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Incredible Story of Daughter Living in Constant Pain Enthrals Australian Audiences

If you are reading this in the United States, you probably won’t have heard of the incredible story of 23 year old Jessica whos harrowing story of Chronic Pain rocked australian Audiences in an episode of SBS’s Struggle Street last week. Jessica was shown living with Ehler-Danlos syndrome type 6 which leaves her with kyphosis, lordosis and a number of other incredibly painful conditions. With a significant proportion of Australians (and Americans) also living with chronic pain conditions, it seems the segment has touched a nerve and resulted in an outpouring of support.

The segment showed how Jessica cannot afford the expensive equipment she so desperately needs.

‘I’m in pain every day. It feels like knives stabbing into me.’ She says at one point during the segment.

A go fund me page set up by her in May 2016 only had $445 Australian dollars according to the show.

Incredibly, viewers responded in heartwarming fashion by donating thousands and thousands of dollars just hours after the episode. The GoFundMe page, which can be found here, has over $120 000 dollars worth of donations at the time of writing.

Talking to NewIdea Marshal Heal, SBS Director of Television said

“The response and generosity to Jessica and Michelle’s story, as well as the many offers to help the other contributors on Struggle Street, has been immense and goes to show the power of television to bring positive change.”

animation of a spine

What is Kyphosis, lordosis, and scoliosis and why does it cause pain?

As discussed above, Jessica’s Ehlers Danlos connective tissue disease lead to painful conditions of the spine, namely kyphosis and lordosis. These conditions can be incredibly painful for those suffering from them but are not well understood by the general public.

  • Lordosis can be normal in the lumbar region and refers to the inward curvature of the spine. However excessive inward curvature can be highly painful. The patients may seem like they have an exaggerated posture with prominent buttocks.
  • Kyphosis is an excessive outward curvature of the spine. It occurs in the cervical, sacra or thoracic regions.
  • Scoliosis is described as a condition whereby the spine has an abnormal sideways curve

What treatment are available for people with kyphosis, lordosis or scoliosis

Treatment is available via specialist clinics across the United States. It usually involves some combination of the following:

  • Stretches and Tai Chi have been known to be used to treat excessive lordosis
  • Braces are used in Kyphosis, Scoliosis, and Lordosis to keep the spine in the correct position and reduce pain
  • Physical therapy can also be used in Kyphosis and Scoliosis.
  • Surgery can be performed as a last resort in kyphosis and is usually recommended in cases of Scoliosis. The surgery differs depending on the exact condition (scoliosis/kyphosis) or degree of curvature. Surgery can be performed via minimally invasive procedures that reduce complication risk and prevent excessive scarring.

If you, like Jessica, are suffering from these conditions then help could be at hand.