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eponacelt
Dec. 19, 2007, 08:55 PM
Let me first say that I've struggled with back pain in various forms since my teens, but its usually manageable, and never really interfered with anything I wanted to do. But about three years ago, I started getting shooting pains and started seeing doctors, massage therapists and chiropracters. I've finally hit upon someone who really is trying to figure out the problem and he recently orderd a full set of x-rays.

Unfortunatley, it confirmed what I already knew - I have a congenital defect in L5 which causes torsion of my pelvis and strains my SI joint, which is what causes the pain. The big eye opener though, is that this is clearly the reason I have such a hard time sitting in my saddle straight. I certianly do my best, but since my pelvis just physically twists towards the left, its very very hard to shift it right to make proper "straight" turns. I endlessly exasperate my trainer on this.

So, I'll be seeing a sporst medicine therapist at the recommendation of my chiro, but as optimistic as he is, he thinks I'll probably never be truly straight, which really frustrates me. I WANT to ride properly, but will I ever really overcome this? Is it possible to ride dressage and "compensate" if you can't sit truly straight in the saddle? Has anyone else ever dealt with a similiar situation?

JRG
Dec. 19, 2007, 09:00 PM
I dont have the same as you, but I hope you get the relief you need.

For me, it turns out I have an extra vertebrea. The doctor found it when I had my last accident. He kept asking me if I had any back issues, finally I said why? and then he told me. Kind of odd really.

Sancudo
Dec. 19, 2007, 09:08 PM
I am different from you in that I don't have pain, but I do have pretty bad scoliosis- 44 degrees or something like that. My left ribcage is 3 inches shorter than my right, and my spine almost goes under my right shoulderblade. So when I ride, I collapse my left side, bring my right shoulder forward, and in turn, sit with my right hip farther forward. Sure makes riding straight very difficult.

Edit- I haven't run into anything through 2nd level that I haven't been capable of, although I fear changes are going to be hard with my unlevel hips. I have had a judge or two comment on it- and one said she lowered my rider score for it.

Where'sMyWhite
Dec. 19, 2007, 09:54 PM
Sancudo,

I have scoliosis as well (and sounds very similar to yours although the offset of hip to shoulder may not be quite as much - but also the hip "rotation" as well).

I have been going to a Feldenkrais practitioner for almost 6 years and she has made a world of difference in the flexibility of my hips as well as the "rotation".

I'm still not straight (and probably never will be) but have so much more flexibility than I used to have and ride with more comfort and with more seat control...

STF
Dec. 19, 2007, 10:06 PM
I dont have as bad as you but I have an injury in my lower back that causes me some pretty bad pain. I have learned to deal with it, but jumping I do seem to protect my back now and roll it (roach) when it needs to be flat. Jumping strains it a bit more than dressage. I can do sitting trot, even collected work with big gaits and its fine. Its the jumping that tweaks it.
As for dealing with it. OTC anti inflams right now. I dont wana be on to hard drugs. Yes I get up and around in the am like a 90 yr old woman, but I refuse to give up yet.

Petstorejunkie
Dec. 19, 2007, 10:27 PM
ooh ooh (raises hand)
scoliosis, rib deformity on left side (looks like i have a third boob but more like an a cup... you dont notice it unless i wear a tight shirt) oh and lets not forget the mild case of spina bifida!

i have seen a chiropractor regularly since age 3 and that seems to help alot. also learning how to become really aware of your body's center, and having a really upper level hot shot trainer really helps. it has taken me lots of regular hard work to be straight, but it CAN be done!
learning that one hip "feeling" too far back and "being" too far back is the true demon. you'll get there, i can tell you want it bad enough

Vida
Dec. 20, 2007, 12:55 AM
I have 25% curvature of the spine and a degenerated lower back and am also very crooked in the saddle. My left hip goes further forward but my left shoulder also drops. Am constantly finding my saddle hiked to the left when my riding gets really bad. A good exercise that works for me is to do a couple of sessions in a row of riding without any rein at all in an enclosed arena. Basically I just let the horse go where he wants as long he stays at the gait I want whether it's walk, trot or canter. My body has to learn to follow his turns and movement and it also shows me how much stronger I am on one side if he continually goes in a particular direction. Using no hands at all makes your body balance up and even out more. I keep a small rope on the D of my saddle and run the reins through the rope to keep them on the withers in case I need to grab them if things get hairy. I ride like this until I stop hiking my saddle to the left which is usually about 2 or 3 sessions.

Another thing I've found has helped me tremendously with back pain is to have the stirrup bars well set back. Any saddle that throws me in a chair seat is extremely painful for me to ride in. Whereas a saddle that puts my legs under me is very comfortable and doesn't hurt my back. And strong abdominals also help to ease back pain. The stronger I am muscle wise in my mid section, the less back pain I have.

luvs2ride79
Dec. 20, 2007, 01:06 AM
A friend of mine has a tilted pelvis as well (for different reasons) and she has found that the Heather Moffet treeless saddle (Fheonix) has been a life saver. Her hips and back do not hurt with it and it doesn't restrict her position, so she can ride in any configuration that works for her. You might want to demo one to see if it helps you.

Sdhaurmsmom
Dec. 20, 2007, 01:48 AM
I've got a moderate mid-back scoliosis as well. my right seat bone is often about an inch higher than the left, which makes it difficult to ride evenly. My chiro helps with this - I ride level for about two weeks after an adjustment - but I have been unable to maintain the adjustment for longer than that, maybe because of the scoliosis. Unfortunately my insurance won't pay for me to see him every two weeks... so I just do what I can with stretching and ab work. Riding without stirrups also helps because it doesn't let my R leg 'clutch' so much. It tends to clench, I suppose because my seat bone isn't doing the work of keeping me on that side of the saddle...for instance, I actually have to lift my R leg away from the horse to leg yield to the right, or I block him from going over.

I've been learning jumping for the last 6 months, and the two point work is really killing my back...much more so than the dressage work does, including sitting trot.

I do notice that I have to keep up a certain level of abdominal strength to support my back...the more the better...and if that goes, my back goes. No belly, no back...

I never used to notice this or care when I was just a trail rider...I suppose if I ever live in a place again with fantastic trails, like what I grew up with, I might stop obsessing so much and just enjoy riding out. But for now I am a rider who schools dressage and jumping, so I have greater need for physical ambidexterity and balance.

eponacelt
Dec. 20, 2007, 07:45 AM
Wow...I feel so much better. There is hope! The pain I can manage. I have all the right drugs to help when its too bad, and usually get by on some Aleve. But the feeling that my riding is hopelessly flawed was tough.

Its good to know that there are plenty of other people out there with similiar physical issues and that there are solutions. I am still hopeful and my chiro is sure that he and the sports medicine therapist can help me improve, but I wanted to hear from real riders!

Thanks!

eponacelt
Dec. 20, 2007, 07:52 AM
Wow...I feel so much better. There is hope! The pain I can manage. I have all the right drugs to help when its too bad, and usually get by on some Aleve. But the feeling that my riding is hopelessly flawed was tough.

Its good to know that there are plenty of other people out there with similiar physical issues and that there are solutions. I am still hopeful and my chiro is sure that he and the sports medicine therapist can help me improve, but I wanted to hear from real riders!

Thanks!

tollertwins
Dec. 20, 2007, 07:57 AM
Wonky SI joints....my back hurts really easily from riding - and over the last couple years I've gotten pretty stiff if the horse gets bouncy.

PT recommended using a SI brace while riding - makes a HUGE difference.

Also ride in w/ a Seatbone saver to help keep me from twisting right. That makes a major difference, too! My right seatbone used to always fall off going right.

HFSH
Dec. 20, 2007, 08:44 AM
Epona, I haven't a defect, but I have a dislocated pelvis. 18mm on xray. My right hip is chronically shoved forwards. So yes, sitting straight in the saddle is truly a challenge. My chiropractor's look on his face when he was reading the xrays was priceless but worrysome. He even said, wow, and you can walk and everything, huh? :lol: :o :winkgrin: I guess normally if people come in with that sort of dislocation, they're not on their feet.

*shrug*

I'm not letting it stop me, but i'm not ignoring it either. I see my chiro often.

JustABay
Dec. 20, 2007, 08:45 AM
Hi there! I've been lurking around for a while but finally decided to post as this is an interesting topic to me. I was involved in a major car accident a while back and injured my L1 S4 or something. I now have 3 blown discs and an appointment with the surgeon...at 24:no:. My chiro said no more jumping if I want to keep riding:cry:. I am still in a fair bit of pain, but can't stay out of the tack much longer or I'll go crazy!! I take pain meds before I go to the barn so I don't get too ouchy during or after my ride. Now I also have difficulty keeping myself straight in the tack, and have a lot of weakness on my right side. What does everyone else do to keep pain free while riding?

Eclectic Horseman
Dec. 20, 2007, 08:58 AM
Hi there! I've been lurking around for a while but finally decided to post as this is an interesting topic to me. I was involved in a major car accident a while back and injured my L1 S4 or something. I now have 3 blown discs and an appointment with the surgeon...at 24:no:. My chiro said no more jumping if I want to keep riding:cry:. I am still in a fair bit of pain, but can't stay out of the tack much longer or I'll go crazy!! I take pain meds before I go to the barn so I don't get too ouchy during or after my ride. Now I also have difficulty keeping myself straight in the tack, and have a lot of weakness on my right side. What does everyone else do to keep pain free while riding?

Have you tried a TENS unit? They are battery operated and portable. About the size of a transitor radio and can be clipped to your belt. They can be quite expensive, but if you get a prescription they are usually covered by insurance.

sid
Dec. 20, 2007, 09:01 AM
Yes, badly damaged the left side of my SI joint a few years ago. I now only have moderate pain as long as I'm careful, but I can't take any antinflammatories. My riding suffers for it. I know I'm compensating somewhere else and I unconsciously guard that injury site.

JustABay
Dec. 20, 2007, 09:03 AM
What's a TENS unit??:confused::lol: I've never heard of that

Eclectic Horseman
Dec. 20, 2007, 09:27 AM
What's a TENS unit??:confused::lol: I've never heard of that

Here is one explanation. You can google it for others, and where to purchase, etc.

http://arthritis.about.com/od/assistivedevicesgadgets/g/tensunit.htm

Miss-O
Dec. 20, 2007, 10:03 AM
I broke my L3 vertebrea about 3 years ago. When they did the x-ray they also found that I have a very mild case of scoliosis in my lower back. Which has caused me to get sciatica my entire life. Now that I know about the scolosis so many things make sense, like why I experience joint pain in my slightly longer leg after riding, the sciatica, which I always thought was just bad leg muscle cramps, and a whole slew of other things.

Since the accident I do experience a lot more back related problems but for everyday life as long as I'm in shape I only experience pain occasionally buy boy oh boy things get BAD if i fall even a tiny bit out of shape. Whenever I try to do something athletic, like riding, I really notice how much more stiff my back is. After I've ridden for about a 1/2 hour I'm pretty sore and walk work bothers my back more then trotting or cantering. I drive my horse to a cart as well and oddly enough I'm much worse after sitting in that because of the bounciness. Maybe I can use it as an excuse to buy a 4 wheeled vehicle :D

I no longer try to ride in perfectly even stirrups anymore. One is about 1/4-1/2 inch longer then the other one for my longer leg. That seems to help a lot for both my joint pain in that leg, my back pain and my horses responsiveness. I'm also thinking about getting the MDC stirrups (the non-jointed ones) so that my stirrup leather isn't twisted anymore. Anyone have any experience with those helping matters?

MissMaryMack
Dec. 20, 2007, 10:23 AM
I have three herniated discs- One in my neck and two in my lower back. I spent 2 and 1/2 months on bed rest last winter and barely squeeked by without surgery. I still ride- although I can't do much dressage anymore since it's very painful for me to ride a sitting trot. I do what I can but I'm much better off riding in a half-seat- so jumping it is! I don't ride very hard anymore though but the best thing for me has been STRETCHING before I get on and ICING my back for 30 minutes when I get finished. If I remember to do both of those- I'm fine but if I forget...bad news!!! :no: Oh- did I mention that I'm 22? I had to walk away from the end of my junior career and a riding scholarship b/c of this lovely injury! But don't you worry...I'm still riding!! If there are any other suggestions- I'd love to hear them!! Thanks and good luck to all of you!

LD1129
Dec. 20, 2007, 10:26 AM
Ugg I deal with this every day! I have a mild case of scoliosis and a worse case of cyphosis (sp?) the top of my back is rounded so I will be a hunch back by the time I am 40 (im 26 now) I have huge problems with sitting up straight and keeping my shoulders back.

Also a jumping incident left me with herniated discs on my right side so I am usually numb with shooting pains from my hip down my butt to behind my right knee.

I have now been used to the pain, I do dressage now and dont really jump anymore. I see the chiropractors as often as I can and that seems to really help with the pain from my sciatic nerve from the discs that are out of place. I also should get some stock in advil since I use it alot!

Other wise there is not much else they can do for me! I usually put on my heating pad at 4 am so that I can get out of bed by six. I have a regular boring job so I am riding about 5 times a week, two lessons a week. When I did barn work it was alot worse with the pain. I have been trying to take it easy :winkgrin:

TropicalStorm
Dec. 20, 2007, 10:30 AM
I'm only 20, and according to my doctor and physio therapist, have the back of a 70 year old :no:

I actually have an atrophied ass :P Which I find a trifle hilarious, but boy is it painful. Turns out it one of my accidents, I really injured my lower back and tailbone area and I just stopped using the place effectively. So the muscle withered away. And what's worse is now that it's pointed out to me, you can see th difference! :eek:

I've also slipped discs twice from falls and apparently my left pelvis is much higher then my right and it puts pressure on my spinal colum. Yup. Life is good at 20. Can't wait til I hit my thirties ;)

Riding can sometimes be painful. I find that if I ride a LOT-as in 2-3 horses a day, its not bad. It's that inbetween stuff of riding 2-3 times a week that causes me the most agony, maybe because my muscles have a chance to relax afterwards. Unfortunately, the 2-3 times a week is all I'm able to do at the moment...so I have my lovely does or percocet and a bath quite frequently

HFSH
Dec. 20, 2007, 10:56 AM
My chiro gave me the option of a TENS unit or an EMS (electronic muscle stimulator or such) unit. I had used a TENS before and thought I'd go with it, but my problems also are deep into muscle due to my dislocation.

An EMS unit goes deeper than a TENS and I am SO glad i have the EMS unit.

BTW, when I used the TENS unit 4 yrs ago (initial use), they were like $2K. Now they are under $500.

my tens unit was about $150. Best.money.spent.EVAH!

patch work farm
Dec. 20, 2007, 11:45 AM
I was diagnosed with scoliosis as a teen ager and at the time I was told "8 out of 10 people walking down the street have it too". I guess at the time it made me feel more "normal" but it certainly has been tough to overcome over the years!

I drop my left shoulder (my poor trainer is JUST now getting me to stop that after saying it for YEARS!!)I also sit this way when driving. I also think I have some disk damage but am just stubborn enough to "ignore" it (don't want to find out I should stop riding), I actually stopped going to my chiropractor because the more he worked on me, the more often my back went out. I do tough it out, but somedays are definitely worse than others and days that are "raw" certainly don't help. It seems to be a common ailment that riders (esp. dressage riders) have back issues because of compression.

Can anyone recommend a specific SI brace? I used to use one and I am not sure if there is something better that I could try.

Eclectic Horseman
Dec. 20, 2007, 01:57 PM
I recommended this book on another similar thread and will do so again.

http://www.amazon.com/Riders-Pain-Free-Back-Overcome-Soreness/dp/1570763712/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1198176904&sr=1-1

It is called the Rider's Pain Free Back by James Warson, MD. It is by a retired spine surgeon who is also a rider. Very, very interesting.

The statistic he gives is that 1 in 10 women have scolliosis, and that it gets worse with age. :cry:

But on the whole, the book is very positive and aims to keep people in the saddle--not stop them from riding.

Dressage Art
Dec. 20, 2007, 02:43 PM
I fractured my tail bone from a fall off a horse. Since then, it's painful to sit for a long time - even on a chair. Sitting trot and canter hits my tail bone and that is painful. I'm in pain in my tail bone during and after every ride. It's been like that for 15 years now. I do have some stiffness from overprotecting my tailbone when ride - I can't really relax completely my lower back and I can't really "sit back" on my tail bone.

Yes, it is affecting my riding. Yes, I'm not as relaxed during the sitting trot as I would love to be, but pain is tolerable and riders and trainers with chronic pain understand my limits and are very helpful of dealing with it. I've met some trainers and riders (mostly young ones) who don't have any chronic pain and they do have a hard time understanding/teaching a rider with a chronic pain, who keep on asking the impossible: for me to sit the way that it's really, really painful to the point that I can hardly walk after my ride. They do teach by the "book", but most of the time the "book" addresses only a healthy riders fully capable being correctly aligned and totally straight.

My advice to you is to find a trainer who understands your disability and your chronic pain. Who is capable to work around that and give you answers how to deal with that pain. The cookie cutter trainer will not work. The trainer who says "suck it up" will not work either, b/c the chronic pain doesn't go away. However, if you will find a trainer who understands a chronic pain - you will be just fine!

flshgordon
Dec. 20, 2007, 03:19 PM
Wow...I feel so much better. There is hope! The pain I can manage. I have all the right drugs to help when its too bad, and usually get by on some Aleve. But the feeling that my riding is hopelessly flawed was tough.

Its good to know that there are plenty of other people out there with similiar physical issues and that there are solutions. I am still hopeful and my chiro is sure that he and the sports medicine therapist can help me improve, but I wanted to hear from real riders!

Thanks!

I would say get a thinline pad to help minimize the concussion to your back but other than that, I think everyone can learn to overcome the shortcomings of their body. While not painful or congenital, I personally deal with the fact that I have a big butt.....:yes: It really gets in the way sometimes and makes dressage harder because I can't sit right, but my horse and I manage ok. And while you may not be able to sit straight, I think you and your horse will be able to find a way to communicate successfully, it just may not be the way everyone else does it! That's the beauty of having your own horse and training it to YOUR cues even if they're not the standard/accepted ones. If the doctor says it's safe, I think you will do just fine!

eponacelt
Dec. 20, 2007, 03:21 PM
The statistic he gives is that 1 in 10 women have scolliosis, and that it gets worse with age. :cry:



This is absolutely the case with me. According to my chiro, my body compensated pretty well for years. Then, one day, it just stopped compensating, and I'm stuck with the pain.

Ce la vie. All I want is to ride well. I can manage the pain!

Eclectic Horseman
Dec. 20, 2007, 03:39 PM
This is absolutely the case with me. According to my chiro, my body compensated pretty well for years. Then, one day, it just stopped compensating, and I'm stuck with the pain.

Ce la vie. All I want is to ride well. I can manage the pain!

Amen.

My favorite saying, "hey, it's only pain."

There are worse things. :sigh:

myboyludy
Dec. 20, 2007, 06:27 PM
I have a hip defect in which I sit crooked and have a hard time making my right leg do what its supposed to. The right hip is actually pushed 3 inches higher than the left so Im really crooked. I saw a chiropractor who "helped" but its really about retraining the muscles so they "want" to go where I put them.

Miss-O
Dec. 20, 2007, 08:13 PM
I meant to say this before but forgot

At the Equine Affair that I went to last month I stopped at the side saddle associations booth just to ask some general questions. (it's always something that I thought would be neat to try) The lady was very helpful and even mentioned that many riders with scoliosis, other types of back problems and arthritis find side saddle riding more comfortable because your not spreading your legs and there is less torque on your hips. I did try sitting in the saddle that they had there for demo's. It was quite comfy. Pretty much like sitting in a chair with your legs crossed *almost*. I've never really ridden in a side saddle so I can't say if that's true from personal experience. But I thought some of you may find that info interesting.

Velvet
Dec. 22, 2007, 02:46 PM
I have a question. Does modifying your position remove the pain? Can you find a way to ride in a slightly modified position AND still be effective? Horses are VERY adaptable to training methods and styles. Every rider has their own issues and they impact the horse (even top riders are not completely symmetrical), so is it so extreme that you can't find a more comfortable and less "classical" position that will still allow you to achieve your dressage goals? Believe me, if the horse is going beautifully, the judge will score you based on the ride and only comment on the abnormal position a bit. It's the riders ability to make the horse look beautiful that really counts, not a cookie cutter rider position. :)

hey101
Dec. 22, 2007, 02:56 PM
http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=122581

Another one who has managed with life-long scoliosis. Please see my thread link above for something that happened to me recently that has SIGNIFICANTLY improved my riding, due to better balance and increased range of motion.

eponacelt
Dec. 22, 2007, 04:37 PM
I have a question. Does modifying your position remove the pain? Can you find a way to ride in a slightly modified position AND still be effective? Horses are VERY adaptable to training methods and styles. Every rider has their own issues and they impact the horse (even top riders are not completely symmetrical), so is it so extreme that you can't find a more comfortable and less "classical" position that will still allow you to achieve your dressage goals? Believe me, if the horse is going beautifully, the judge will score you based on the ride and only comment on the abnormal position a bit. It's the riders ability to make the horse look beautiful that really counts, not a cookie cutter rider position. :)

I don't have any problems with pain while I'm actually riding. I will be sore afterwards and do tend to "lock up" after a ride sometimes. I do wonder what my crookedness is doing to my youngster though. Am I training him to listen to my peculiar aids? Or messing him up so that noone in the future will be able to ride him? I guess only time will tell...

tollertwins
Dec. 22, 2007, 05:26 PM
I ride with both a thin-line AND a seat saver....I just got a 'heather moffett' seat saver from the UK to take on a riding vacation - it is SUPER comfy.

The extra padding is just flat necessary for me.....

JaimeC
Dec. 22, 2007, 05:56 PM
I recommended this book on another similar thread and will do so again.

http://www.amazon.com/Riders-Pain-Free-Back-Overcome-Soreness/dp/1570763712/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1198176904&sr=1-1

It is called the Rider's Pain Free Back by James Warson, MD. It is by a retired spine surgeon who is also a rider. Very, very interesting.

The statistic he gives is that 1 in 10 women have scolliosis, and that it gets worse with age. :cry:

But on the whole, the book is very positive and aims to keep people in the saddle--not stop them from riding.

Thanks for the link, the book looks very interesting. I broke my back 3 1/2 months ago and honestly I've been pretty worried about how much it's going to effect me as a rider. The L1 is a compression fracture, the L4 is shattered. I do have some spinal cord damage as well as nerve damage. I already had some problems with my middle/upper back before my back was broken, and I quite often had to take Robax after a ride. I obviously haven't been able to ride since my back was broken, and wont be riding for quite a while. Do any of you wear back supports or safety vests while riding? If you do, do you find it helps?

LoveToJump
Dec. 22, 2007, 06:38 PM
I have had chronic back pain for two years. I had a very bad injury two years ago and have issues with my L1-L3 discs, my SI joint and my Psoas muscle. I did a series of cortisone shots to pinpoint the exact location of the pain. Once that was established my doctor (pain management doctor) did radiofrequency. They go into your back and burn the nerves that are responsible for sending the pain signals to the brain. The pain relief lasts anywhere from 6 months to two years. Up until a week ago, I was pain free for almost 4 months. Now I am back on Percocet. You can only have the procedure every 6 months. When I don't have pain, I ride better. I don't try to protect my back as much. Here is a link to the doctor that I use explaining the procedure
http://www.apm-wi.net/services/ Good luck!:)

Kyrie
Dec. 23, 2007, 04:16 AM
My mum has severe bone degeneration of her lower spine. Taking a truck load of painkillers was her supposed only option until she discovered Flair (air flocking). She now only rides in Flair and without painkillers. Having said that, Flair doesn't suit everyone/every horse so I would suggest Bowen Muscle Therapy - I swear by it :D

Aorrowan
Dec. 23, 2007, 06:15 AM
I'm yet another person with moderate-severe scoliosis. I had two unsuccessful surgeries before my 18th birthday to "install" harrington rods, and although both surgeries were a success, the rods have broken both times due to metal fatigue. I'm currently 2.5" shorter than I am supposed to be, which means that not only is my spine crooked beyond compensation, but it is unnatural -- and impossible to sit straight and evenly weighted. Plus there is the added bonus of my twisted ribcage...
But that said, all my horses have learned to compensate for my crookedness. I admit to not being a dressage rider, i have ventured over from eventerland, but I evented to prelim without difficulty. There were "dressage" tests involved... :)
Bottom line? Sure, your job is going to be much harder than someone with "correct conformation." But it's mind over matter. If you really want it, you'll find a way to make it work for you. Don't despair! Best of luck to you!

tollertwins
Dec. 23, 2007, 08:58 AM
[QUOTE=patch work farm
Can anyone recommend a specific SI brace? I used to use one and I am not sure if there is something better that I could try.[/QUOTE]

My PT has me using one called SI-LOC.....you can PM me for more info if you want.

Miss-O
Dec. 23, 2007, 09:03 AM
I have a question. Does modifying your position remove the pain? Can you find a way to ride in a slightly modified position AND still be effective?

I don't know if it's the same for everyone or not. But for me personally correct posture (and thus correct equitation) is great for my back. It's when I'm not riding correctly that I hurt the most.

I'm going to try the thin line pad. It is guarenteed to make a difference after all. Thanks to whoever suggested that.

hey101
Dec. 23, 2007, 11:28 AM
I'm yet another person with moderate-severe scoliosis. I had two unsuccessful surgeries before my 18th birthday to "install" harrington rods, and although both surgeries were a success, the rods have broken both times due to metal fatigue. I'm currently 2.5" shorter than I am supposed to be, which means that not only is my spine crooked beyond compensation, but it is unnatural -- and impossible to sit straight and evenly weighted. Plus there is the added bonus of my twisted ribcage...


aorrowan, god I'm so sorry to hear this. I too had the harrington rods installed when I was 16, but did you not also have an accompanying spinal fusion? They took bone grafts out of my hip and fused my spine so that after the fusion healed, the rods were actually unnecessary- they could be taken out, but that would be another major surgery, so in they will stay until the day I die.

I was not fully straightened and also had/ have a twisted ribcage. I learned to compensate in my riding but i always felt like I had a longer stirrup on the right and was sliding to the right. It was always MUCH harder for me to ride in circles and lateral movements to the left, when I jumped my horses VERY much favored landing on their right lead, because that is where the majority of my balance tended towards.

I am not trying to be a "pusher" here, but for those of you with moderate back pain or achiness, check out the link I posted a little earlier. Cranio-sacral therapy was something I had never even really heard of, but in a few short minutes of therapy, my riding improved so significantly that 15 years of lessons and no stirrup work and all that were blown out the window! :eek:

Aorrowan
Dec. 24, 2007, 06:21 AM
hey101 -- Yes, i did have the spinal fusion as well, although they took the bone from my ribs instead of my hip. Unfortunately the bone didn't fuse properly in one, apparently very small, area -- so every time i moved, that little spot got all the wear and tear. I tell you, hearing your titanium back implants crack is not something everyone needs to hear!! They broke the 2nd time nearly 8 years ago though, and my back has pretty much reverted to presurgery state. Which ticks me off -- i needn't have gone through all that hassle and time off riding!! :) I'm looking at a significantly different surgery if i want them repaired, etc, this time, so i am delaying until i have no choice. My new surgeon laughingly told me back surgery is like marriage...you don't do it unless you absolutely have to!! :D

Dancinglite2
Dec. 24, 2007, 12:16 PM
I have lower lumbar pressure that makes riding difficult. I also have ciatic(sp) nerve problems that make leg positioning difficult at times.

CatOnLap
Dec. 24, 2007, 12:37 PM
Wow. You folks all impress the heck out of me.
There are a lot of ideas and things for people with back challenges to try.

I would just like to say, to imagine the spine, not as a rigid supportive tree trunk, but more like ball bearings balanced one atop the other, kept in place by all the muscles and tendons and ligaments and cartilages. A lot can be done to strengthen the support system and keeps those bones balanced.

I too was given the dire prognosis in my early adult years, that I would be lucky to walk without canes again, would never ride again and was likely to be in a wheelchair by 50, after a bad fall from a horse at age 22 crushed L4 and L5 a bit and made them sort of wedgey, and dropped me an inch in height. By 30, I was believing them until I took up riding again against everyone's advice except my heart. Then at 40, another bad fall ripped all the S-I ligaments and other supportive pelvic structures. OK, at 50 I am a better rider than I was at 22, injuries and all. What has helped me is a combination of directed physio, yoga type stretching and Pilates type core strengthening and breathing. And living and breathing for the horses in whatever way I could. They are great healers.

Muscles heal and can be made stronger. Ligaments can be fixed, tightened, loosened, healed and made more strong and flexible. Bone can be all sorts of wonky and supported into functional use by a strong network of soft and connective tissue. Good luck to you all and keep on riding.

For those who celebrate, a peaceful holiday with lots of sunshine!

graystonefarm
Dec. 25, 2007, 10:53 AM
My left hip goes further forward but my left shoulder also drops. Am constantly finding my saddle hiked to the left when my riding gets really bad.

I have the same problem. I also have a tilted pelvis and my hips and lower back are in constant dull pain. The only way I can ride is to take 6 motrin a couple hours before. If i don't, then I make my horse stiff as a board and I can't get a thing accomplished. Motrin is my friend. My chiro helps a lot - when I find the time to go.

eponacelt
Dec. 25, 2007, 02:52 PM
My chiro helps a lot - when I find the time to go.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds it tough to make it to the chiro on a regular basis. He wants me to see a physiotherapist who specializes in sports medicine, and I have NO IDEA when I'll be able to make THAT happen!

Dave Thind
Dec. 28, 2007, 07:41 AM
Hello everyone,
A student of mine told me about this thread and I felt the need to sign up and add a few words....

As dressage riders, we would all like to be as symmetrical as possible. But this is a sport where determination, willingness to learn and passion far outweigh natural abilities. I can relate to everyone out there who feels that their pain or body’s imperfections hinder their abilities to ride as well as they would like, I was one of those riders. However, I have since learned that no rider is perfect, and everyone has there own problems. Some may be worse all be it, but I truly believe that obstacles such as pain or biomechanical abnormalities serve only to teach us something – to learn more about ourselves and our bodies.

Dressage riders need to develop heightened degrees of body awareness, something that usually does not come about unless the rider is forced to explore this. Riders need to constantly think and be aware of their bodies and what is going on underneath and behind them. Riders who already had a balanced way of riding can improve their influence on a horse (or give better lessons) when they know exactly what is happening. So I urge all those with pain or medical conditions to educate yourselves about the human body, using techniques such as Feldenkrais to fortify the mind-body connection. http://www.feldenkrais.com/ to learn more or to find a practioner.

Eckart Meyners’ Balmimo stool is an extremely useful tool, based on the Feldenkrais Pelvic Clock Exercise and many of the stools benefits can be obtained without it… This classic Feldenkrais exercise has many variations, all basically asking for the participant to imagine they are sitting on a clock (or laying on it), and at first move their pelvis to 12:00 (forward rotation), 3:00 (sitting right), 6:00 (backwards rotation of the pelvis) and 9:00 (sitting left). When this has become easy, participants are requested to slowly move around the complete clock, noticing areas where the pelvis deviates from its track or wants to speed up – areas where new neurological movement patterns can be learned or relearned.

With this one exercise alone, riders easily learn the 6 movement possibilities of the pelvis (rotating forward and back, rotating left and right as well as how to sit to left of right without collapsing the hip). Riders also realize the subtle but clear connection of how the pelvis and the head are connected and that trying to look up and remaining upright in the trunk with a backwards rotation in the pelvis (as many instructors teach) is counterintuitive and does not conform to normal human movement patterns.

Now to deal with pain – I think that chiropractic and other techniques are all great, BUT, this will not solve anything when movement patterns and muscle memory pull joints and or vertebrae out of alignment again. It is muscle tension, muscle memory and self proprioception that need to be addressed. If you have an open mind, why not explore Reiki - anyone can learn to do it and it has a scientific basis.

I also implore you to learn more about equine biomechanics.

“Besides a knowledge of the physiology and psychology of the horse, the rider must have a clear notion of the theory of movement and balance”, stated Alois Podhajsky in his book entitled The Complete Training of Horse and Rider.

Good luck to everyone and remember that you are not alone. Many other riders face similar challenges.

Dave Thind

hoser1
Dec. 28, 2007, 08:39 AM
It's comforting to know that there are plenty of others who suffer from back problems and manage to ride through them. I have fairly bad scoliosis which was never treated as a kid, so I'm quite a bit lower on the right side which is obvious when I ride. As others said, it makes riding straight pretty challenging. I also broke my back riding jumpers as a teenager and have a lot of residual spine and hip pain on that right side. I keep meaning to go to physical therapy but can never find the time for 2 visits a week that were prescribed. My pain comes and goes for no apparent reason - when it's bad I feel like I want surgery and can't cope, but the rest of the time it doesn't bother me. Still, I worry that if I have this pain at 30, I'm going to be in seriously bad shape in 20 years if I don't do something about it.

CatOnLap
Dec. 28, 2007, 10:16 AM
for all of you who cannot find the time to take care of YOUR body, please consider what lot of time you MAKE to keep your horse's body in good shape for his sport.

And to :p at all of you, if you aren't addicted to your physio and exercise routine, then you aren't in enough pain ...yet.

At younger ages, our bodies take a lot of abuse and keep on going.
As you get older the cumulative effect of all that abuse shows up.

The first effeorts at physio, alexander technique, feldenkrais or whatever method of body movement and awareness you choose to correct longstanding or severe problems, are typically intense and require a committment of yes, twice a week appointments for a short while and exercises in between to maintain and strengthen- might take you an hour or so a day.

After a few months, you can usually just go on a maintenance schedule. I typically do 10-20 minutes of stretching a day-often during the day if I am sitting in an office for work- and thats it for my "physio" these days. Once or twice a week I do a 45 minute pilates workout, and the rest of the days I do my normal chores and riding.

I would say it was pain and paralysis of my right leg at age 30 that motivated me to start doing my exercises and stretches on a religious schedule. I intend to keep riding into my 80's.

Blkarab
Dec. 28, 2007, 04:57 PM
I have the same back issues as the first poster. I started working with a personal trainer almost 3 years ago and it has made a tremendous amount of difference. I have been to chiropractors since the age of 12, because I knocked my pelvis out of alignment at an early age and they thought that I was developing scoliosis. I later had a car accident that caused side-impact whiplash and knocked my pelvis out again. So, I've been dealing with this my whole life. Riding dressage with an instructor who is very focused on position has probably saved me from a lot of pain and injury. Here is what I have found to help me deal with the crookedness:

1) work with a good instructor on the lunge to determine where you are having the majority of the crookedness issues. Learn to become aware of what your body feels like when your are correct. You will feel really off center at first, but then the feeling will become more natural, and you will become more aware of what the correct body position for you will be.

2) Get your core strong! The stronger my abs are, the less I fall forward, backwards and off to the side. Using a balance board and a bosu ball are great....they help you gain awareness of your crookedness on the ground without effecting the horse. Balance balls are also a good. It was a real eye-opener for me.

3) I have learned to incorporate some Tai Chi into my riding. James Shaw has a great book out with Tai Chi exercises geared for riders. He works a lot on overcoming crookedness and balance issues.

It's a tough road to work through, but it can be done! I was so weak and crooked when I first started with my instructor over 5 years ago, that I could only work at the walk for 20 minutes. I'm now doing over 1 hour lessons, that are intense, and showing my young arab. I feel very fortunate to have a patient instructor who pushes me through those moments when I become crooked and things start to go south. :o

Halt At X
Dec. 28, 2007, 08:49 PM
I also have been dealt the scoliosis card. I think I have a 28 degree curvature, plus I have a tilted pelvis. I cannot ride in a 2 point comfortably for long periods unless I wear a back brace and then I pay for it afterwards :(
About 8 years ago when I was a working student and was riding stallions and greenies every day I did see a chiropractor and he was amazing but I was riding classical dressage and all sitting trot work and had little issues with pain.
I have not ridden much lately due to having 2 kiddos fairly close together.
I am noticing though as I am getting back into riding that I am very off balance and I need (rather begrudgingly) several sessions on the lunge!

graystonefarm
Dec. 28, 2007, 09:49 PM
Hello everyone,
A student of mine told me about this thread and I felt the need to sign up and add a few words....

As dressage riders, we would all like to be as symmetrical as possible. But this is a sport where determination, willingness to learn and passion far outweigh natural abilities. I can relate to everyone out there who feels that their pain or body’s imperfections hinder their abilities to ride as well as they would like, I was one of those riders. However, I have since learned that no rider is perfect, and everyone has there own problems. Some may be worse all be it, but I truly believe that obstacles such as pain or biomechanical abnormalities serve only to teach us something – to learn more about ourselves and our bodies.

Dressage riders need to develop heightened degrees of body awareness, something that usually does not come about unless the rider is forced to explore this. Riders need to constantly think and be aware of their bodies and what is going on underneath and behind them. Riders who already had a balanced way of riding can improve their influence on a horse (or give better lessons) when they know exactly what is happening. So I urge all those with pain or medical conditions to educate yourselves about the human body, using techniques such as Feldenkrais to fortify the mind-body connection. http://www.feldenkrais.com/ to learn more or to find a practioner.

Eckart Meyners’ Balmimo stool is an extremely useful tool, based on the Feldenkrais Pelvic Clock Exercise and many of the stools benefits can be obtained without it… This classic Feldenkrais exercise has many variations, all basically asking for the participant to imagine they are sitting on a clock (or laying on it), and at first move their pelvis to 12:00 (forward rotation), 3:00 (sitting right), 6:00 (backwards rotation of the pelvis) and 9:00 (sitting left). When this has become easy, participants are requested to slowly move around the complete clock, noticing areas where the pelvis deviates from its track or wants to speed up – areas where new neurological movement patterns can be learned or relearned.

With this one exercise alone, riders easily learn the 6 movement possibilities of the pelvis (rotating forward and back, rotating left and right as well as how to sit to left of right without collapsing the hip). Riders also realize the subtle but clear connection of how the pelvis and the head are connected and that trying to look up and remaining upright in the trunk with a backwards rotation in the pelvis (as many instructors teach) is counterintuitive and does not conform to normal human movement patterns.

Now to deal with pain – I think that chiropractic and other techniques are all great, BUT, this will not solve anything when movement patterns and muscle memory pull joints and or vertebrae out of alignment again. It is muscle tension, muscle memory and self proprioception that need to be addressed. If you have an open mind, why not explore Reiki - anyone can learn to do it and it has a scientific basis.

I also implore you to learn more about equine biomechanics.

“Besides a knowledge of the physiology and psychology of the horse, the rider must have a clear notion of the theory of movement and balance”, stated Alois Podhajsky in his book entitled The Complete Training of Horse and Rider.

Good luck to everyone and remember that you are not alone. Many other riders face similar challenges.

Dave Thind

David, thank you! I must find an Eckart Meyners’ Balmimo stool! Anyone know where I can get one?

shawneeAcres
Dec. 29, 2007, 07:05 PM
Did not read all the replies, but I have had back problems since I was 17 (first surgery) and two subsequetn surgeries with a spinal fusion and metal plates put in in 1989. I do have some problems with sitting trot, and yes, have tough days as far as pain goes, but MUCH BETTER than prior to the fusion. Main issue right now is I cannot stand up completely straight, always look like I am walking into a stiff wind! My pelvis is more or less permanently tilted forwards.

eponacelt
Dec. 29, 2007, 08:04 PM
Dave -

Thanks for the reply. It is definitely good to know there are others out there with the same challeneges. Every ride, I struggle to be as aware of my body position as possible, and it is actually starting to pay off. Of course, with a young three year old, sometimes just staying in the tack takes precedence!

I am currently looking into a vaiety of options for Pilates, yoga, and Feldenkrais, and hope that I'll find something that works! As someone who realized about 8 years ago that I no longer bounce the way I did as a teenager, I am trying my best to take care of my thirtysomething-year-old body before I'm 50 or so, and having REALLY bad problems.

Thanks again to everyone who's replied!