DENVER, CO--(Marketwire - Feb 6, 2013) - Abby Decker was once faced with the probability of an early death before even becoming old enough to get her driver's license.
Due to severe scoliosis, which she has suffered from since the first grade, Abby had a spine that curved sideways over 143 degrees and it was almost in her shoulder. She was told not to run or participate in sports; for fear that it would negatively impact her spine. Now Abby's life is changing. In many ways, it is starting to become her own again.
Keeping Abby off the operating table
Surgery to correct Abby's scoliosis would be painful, extremely invasive, dangerous and with no predictive outcome. In a lucky turn of events, Abby's parents learned about Dr. Jane Leavell and her non-surgical approach to treating scoliosis. The teen was encouraged to hear that 100% of patients experienced a reduction in spinal curvature after spending time in Dr. Leavell's clinic, the Rhino Scoliosis Center.
"We were willing to try anything to save Abby while keeping her off of the operating table," said Abby's mother, Beth.
Scoliosis is estimated to affect 4.5% of the general U.S. population, or about 13 million people. Nearly 500 new cases are diagnosed each day -- about 173,000 new cases every year. More than 90% of people diagnosed with scoliosis are girls, usually between the ages of 11 to 14.
Before beginning treatment, Abby's family moved to Colorado to be close to Dr. Leavell's clinic.
"Within the first couple days of treatment she was walking better," her mother explained.
It's been about one year since Abby began treatment at the Rhino Scoliosis Center, and her 143 degree curve is now at 108 degrees. Not only that, but her lung volume has doubled, allowing her to run and play with less restrictions. In fact, she was recently spotted outrunning an adult in a foot race down the clinic's hallway. With each step she takes toward healing, her confidence and strength to fight grows.
"Nothing is more touching than to see this young, brave girl battle a very serious disorder in such a positive way," said Dr. Leavell. "Before I met her, her rib cage was literally resting on her hip and she had a hard time walking upstairs, but now she runs like every other kid her age."
Although Abby's long-term health can't be predicted, the team at Rhino Scoliosis Center will continue to work above and beyond the typical call of duty to improve her lung function, keep her out of pain, increase her general functioning, and extend her life.
Word of Abby's hurdles starting to spread
John Freligh a Certified Board Pedorthist out of Golden, Colo. recently donated his time to craft a pair of custom made orthotics for Abby to use as she works hard to improve her walking.
"A friend of mine knows Abby and told me about her struggles," said Freligh. "After spending just a few minutes with her, I was in awe of her positive outlook and her drive to battle such a large obstacle. It was a no-brainer to help."
"They fit great and I am already seeing improvement in my walking -- plus they are pink, one of my favorite colors," said Abby. "Mr. Freligh was so nice to help me, I will never forget his kindness."
Helping others like Abby through The Leavell Foundation
Dr. Jane Leavell, DC is a Scoliosis Specialist who defies convention. She coaches individuals of all ages to find alternative solutions to their severe muscular and skeletal problems. What she most enjoys is preventing small curves from becoming large problems. "If you have been told to 'watch and wait,' you are an ideal candidate for Rhino Scoliosis Reduction," Dr. Leavell explained. And even if she is considered "alternative," Dr. Jane (as she is known to her patients) has proven one thing -- what she does works. She wants the millions of people suffering from scoliosis to know that there is an option that reduces curvatures without surgery or painful bracing.
And in order to keep this option open for Abby, and others like her, Dr. Jane broke ground on The Leavell Foundation 501 (c) 3 to raise funds for the programs, services and medical technology for patients seeking care at Rhino Scoliosis Center.
If a patient doubts non surgical treatment, surgery will still be available
Rhino Scoliosis Reduction is an emerging, cutting edge collection of therapies designed to halt the progression of scoliosis; significantly reduce Cobb angles; improve posture, balance, and lung function; and instill a sense of peace, purpose, and empowerment for the patient.
The majority of the people Dr. Jane treats are far less impacted by scoliosis than Abby. Typical patients spend one week in intense therapy and are then released with a customized home-care plan designed to not only maintain their improvements, but to also further reduce their curves. They are then followed by the Rhino team, returning to the clinic for occasional check-ups to ensure continuing success.
Abby receives treatment several times a week and will continue to for the foreseeable future.
Rhino Scoliosis Center often deals with critics that question a patient's ability to reduce their curvature without surgery. But Dr. Jane and her team have seen dozens of surgeries cancelled. They've watched lung function improve 100 percent. And they've seen kids stand straighter and grow taller. Patients come to Rhino Scoliosis Center from around the world, as 100% of the patients treated have experienced a reduction in their spine's curvature.
"We just want people to know there is an alternative to surgery and bracing, and to learn more about their options," she said. "If there is doubt after coming to the clinic, surgery will always be there."