Text: Melinda Marchese
Photo: Heidi Diaz

“I came to terms with my back!”

Chloé Buchmann Sanroma decided to start exercising again. She was diagnosed with scoliosis as a teenager. For 25 years, she only allowed herself to do a bit of dance, thinking she was protecting her back.


You can also read our Focus here

Chloé Buchmann Sanroma has recently made drastic changes in her day-to-day life. “I started jogging, doing fitness and even took up skiing again,” says the nearly 40-year old mother. “I never would have thought I’d be able to do so much,” she says.

As a teenager, the doctors made it clear. The young woman had scoliosis (a malformation of the vertebral column) and had to avoid any intense physical activity. “I wore a brace for two years, which prevented my scoliosis from getting worse,” she says.

“Only swimming was recommended. From that point on in school, a medical certificate prohibited me from going to gym class with my classmates.”

That’s how the young woman lived for more than twenty years, giving her back pain an important place in her everyday life. “I took it as a fate that I had to live with. Not one day went by that I didn’t repeat to myself that my back hurt. Like a routine that I had ingrained in my mind.”

Chloé Buchmann Sanroma tried several methods to relieve her chronic low back pain. “I took the advice of several schools on back pain, did a lot of physiotherapy, practised the right postures in ergotherapy and saw my osteopath a lot. I never stopped going to my orthopaedic doctor, who prescribed antiinflammatory drugs every year. Nothing really changed.”

Until 2013. “I was sick of it! I couldn’t see myself living with that pain all my life! I told my new doctor that I wanted surgery. That’s when I heard an all-new viewpoint for the first time, which questioned what I’d thought was true and lived with for years. I needed to reactivate my muscles, stop protecting my back and put an end to my fear of pain.

In 2015, she had three weeks of rehabilitation at the Unit of Spinal Rehabilitation at CHUV. “The programme is very dense,” says Chloé Buchmann Sanroma.

“I did 35 hours a week of strengthening and cardiovascular exercises, aqua fitness and weight lifting at an intensive pace! It was a revelation, a real wake-up call.I could actually do all of it!”
Did her pain totally disappear?
“I approach it in a completely different way,” she says. Now, as soon as I’m in pain, I put on my sport clothes and go running! It warms my muscles, and I feel less discomfort. I’m extremely motivated to continue these efforts and am delighted to have finally come to terms with my back.” ⁄