A young student who suffers from scoliosis has revealed how an innovative new non-surgical treatment has changed his life.
Jack Gaffney (14) was born with the curvature of the spine as well as another dangerous congenital malformation known as klippel-feil.
The teenager, who attends St. Kevin's CBS in Arklow, had three vertebrae fused together and lived in constant fear of going under the knife.
He had been told that his only hope of a normal life was to undergo an incredibly risky and major surgery which involves metal rods being inserted either side of the spine, before the spine is fused solid.
Jack's mother Valerie told the Herald: "We saw doctors in Ireland for five years, they told us to wait for the operation."
She explained how Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin warned them of the problems that could arise from the operation, but left them with no hope of an alternative.
However, four weeks after undergoing the innovative new treatment at a clinic in England, Jack's condition has improved to such a degree that he can enjoy his passion of skateboarding, along with practicing Tae Kwon Do.
Jack has also reduced the rotation in his neck to the point where the cervical curve is no-longer classified as scoliosis, according to the family.
"Crumlin doctors, I don't think they know about all this. Doctors all over the world say there's no scientific proof of it working, but we're seeing that he's improving. They didn't tell us about it," said Valerie.
The clinic in London is one of many Scoliosis SOS centres around the world, and it claims to have improved the lives of many sufferers through a process called ScolioGold.
Speaking about his six weeks in the clinic Jack said: "People were very nice in the clinic. I'm much happier now.
"I feel much better in the way I look, before I was embarrassed about the way jumpers looked on me, I was embarrassed talking to people.
"Now I'm much happier when I'm with my friends, I'm more confident."
Jack spoke of how the strength he has now makes him feel much better, and more capable of living a fuller life.
His mother explained that he suffered with weakness before, andwas only able to exercise through gentle swimming.
Valerie also wants to let people know that there are alternatives to the aggressive operation which was recommended to Jack in Ireland.
Speaking about the treatment, she said "I think it's the best thing we've found for him. He was getting worse before we found this on the internet.
"Now we can see a difference, he's getting straightened."
Valerie knows that the therapy won't resolve his problems completely, as he'll have to continue with 45 minute exercises every day to keep it in check.
The Argentine family have lived in Ireland for seven years, having moved back to their ancestral home. Jack's grand-father went to Argentina where he married, and the family returned here to spend their lives.