‘Treatment has given me back my independence’

Janine Midgley and Marya Mahony
Janine Midgley and Marya Mahony

FORMER Old Brodleians’ physiotherapist Janine Midgley has helped a pensioner who has suffered from polio since the age of one to walk again.

Marya Mahony, 63, managed to cope with polio, which left her weak in her right leg, for most of her life.

But just over 10 years ago Marya started to develop a weakness down her left leg, the cause of which was not known.

It was suggested that it could be due to either childhood polio or post polio syndrome – which is thought to affect people in later life.

The former teacher was then diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2007 and after undergoing extensive chemotherapy she was left very weak.

As life became unbearable after three years of using crutches, Marya was facing life in a wheelchair.

It was at this point that Marya contacted Janine Midgley at West Yorkshire Physiotherapy Centre in Wyke.

“We worked on her non-polio side which had suddenly gone weak and that seemed to get stronger so we then decided to have a look at her polio side,” said Janine, who has been in physiotherapy for 25 years.

“She couldn’t stand on one leg when she first came in 12 months ago and now she is getting to the point where she can stand on both legs. She walks in here now and she often forgets her sticks which she used to be dependent on.”

The treatment, known as connective tissue massage, releases the tissue from the underlying muscles, allowing the muscle to glide more freely underneath.

Remarkably, dormant muscles started to fire up and Marya started to regain some hip and leg control and can now walk unaided.

Marya, who lives in Bradford, said: “I am so grateful to Janine for her perseverance and creativity in working out this unique treatment programme which has given me back my independence.

“I am sure that I will continue to make further progress, and am going public about this in the hope that it helps others who are in a similar position to know what can be done.

“I wish I had known about this treatment 11 years ago when I noticed the increased muscular weakness in my leg.”