New spine treatment helps girl avoid op

WHEN Emily Pratt was told she would need major surgery to correct curvature of her spine, she feared it would stop her doing her favourite hobbies forever.

Russell Claydon

WHEN Emily Pratt was told she would need major surgery to correct curvature of her spine, she feared it would stop her doing her favourite hobbies forever.

But the outlook is now looking brighter for the 12-year-old from Ipswich sufferer thanks to a revolutionary treatment.

The young karate enthusiast had first noticed a problem when a lump appeared on her shoulder - and she was later diagnosed with scoliosis, which causes curvature of the spine.

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Emily was facing a long wait for the condition to develop before having a full body brace fitted, and then a risky operation involving metal rods.

But that all changed when her mother Pascale heard about an EADT article detailing a physiotherapy-based scoliosis clinic in Martlesham, near Ipswich - the only one of its kind in England.

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Emily was taken out of Copleston High School, in Ipswich, for a month to undergo intensive exercise treatment - and may now never have to wear the brace or have the operation.

Mrs Pratt, who lives in Kelvedon Drive, said: “About 18 months ago she had a lump on her shoulder blade. We went to the doctors and they diagnosed her with winged scapula and said she had to stop doing PE.

“But nothing seemed to change and we went back and they said it wasn't winged scapula and they couldn't pinpoint what it was, so sent us to see a consultant (at Ipswich Hospital) who diagnosed scoliosis.

“I had never heard of it before and I did panic. Hearing she had a curvature of the spine was quite frightening really. But they said she would not have any pain and to leave it and come back in six months to do another x-ray.

“She became in so much discomfort though before the appointment came round that we said she needed the x-rays now and the hospital sent us a letter to say the problem had deteriorated a lot and they needed to transfer her to another hospital.

“We were told it would mean having braces and then an operation which was quite intense and not nice - they have to fuse the bone and it is quite a long process.”

She added: “We found out about Scoliosis SOS in Martlesham through a friend who had spotted it in the paper and recalled a chat we had had about Emily.

“I then emailed them and she went on an intensive four week course exercising from 10am to 5pm but it was well worth it and she has learnt so much about her spine.”

Emily can now manage her condition through 45-minute daily exercise routines at her house which involves using specialist equipment such as wall bars and gym balls.

Mrs Pratt said she was relieved her daughter could carry on with her hobbies and was now free of pain.

“It is amazing how much better her spine looks. She loves karate and hip-hop dancing and with this operation she would not have be able to do sports at all and for her to be able to continue is great,” she said. “But the most important thing is that she can get back to normal life. It really boosts her confidence.”

Emily herself said she had found the non-surgical treatment a lot of fun and she had noticed an unbelievable change in her posture.

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