Against All Odds

When Roz Couch was growing up she had dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. However, at the age of just 13 her dreams were shattered when she discovered she had a serious spinal deformity known as scoliosis.

“My ballet teacher noticed one of my hips stuck out in class and I went to the doctor and was then referred to the scoliosis clinic at St Helier.”

The condition, known as scoliosis, causes the spine to excessively curve sideways. Scollios affects more than four percent of the population and if left un-treated can lead to fatal heart and lung problems.

The doctors then gave Roz two options, she could either undergo major spinal fusion surgery, which would involve having metal rods fitted down her spine, or be fitted with a rigid brace for two years and monitor the progression.  After much discussion, both Roz and her parents agreed that she should be fitted with a brace.

Roz then faced both the physical and mental struggles of living with a back brace, being braced for 23 hours a day, with only an hour out for ballet lessons and special exercise.

“It was hard as a teenager, I got sores and back ache and it made me very hot too. I wore lots of baggy clothes to hide the brace. It was certainly not the best of times at that age.”

 Eventually the pain and lack of body confidence caused Roz to give up her career as a ballet dancer.

“Dancing was my life but at 15 I gave it all up, I felt different and deformed and did not want to continue to look at myself in mirrors every day, so I stopped.”

Roz’s life then lacked direction and after a mixed result at school she ended up working in the physically demanding role as a trainee store manager. Sadly, as she was given no training on how to protect her back and how to prevent her scoliosis from progressing, Roz’s pain increased.

A few years on and Roz began to regret the decision she had made to ignore her condition and with thoughts of starting a family, she went back to her GP for advice. She was told that there was nothing they could do for her and strongly advised against pregnancy as this would have serious affects on her health.

Desperate to find treatment for her worsening condition, Roz and her family started a search for someone to help her. After months of hunting, Roz’s brother finally thought he’d found something.

“My brother Alex Couch is a personal trainer and I worked with him for many years on physiotherapy exercises to help muscle strength in my spine. He came across the centre on a google search. I booked an appointment and then went along for assessment.”

After her assessment Roz knew that the Scoliosis SOS clinic’s treatment programme was her final chance to avoid losing her flexibility and in the most extreme case, her mobility. She enrolled on a four-week ScolioGold course and left completely astounded.

“I had great results in my four weeks, reducing my scoliometer reading by nearly 50%. Initially I got lots of new pains as well as my old pains but over the months that followed and continuing the exercises each day I saw a lot of my old pains just disappear.”

After her treatment at the Scoliosis SOS clinic Roz also went on to defy all odds and have a successful pregnancy.

“I was lucky with my pregnancy, the ligaments softened and I experienced even less back pain than normal. I adore being a mum and love every moment with my baby girl.”

Since lifting her daughter Roz’s back pain has increased and while she does exercise most days she has not recovered her scoliometer readings from pre-pregnancy. However, Roz believes by doing the Scoliosis SOS Clinic exercises she will be able to get back to her pre-pregnancy readings and get back to her old pain levels.

“Commitment and hard work are the key but given that option and the option of having surgery, I know which one I would choose every time! The exercises are amazing they have completely transformed my life; the clinic is working very hard to gain recognition by the NHS so that so many more scoliosis sufferers can be treated and I am fully behind them. I think my before and after treatment X-rays speak for themselves!”

For more information about Scoliosis and the Scoliosis SOS clinic visit:

01394 389 670