Daniella Smith, 22, from Birmingham explains how her new hobby changed her life...

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For as long as I remember, my back has given me gyp. Growing up, I was a keen dancer, so I put my aches and pains down to training.

At 15, my mum, Jacqueline, now 55, took me to a bra-fitting. And in the changing room…

‘I didn’t notice before,’ she said, but your spine looks wonky.’

She took me to see the GP who referred me for an X-ray.

The consultant told me I had scoliosis, an abnormal curvature and twisting of the spine.

Tests revealed that my spine was curved at a 30-degree angle. But doctors couldn’t operate to fix my scoliosis until it was at least 50 degrees.

Daniella's spine before the surgery (Photo: Talk To The Press)

Daniella’s spine before the surgery (Photo: Talk To The Press)

Over the next few months, my pain worsened and some days I was crippled in agony.

‘I can’t move!’ I’d sob to Mum.

I had to give up dancing. I also dropped out of my college hairdressing course because I couldn’t stand for long periods.

Scans revealed the twist was getting worse. It caused me to hunch, and my right shoulder blade was jutting out. I just wanted to hide away.

On the rare occasions I did go out, it was to a youth centre.There I met Ashley, 23.I told him about my condition and he was a massive support. We soon became a couple.

Two years later, in May 2011, my curved spine had finally reached 50 degrees.

At Birmingham’s Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, I had a seven-hour op to correct the curve.

Doctors deflated my lungs and inserted two metal rods into my spine.

After surgery (Photo: Talk To The Press)

After surgery (Photo: Talk To The Press)

After six days in hospital, I was allowed home in a wheelchair. I was still in a lot of pain, but I was determined to get better.

Three months on, I was back on my feet.

Doctors said I needed to recover before exercising. But I thought I knew better.

‘Just one dance class,’ I told my sister Katie, 32. ‘I’ll be fine.’

But the lesson left me in agony and delayed my recovery time.

Miserable, I stopped going out and pushed my friends away…

My reality was worlds away from their carefree lives, and my self-esteem hit an all-time low.

In May 2012, I was prescribed antidepressants – I couldn’t carry on wallowing in misery.

Slowly, I began picking myself up and got a job in software. I even started dancing again and doing a bit of yoga.

In 2014, Katie and I talked about pole dancing. ‘It’s great for building and toning muscles, apparently,’ she told me. It looked like fun, so we decided to give it a go.

‘Are you sure you’ll be OK?’ Mum asked me, fretting. With metal rods in my back, she worried I’d hurt myself.

But when I spoke to the instructor, she said that I should be fine. ‘Just take it easy,’ she told me.

So I started with basic spins. Although it was hard work, I really loved it, and soon I was training every week.And, amazingly, my back didn’t play up once!

As I started to improve so did my confidence. I felt exhilarated as I spun around the pole.

‘Looking good,’ my instructor told me. I felt it, too! So much so, I was soon able to come off the antidepressants.

‘You’re certainly nailing it,’ Katie praised when I mastered a complex turn.

Talk To The Press

Talk To The Press

Before long, I was doing some upside-down spins and could even do the splits.

‘Not bad for someone with two metal rods in their back,’ I laughed. Just call me the bionic pole dancer!

Since then, my confidence has really peaked.   I finally feel like the old me again. Pole dancing my way to a brighter future!