Rita Simons health: ‘I’d do anything to change that’ – star’s debilitating disorder

Rita Simons, 42, is best known for playing Roxy Mitchell in EastEnders – a character who was killed off. The actress was back on television screens when she took part in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and impressed many viewers with her ballsy and fearless attitude. Rita was diagnosed with a disorder when she was a young girl and learned at a young age to fear nothing in life and persevere no matter what.


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Rita revealed she has scoliosis which causes curvature of the spine. She spoke to New! magazine and said: “I should be 5ft 6ins but I have scoliosis and that has made me two inches shorter.

“I was diagnosed with it when I was doing ballet as a kid.

“There’s nothing they can do except a massive operation, which I won’t be having.”

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What is scoliosis?

The NHS said: “Scoliosis is where the spine twists and curves to the side. it can affect people of any age, from babies to adults, but most often starts in children aged 10 to 15.

‘Scoliosis can improve with treatment, but it is not usually a sign of anything serious and treatment is not always needed.”

What are the symptoms?

“Signs of scoliosis include a visibly curved spine, leaning to one side, uneven shoulders, one shoulder or hip sticking out, ribs sticking out on one side and clothes not fitting well.

“Some people with scoliosis may also have back pain.

“This is usually more common in adults with the condition,” said NHS.


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Rita spoke to The Mirror and said: “Like most women I’m critical of my own body and there’s bits of it I hate.

“I’d have a smaller waist and a longer body. Plus I have this wonky back situation – I have scoliosis and I’d do anything to change that.

“You can have a massive operation which I don’t want – it’s massively invasive, you have a metal rod put in your back and have to sit around for months, putting on 14 stone.”

Treatment for scoliosis

Treatment depends on one’s age, how severe the curve is and whether its likely to get worse with time.

Many people will not need any treatment and only a small number will need to have surgery on their spine.

It’s not clear whether back exercises help improve scoliosis but general exercise has been shown to help with overall health and should not be avoided unless advised by your GP.

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