A teenage horse rider from Northampton says her potentially fatal spinal condition has been cured by an exercise routine.
Anya Hills, aged 19, was told by doctors two years ago she had a condition called scoliosis and she needed a risky 10-hour operation to fuse her spine straight from top to bottom or risk becoming gradually disabled.
Anya said: “Scoliosis destroyed my world. I have always been so passionate about horse riding, 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.”
In extreme cases, scoliosis can lead to fatal heart and lung problems if untreated, but operations are complex and involve the spine being fused before vertical metal rods are inserted either side
Anya’s family looked on the internet for alternatives and found the private Scoliosis SOS clinic, whose treatments involve muscle strengthening exercises, but not surgery.
Anya said: “I’m ecstatic that I’ve 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.
“These exercises are easy and I have just adapted them so that they fit in with everyday life.”
Current scoliosis treatment in the UK is to wait until the curve becomes so severe that surgery is the only option.
The condition affects more than four per cent of the national population.
In Anya’s case it was spotted relatively early when her mother noticed a shoulder blade was protruding on one side.
She also started getting tired far quicker than normal and was struggling to sit up properly when riding.