A woman from Magdalen is back scuba diving again after beating a crippling back condition that left her in agony.
Rebecca Berry, 29, was a swimming and fitness enthusiast from a young age, but in her late teens she was diagnosed with curvature of the spine – also known as scoliosis – a debilitating condition that can lead to fatal heart and lung problems.
Rebecca was about to go travelling for a year and had been told that she would have to give up her plans and that she would need surgery which would need six months to a year of recovery time.
She said: “My condition not only stopped me from doing things from a physical point of view, but it was also the psychological aspect that went with being diagnosed with what I felt could end up being a horrible deformity.
“I went from feeling normal and perfectly happy with my body, to being paranoid that people were staring at me. I felt like I couldn’t get in the water, not just because of the pain, but because I couldn’t bear for people to see me in a bikini.
The idea of having to give up her passion for swimming was soul destroying, but having to put off the travelling trip she had saved so hard for, left her devastated.
She added: “I used to sit against walls to hide it, and wear huge cardigans that were about four sizes too big for me. I was so desperate to avoid the surgery, I would have tried anything.”
Current treatment is to wait until the curve becomes so severe then to operate.
It is a risky procedure which involves metal rods being inserted either side of the spine, before the spine is fused solid.
Rebecca said: “Osteopathy and other treatments just didn’t work.
“They would help for about an hour and then the pain would return, I just felt like it was getting worse and my life was spiralling out of control.”
She knew that without the surgery her pain would get worse and she would be forced to give up swimming and scuba diving forever, but the surgery would cost her flexibility and her body would never be the same again.
Rebecca opted for Scoliosis SOS, an alternative treatment that could reduce her back pain and help her avoid the surgery by strengthening her muscles.
She booked herself onto a four-week treatment course and within weeks, she was no longer getting short of breath when doing exercise and her confidence returned.
She learnt a set of exercises which strengthened the muscles surrounding her spine and stabilised her scoliosis, these would keep it at bay if she continued.
She said: “I feel like a new person now, my back is straighter and I feel like I look normal again. I have my confidence back and I am ready to travel the world.
“I am also looking forward to buying a whole new wardrobe full of clothes that actually fit me and don’t look like a tent.”
Since completing a course of ScolioGold treatment, Rebecca has returned home and has been able to go on her first scuba diving holiday for years.
She has also organised to go travelling in January and is looking forward to seeing the world.
For further information visit www.scoliosisSOS.com