Chloe's Story - Patient with Scoliosis
Chloe takes a holistic approach to managing her Scoliosis using our DMO Custom Scoliosis Suit alongside lifestyle changes, physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment.
Chloe was first diagnosed with idiopathic Scoliosis when she was eleven years old. The condition known for its curvature of the spine, presents in different ways with some people not experiencing many symptoms. In Chloe’s case the symptoms were severe. She suffered from fatigue, back pain and spasms, numbness and an overwhelming feeling of heaviness in her body. For a couple of years after she was 15 her limbs would stop working and go into paralysis and she spent time on and off in a wheelchair.
“I was like a floppy ragdoll and had no energy, my brain wanted to keep going but my body wanted to go to bed.
“Between the ages of 11-14 I didn’t want to have surgery. A lot of people think surgery is the solution, but I don’t believe surgery actually fixes Scoliosis. Aesthetically it will look better, but that doesn’t always help any of the problems caused when the spine is curved or improve any of the rotation. After the age of 15 I started to use a combination of different things to manage my Scoliosis and the consultants agreed I didn’t need to consider surgery anymore.
“Not having surgery when I was young turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.”
When Chloe was thirteen, whilst seeking an alternative to surgery, she met with Clinical Specialist Orthotist and DM Orthotics Managing Director Martin Matthews who assessed her for a DMO® Custom Structural Scoliosis Suit.
“Chloe came to see me quite late on – she was 13 years old and had been diagnosed one year earlier. She was the first Idiopathic Scoliosis patient (where the spine suffers from sideways curvature and also twisted rotation) I had seen referred for a Scoliosis Suit. Her spine had a 50 degree curve, which made this a fairly complicated case – to put this into context, most patients I have seen with Scoliosis will be braced in a rigid brace, which is only effective for curves up to 45 degrees. Normally we would start with a much lower curve which still had plenty of mobility to enable the spine to correct, thus reducing the Scoliosis vertebral angle and rotation.
Chloe’s love of ballet meant that she needed to be very mobile, so we used a DMO® Custom Structural Scoliosis Suit with specially designed panels. Ultimately, I hoped that the Scoliosis Suit would help improve Chloe’s standing position so she could become more upright. This would also have the effect of reducing a lot of the pain she was in.”
“The suit made my symptoms more bearable helping my body combat gravity. My body wanted to collapse, and the suit held me together. It helped me attend four lessons in a day rather than two and gave me that bit of extra energy to go to dance lessons after school. Looking back at my teenage years this was really important to me – being able to do after school activities allowed me to have some good experiences.
“I wore my suit 23 hours a day all through school and college until I was fully grown, myself and my family took it very seriously. The only other option I had was surgery and we really felt this was a last resort. I wanted to do everything I could to avoid it.”
As part of managing her Scoliosis Chloe worked with Scoliosis SOS in London, a leading non-surgical Scoliosis therapy organisation. They helped her regain and maintain function and fitness through physiotherapy exercises. This combined with Chiropractic treatment means she is the healthiest and fittest she’s ever been, and she now wants to optimise her Scoliosis management by using a DMO® Custom Structural Scoliosis Suit again.
“I want to do everything I can to not just manage but improve my Scoliosis, for instance, I would really like to see my right shoulder back in a normal place. I have come to believe in a holistic approach to Scoliosis management and think that a DMO® Suit can enhance that when combined with my physio and chiropractic treatments. I want to put myself in the best position possible to try and avoid problems later in life and ultimately no surgery.”
Chloe works at Rock Chiropractic in Exeter. Due to her own experiences, she is very well placed to support patients to make decisions about their own back care management.