A keen equestrian from Burnley who feared she would never ride again after she was diagnosed with painful curvature of the spine has got back on a horse following pioneering treatment.
Kim Theobald (29) was told she would need a 12-hour operation to fuse her spine solid and it was unlikely she would ever have full flexibility in her back again – until she discovered a new exercise routine.
Kim had always been fit and active until she started to suffer from severe pain and found manual labour impossible. Shortly after the pain started she was diagnosed with scoliosis, a severe spinal deformity.
Her life spiralled out of control and the condition often left her curled up in bed or collapsed in a heap due to the excruciating pain.
Within months, she went from being a fit and healthy woman to behaving like an 80-year-old woman. She had to give up horse riding as she could not move her legs properly and she could not sit without a back support. Kim had also started to wear baggy jumpers to avoid how distorted she felt her back looked and the sight of a horse would leave her in tears as she was worried she would never be able to ride again.
When her health deteriorated Kim said she found herself distanced from her social group and she went from never spending any time at home to constantly avoiding contact with friends and relatives. Her work suffered as she was unable to lift and move properly around the farm and she often found herself having to go off for short walks to stop her back from cramping.
She found herself searching the internet and came across Scoliosis SOS.
Founded and run by Erika Maude, who has scoliosis herself, the clinic opened seven years ago. Located in central London, it is the only clinic in the world to offer treatment following the ScolioGold method, which is the combination of non-surgical treatments.
Kim booked onto a four-week course of treatment and within weeks her condition dramatically improved.
She was no longer lying awake at night with pain and her confidence soared.
Kim learnt a set of exercises which strengthened the muscles surrounding her spine and meant that her scoliosis stabilised. Since the treatment she has returned home and has been able to ride her horse properly again for the first time in months. She has regained all of her passion for life and said she has bounced back to her normal, fit and sociable self.
Kim said: “I am so happy; it is remarkable how far I have come. I was in constant pain on a daily basis and my whole world had fallen apart. I lost interest in everything and I had no quality of life at all. I can ride again. No words can explain how much horses mean to me and not being able to get on a horse was soul-destroying.
When I found the SOS clinic my life changed. I could see a future with my condition and I was back in control.
“I wanted to avoid the surgery, but it was an option I would have considered if there was no alternative.
“Being in constant pain and discomfort and having to avoid doing the things I love doing like riding was just not an option.
“I am only in my twenties and I am a very ambitious person. Keeping fit, my appearance and my work all mean everything to me so I was always going to do whatever it took to get my life back on track.”