15 September 2022
Thanks to Freya’s self-motivation and LOC’s effective non-surgical treatment for scoliosis she is now ‘discharged’
Freya was diagnosed with scoliosis by chance at the age of thirteen; she was actually in hospital due to suspected appendicitis and when her mother Victoria saw the resulting x-ray, she knew Freya had scoliosis because she had recently learnt about the condition while doing Pilates’s training. Freya had been born with hip dysplasia and had many of the symptoms of hypermobility, so it is possible this was the cause of her scoliosis. There followed a lengthy hiatus while Victoria tried to secure Freya face to face NHS appointments with physiotherapists and specialists. Freya was eventually seen by a specialist back consultant at the National Orthopaedic Hospital. The scan showed that Freya had a lumbar curve of 43.5 degrees and a thoracic curve of 36 degrees. With Cobb angles of this size the typical NHS protocol is to recommend surgery.
It was at this stage that Victoria put her foot down as she explains: “Freya was and is a very active teenager, she was a cheerleader and did lots of dancing, also she was in no pain so why opt for surgery which would put a rod in her back?”. Victoria set about doing some research into non-surgical treatments for scoliosis and found LOC. “Everyone at LOC has been fantastic; they are so encouraging and supportive. Freya was a bit concerned about what the brace would look like under clothes, so it was arranged for Freya to meet a teenager who was already in treatment; this was massively reassuring. They also did not over promise about the reduction in curve that was possible, just certain that they would sort out her posture”.
Freya was fitted with her Cheneau-Gensingen scoliosis brace on 28th April 2018. As Freya was going through a growth spurt, she needed to be seen quite frequently so that her brace could be adjusted. Victoria was impressed: “This was all part of their service as far as LOC was concerned; tiny adjustments were made so that Freya was comfortable. They explained that the better the comfort the more their scoliosis patients complied with the wearing regime required to get the results everyone wanted. Freya was highly motivated, so she wore the brace as recommended for 23 hours a day for a year and then was able to cut down gradually until she came out of her brace towards the end of 2021.”
During Freya’s treatment by LOC, she also remained under the care of the consultant at the National Orthopaedic Hospital. She was reviewed in July 2022. Victoria comments: “Her X-rays showed that the lumbar curve had reduced to 35 degrees and the thoracic to 33. The consultant was very positive about the outcome and spoke very highly about LOC which amused me as I had insisted that Freya did not have the surgery he had recommended.” As Freya has stopped growing, she is now discharged though LOC will continue to review her in a year. Victoria says: “It has been such a positive experience, Freya’s posture is so much better, her shoulders are even, her pelvis is in alignment, yes she would have liked to reduce her curves by more but as I told her, you can’t see the curve in her back now.”
Victoria is keen to help other parents who are faced by a decision as to whether to agree to surgery for their child. She is happy to be contacted which can be arranged by LOC.
My results are amazing and unexpected, and I am glad that I received the brace through LOC. I am still wearing the brace 18 months later and my back feels even straighter. Thanks to LOC I realised that I wanted to help people with similar if not the same condition as me, so I am now going to Salford University in September to study Orthotics and Prosthetics so I will hopefully be able to help others with Scoliosis as much as LOC has helped me.
If you say something is going to be easy it will be easy and if you say something will be hard it will be hard. So, I'm just going to say that wearing my brace is easy. And as it turns out, it really is.
LOC has helped remove the stress from our situation. They have given us hope based on their extensive knowledge and expertise.
I had my brace fitted and I was also given a personalised exercise programme to help with my 3D rotation. Not only was I wearing this new brace but I still had my pectus brace on and the amazing orthotists managed to combine the two so they worked together. I really struggled with this at first; however, I kept going and now I’m really glad I did. My scoliosis overcorrected by 10 degrees and I was able to reduce my scoliosis brace wear to 16 hours a day within 6 weeks.
Don’t wait. It’s about the children because they are more likely to be confident in their late teens if you act quickly and support them. We have been lucky because we understand the condition well. That’s one of the main things, to be honest. It was hard work, but it pays off in the end.
I finally found that I had arrived at the right place and something was actually being done.
My pain levels are hugely improved, my ribs were tender and now they are not. My brace was made individually for me. It’s not one size fits all and, if it is not completely perfect, LOC alters it on the spot. I was so surprised that I could wear the brace under my clothes, I did not need to go and buy anything, I just wear loose tops.
The brace is very light. Obviously, the first couple of days we were told it was going to be uncomfortable for her, I bought so many pillows! But although the first night was not very comfortable, the second night she got used to it and then she was wearing it all day long and I thought ‘that’s brilliant!’ She was only taking it off for two or three hours to go out with friends or do the exercises, but she didn’t have any problems really.
The whole experience has been very good. LOC make you feel welcome from the beginning, and you can ask as many questions as you want, and they answer everything. If you have a problem they give you their personal mobile so you can just call them if you have a problem and they’ll solve it straight away. I’m very pleased with the treatment, the people, with everything.
She’s wearing the brace all the time now and she’s doing very well. She’s very good at school too, the brace doesn’t get in the way of anything. It fits underneath her school uniform and you can’t see it. Sometimes I even have to ask her when she’s sitting down if she’s wearing it because I can’t see it! She says ‘of course mummy’ and I say ‘let me try!’ I have to knock through the clothes and only then can I hear she’s wearing the brace!
Obviously, the results speak for themselves. If I were to give any advice [to parents in a similar position] it would be to contact LOC. Ricarda likes it there, she loves the people and felt really comfortable, everything was really relaxed and nice.
Especially in young people, spotting the early signs of scoliosis is important – as is seeking early treatment. These are the warning signs to look out for:
Find out more information about the LOC Scoliosis Brace
If you think your child, adolescent or adult family member has scoliosis, you can contact LOC directly to arrange a consultation at one of our scoliosis clinics.
If your child has recently been diagnosed with Scoliosis or you think they are showing signs of the condition, please contact us
The operation used to treat severe scoliosis curves is typically spinal fusion surgery; a major procedure that involves moving muscles and realigning the skeleton into place. The curved, deformed vertebrae are fused together into a single bone, putting metal screws and rods into the spine to help straighten it. Surgery typically lasts between 4 and 8 hours depending on the severity of the curve. Bone graft is then taken from other parts of the body and used to cover the implants.
Following the operation, it is necessary to spend around a week in intensive care before returning home and the first few days are often uncomfortable. Most adolescents can expect to return to school from 2-4 weeks following surgery, but pain medication may be required up to 6 weeks following. A full recovery from the procedure can take up to a year, as it can take that long for the spine to heal fully.
Spinal fusion surgery causes the fused portion of the back to become permanently stiff, as a result, returning to sports that require large amounts of flexibility (ballet, yoga, gymnastics, dance) or contact (rugby, football, karate, hockey) may take longer.
Risks of spinal fusion surgery are like that of any other major procedure and include infection, blood clots and anaesthesia complications. The added risks include permanent nerve damage to the spine and paralysis.