[Andrea Downey | The Sun]

Daniella Smith, 22, was born with spinal scoliosis – a curvature of the spine that meant it was bent 50 degrees out of shape.

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The condition meant Daniella had a 50 degree curve in her spine

She had two metal robs bolted into her back to correct the bone condition, but the operation left her wheelchair-bound for two months, house-bound and out of work for two years, and – having lost her friends and independence – spiralling into depression.

But, two years ago Daniella, from Great Bar in Birmingham, discovered a novel way to help her recovery – she started going to pole dancing classes.

Now the software analysis dances three times a week and credits it for strengthening her muscles, improving her flexibility and helping her regain her confidence.

Daniella, who’s in a relationship, said: “In my darkest days after the operation I could barely even walk and I was too frail to leave the house.

“But the pole dancing made me bend in different ways – in a way it was like physio.

“Now I feel sexy again and can do the splits, high kicks, and even do the occasional performance – nobody would ever guess I have two huge metal rods in my back.”

But now, fit and healthy after surgery, Daniella credits pole dancing for improving her strength and confidence

But now, fit and healthy after surgery, Daniella credits pole dancing for improving her strength and confidence

Daniella was just 15 when received the life changing she had 30-degree curvature of the spine in 2009, meaning her right shoulder blade stuck out and she was ‘hunched and in constant pain’.

Tragically, her pain caused her to quit her twice-weekly Salsa class – a hobby she’d had for five years.

Over the next two years the pain worsened but medics told her they had to wait until her spine curved at 50 degrees before they could operate.

She said: “I wanted to be like other teenage girls, but I was plagued with horrendous pain and some days I could barely walk it was so bad.

“I remember going to my prom and spending the night feeling self-conscious about being hunched, and couldn’t dance because my back was sore.”

In February 2010 Daniella dropped out of hairdressing college because standing up for long hours was painful.

The following May her spine curved to 50 degrees and she was finally eligible for the operation on the NHS.

After the surgery Daniella was left house-bound and in pain

After the surgery Daniella was left house-bound and in pain

She recalled: “Though I was in incredible pain, in some ways it was a relief.

“I knew it was going to be gruelling op and that it would take a couple of years to fully recover but I felt like I didn’t have a choice.”

The operation at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham took seven hours to complete.

During the surgery doctors deflated her lungs and bolted two metal rods to her spine.

She spent six days in hospital learning to breathe and walk again before going home, wheelchair bound.

She said: “It was agony. I needed the support of doctors and a frame to walk.

“I felt like I had a long, gruelling recovery ahead.”

Three months after the gruelling surgery she attended a dance class against doctors orders and the strain on her body left her in agonising pain for another three months.

Though her boyfriend of two years was supportive of her, she admits she felt unattractive and miserable.

Then, in May 2012, she was diagnosed with depression.

She now attends three lessons a week and says pole dancing made her feel attractive again

She now attends three lessons a week and says pole dancing made her feel attractive again

She said: “Unable to work or go out with friends, I started to lose touch with pals from before surgery.

“My reality was worlds away from their fun, carefree lives so I couldn’t blame them, but it still hurt.

“I was at rock bottom, I felt like I’d never lead the active life I wanted.”

But then there was light at the end of the tunnel.

In 2013, as her mobility improved, Daniella got a job working in software.

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