Severe spinal condition almost ruined Darlington bride's special day (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Severe spinal condition almost ruined Darlington bride's special day
Isabel Barker should have been celebrating her engagement. Instead, she spent sleepless nights wondering how she was going to managing to walk down the aisle. Andy Walker reports
AN energetic and active child, Isabel had a passion for life until excruciating back pain left her needing major spinal surgery at the age of ten.
The youngster had been diagnosed with scoliosis, which causes the spine to curve and can eventually crush internal organs.
Ms Barker, now 26, from Darlington, said: “When I was first diagnosed, I had no idea what was going on.
"I can remember being taken out of school and having to drive for hours to visit different specialists.
“I remember my mother saying to me that I was poorly and I needed help to get better.
“I remember being really frightened, because I had no idea what was going on.”
When Ms Barker reached 15, she was told that her condition had stabilised and she was discharged.
It was not until she turned 20 that things took a turn for the worse and her pain increased almost overnight.
She said: “When my pain started to return, I didn’t know what to do.
“I would often have to take days off work and I struggled to maintain a social life.
“Luckily, I had a really supportive boyfriend who helped me to manage my pain and was very sympathetic when I was going through some of the more difficult times.”
When she got engaged to her boyfriend, Scott, the prospect of walking down the aisle in a dress that would reveal her back was something Ms Barker struggled to cope with.
She was also concerned about her pain and how she would get through a day without lying down.
It was about this time that her husband-to-be discovered the Scoliosis SOS clinic.
Founded and run by sufferer Erika Maude, the clinic opened seven years ago and is the only one in the world to offer a therapy specifically designed as an alternative to spinal surgery.
Ms Barker said: “I was ecstatic when Scott came home with the details of the clinic.
“Wedding preparations were well underway so I was desperate to start treatment. Luckily I was able to start within a few weeks.”
An intensive programme saw her pain start to diminish in just a few days.
With her ‘incredible’ wedding day still fresh in her memory, Ms Barker says she now feels like anything is possible.
For more information, visit scoliosisSOS.com
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