting up on a horse and giving absolutely everything to be out in the fields, but when I started feeling tired and getting pain down my back, it was really hard to stay motivated. I struggled to keep up with all my lessons and I lost loads of confidence.”
Scoliosis causes the spine to excessively curve sideways. The condition affects more than four per cent of the population and if left untreated can lead to fatal heart and lung problems. Current treatment consists mostly in operating on the spine and inserting metal rods on either side before fusing them to it.
In a last-ditch attempt to avoid a risky ten-hour operation, Mara and her parents started to search the internet for alternative treatments. It was then that they discovered Scoliosis SOS.
Founded and run by Erika Maude, who has scoliosis herself, the London clinic is the only facility in the world to offer a combination of non-surgical treatments, including physical exercises. After a four-week course of treatment, she is now ready to resume her horseriding lessons.
“I feel like I have been re-born,” she said. “My back looks amazing and I have my energy back. I am ecstatic that I have been able to avoid surgery. Having surgery would have stopped me from being who I want to be and would have damaged my ability to ride.”
“I want to work with horses and train as a vet and these exercises have given me options again.
l To find out more about the clinic visit www.scoliosisSOS.com