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Ex-triathlete, 26, says her 42I breasts have made her spine collapse and put her in a wheelchair

A former triathlete says her size 42l breasts caused her spine to collapse and left her wheelchair-bound. 

Debbie Horton, 26, hoped to raise £7,000 for reduction surgery after the NHS refused to pay because she doesn’t fit into a strict criteria.

The sales advisor, from Nuneaton, Warks., has already had multiple operations to fix her spinal problems but needs breast reduction to fix the source of the issue or else faces ‘living in pain every day’. 

‘I really believe that having the breast reduction surgery would completely change my life – it would reduce the pain as I won’t have the weight pulling me down. I think they must weigh a couple of stone each,’ she added.

Before she hurt her back Miss Horton was a fitness fanatic

After she was injured Miss Horton used a wheelchair and crutches to move around

Debbie Horton, 26, hoped to raise £7,000 for reduction surgery after the NHS refused to pay because she doesn’t fit into a strict criteria. Pictured left, before she hurt her back in 2016 Miss Horton was a fitness fanatic. Right, she now uses a wheelchair

The ex fitness fanatic, who completed a triathlon, has spent four years in a wheelchair after suffering spinal degeneration disc disease, fibromyalgia, prolapsed discs, spondylitis and kyphosis in her neck.  

She said: ‘The weight of my boobs is constantly pulling down and it causes so much pain. I live with pain every day. 

‘I can learn to get my spine back into the position it should be in – my boobs could have caused this whole problem. I’ve spoken to my doctor about getting it on the NHS but it’s such a strict criteria.’ 

The ex fitness fanatic, who completed a triathlon (pictured), has spent four years in a wheelchair after suffering spinal degeneration disc disease, fibromyalgia, prolapsed discs, spondylitis and kyphosis in her neck

The ex fitness fanatic, who completed a triathlon (pictured), has spent four years in a wheelchair after suffering spinal degeneration disc disease, fibromyalgia, prolapsed discs, spondylitis and kyphosis in her neck

Miss Horton's scars following surgery

She has already had multiple operations

The sales advisor, from Nuneaton, Warks., has already had multiple operations to fix her spinal problems but needs breast reduction to fix the source of the issue or else faces ‘living in pain every day’

Miss Horton, who works a customer sales advisor for Domestic and General and lives with her 32-year-old fiancé Lee Southwell, has to shop in specialist stores for her bras

Miss Horton, who works a customer sales advisor for Domestic and General and lives with her 32-year-old fiancé Lee Southwell, has to shop in specialist stores for her bras

When Miss Horton was working in the supermarket, she bent over to pick something up when her back gave in and she had to be rushed to hospital. Pictured during a triathlon

When Miss Horton was working in the supermarket, she bent over to pick something up when her back gave in and she had to be rushed to hospital. Pictured during a triathlon

Miss Horton first collapsed due to back pain in September 2016 whilst working at Aldi and, despite several different spinal operations, still has to rely on a wheelchair and crutches to get around.

Miss Horton, who works a customer sales advisor for Domestic and General and lives with her 32-year-old fiancé Lee Southwell, has to shop in specialist stores for her bras.

What is the strict criteria for claiming breast reduction surgery on the NHS? 

Different areas of the UK have a distinct set of criteria for whether breast reduction surgery is offered on the NHS.

Generally, you might be considered for breast reduction on the NHS if you have problems caused by having very large breasts, such as:

  • Backache; 
  • Shoulder or neck pain; 
  • Skin irritation; 
  • Rashes and skin infections under the breasts; 
  • Grooves on the shoulders from bra straps; 
  • Psychological distress, such as low self-esteem or depression; 
  • An inability to exercise or take part in sports.

Additional criteria might include the size of your breasts, your weight, your age, whether you smoke, and whether other options (such as wearing professionally fitted bras) have not helped.

Source: NHS 

She added: ‘With the less pressure impacting my spine, I can put more exercise in and doctors have said that it would help.

‘I don’t like to go out without Lee because I can’t physically walk for a long time – I have to take my crutches and wheelchair everywhere with me.’ 

When Miss Horton was working in the supermarket, she bent over to pick something up when her back gave in and she had to be rushed to hospital.

‘They found out that my spine was curved which could have been something I was born with – they’re not sure,’ Miss Horton added.

‘I had to take two months off work and everything went downhill from there.

‘The pain was horrendous and now I live with it everyday – it really makes you realise how much you need your back.’

Miss Horton finally received three bouts of surgery including a disc discectomy, disc laminectomy and spinal proctorial lumber in November last year but still struggles to walk.

She continued: ‘I was diagnosed with lupus last week which is just another thing to add to the list.

‘With my illness, my skin can be so sensitive that I can’t even put a bra on which makes the weight even heavier. It’s too much for my spine to handle.

‘One of my friends, Rita Bloomer, helped me to set the fundraiser up and I really think it will change my life for the better.’

Miss Horton has been with her fiance for ten years and says that she couldn’t carry on without him.

‘He’s a mental health support manager and he doesn’t get a break when he comes home because he has to come and care for me.

Miss Horton has been with her fiance Lee Southwell for ten years and says that she couldn't carry on without him

Miss Horton has been with her fiance Lee Southwell for ten years and says that she couldn’t carry on without him

‘He’s been amazing – I’ve told him that it’s okay if he wants to go and find someone he can have a normal life with but he doesn’t want that.

‘I’m very lucky to have the support that I do’.

MailOnline has contacted Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group for comment.  

What are Debbie Horton’s diagnoses? 

Spinal degeneration disc disease

When one or more of the discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column deteriorates or breaks down, leading to pain. 

There may be weakness, numbness, and pain that radiates down the leg 

Fibromyalgia

Characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened pain response to pressure. 

Other symptoms include tiredness to a degree that normal activities are affected, sleep problems and troubles with memory.

Prolapsed discs

When a soft cushion of tissue between the bones in your spine pushes out. 

It’s painful if it presses on nerves. It usually gets better slowly with rest, gentle exercise and painkillers. 

Spondylitis

Where one of the bones in your spine, known as a vertebra, slips out of position.

It’s most common in the lower back, but it can also happen in the mid to upper back or at the top of the spine at the back of your neck.

Kyphosis

A spinal disorder in which an excessive outward curve of the spine results in an abnormal rounding of the upper back.

Lupus  

A long-term condition causing inflammation to the joints, skin and other organs. There’s no cure, but symptoms can improve if treatment starts early. 

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