We may experience back ache once in a while, and we tend to wave it off because the pain is not serious.
But for one poor man in China, he spent almost close to three decades being folded in half.
The case of the 'Folding Man'
In 1991, the man named Li Hua was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS)
, an agressive form of arthritis which causes severe inflammation on the joints.
He was 18 years old at the time, and the pain in his joints forced him to become increasingly hunchbacked.
Over time, because the pain has become so unbearable, it left Li's face pressed against his thighs for almost three decades.
According to AsiaWire
, there was only a gap of 5cm between his chin and thighs.
Li told the news portal that his condition got worse in the past five years, leaving him unable to sleep, lie down straight or even eat.
His family from the Yongzhou, Hunan, couldn't afford to treat him, so his elderly mother reportedly became his full-time carer.
Even when he sought medical attention in 2018, he was refused surgery because the doctors considered it too high of a risk.
Knight in shining armour
In May 2019, one Professor Tao Huiren, who leads the spinal surgery and orthopaedics department at the Shenzhen University General Hospital, agreed to operate on him.
reported that Professor Tao had treated patients with similiar conditions before, but none whose case was so severe.
However, the surgery was not as easy as it seems.
To fix Li's spine, it involved a four-part surgery, and during each part, doctors had to break Li's bones one section at a time
- the femur, cervical vertebrae, thoracic vertebrae and then lumbar vertebrae.
Then, they had to straighten his entire spinal column and rebuild it part by part.
Thankfully for Li, the surgery went extremely well, and he was allowed to sit up, then lift his head, then lie flat again.
Road to recovery
After the surgery, the hospital released pictures showing Li being able to lie down, sit up and even stand up straight for the first time in 28 years.
In fact, AsiaWire
reported that Li can now move around with the help of a walker.
Professor Tao added that Li will regain normal movement following just two to three months of physical therapy.
"There would've been no cure for me without Doctor Tao. He's my saviour, and my gratitude to him is second only to my mother," Li was quoted as saying.
We don't know about you guys, but reading about Li's case makes us really conscious about our posture right now.
Sit up straight now, guys!