FOR decades Sophie Long suffered with excruciating back pain, could barely walk and was often a prisoner in her own home. But thanks to revolutionary treatment the 46-year-old mother is now back tending to the garden she loves and living life to the full. JANE LAVENDER reports. 

MOTHER-OF-ONE Sophie Long had always been fit and active throughout her life.

She was a passionate gardener until she started to experience agonising pain in her back which she described as “a tear”.

It was so severe she struggled to walk and had to regularly take time off work.

The pain affected her ability to do most normal activities and gardening was out of the question.

Mrs Long’s problems started when she was just 13 years old. She had noticed some asymmetries in her back and was concerned that her appearance was very different to that of her friends.

IT was not until she was aged 15 that she was finally diagnosed with scoliosis, which causes the spine to excessively curve sideways.

Mrs Long, of Centre Park Road, Brownlow Fold, was devastated — and brushed it under the carpet until she went into labour with her daughter, Rebecca.

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 in this country is to wait until the curve becomes so severe that the only option left is to operate.

The major operation involves metal rods being inserted either side of the spine, before the spine is fused solid.

AS a keen gardener, Mrs Long had always been proud of her garden and hated the idea of sitting still for too long.

Unfortunately all of this changed when she reached 40 and started to experience shooting pains down her spine.

Every so often her back would seize up and she would find herself house-bound, unable to walk or even move without being doubled over in pain.

During a particularly bad period, Mrs Long found herself pouring her heart out to a friend who mentioned that her friend had been treated at a clinic in central London that specialised in non-surgical ways to treat scoliosis.

"Founded and run by Erika Maude, who has scoliosis herself, Scoliosis SOS is the only clinic in the world to offer treatment following the ScolioGold method.

MRS Long, who is married to Michael and took early retirement, contacted the clinic and found herself enrolling on a four-week treatment course.

She said: “The first day of the course was really emotional. We all had to tell our stories and how I had got to this point. When it was my turn I found myself in floods of tears.

“At the clinic, I found out that my hips and shoulders were uneven, something I didn’t know. I knew I had a curve in my spine but I did not realise that this could affect other parts of the body.

“Since completing the course, my hips are even and I can really notice the difference to what they looked like before.

My shoulders sit in a better position and I feel so much stronger and happier with my appearance.

"My pain has dramatically decreased and I had the kick start I needed to get my life back on track.”

Within weeks of being on the course, Mrs Long’s condition dramatically improved.

SHE was no longer experiencing pain when doing exercise and her bubbly, confident personality had returned.

She also learned exercises which strengthened the muscles surrounding her spine and meant that her scoliosis stabilised.

Mrs Long has now even been able to get back out into her garden for the first time in months.

She said: “I cannot thank Scoliosis SOS enough. I was very lucky I discovered them when I did. The days of being unable to walk are over and I feel that the improvements I have made on the course are only the beginning.

"I am very excited to see how much more I will improve by continuing with my exercise programme at home.

“I am also going to get back to the gym, something I have not felt confident enough to do in years.”

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  • Scoliosis is a medical condition in which a person’s spine is curved from side to side.
  • The spine of an individual with scoliosis can resemble an S or a ?, rather than a straight line.
  • The signs of scoliosis can include uneven musculature on one side of the spine, a rib prominence or a prominent shoulder blade, caused by rotation of the ribcage in thoracic scoliosis, uneven hips, arms or leg lengths, slow nerve action.
  • Braces can be used to treat mild cases of scolosis. In children a plaster jacket applied early may be used instead of a brace.
  • Surgery is usually recommended by orthopedists for curves with a high likelihood of progression, curves that would be cosmetically unacceptable as an adult, curves in patients with spina bifida and cerebral palsy that interfere with sitting and care, and curves that affect physiological functions such as breathing.