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View Full Version : Showing in the upper level jumpers with scoliosis?



supershorty628
May. 18, 2009, 02:30 PM
I've been having serious back problems recently, and went to a neurologist today who recommended that I show with a back brace if I absolutely must ride (he wanted me to take 6 months off and get surgery, but it's my last junior year, so I'm trying to put it off). Has anyone had success with riding in the big jumper divisions with scoliosis? I'm supposed to get physical therapy twice a week for 2 months and am on prescription anti-inflammatory medication, and ordered one of the Professional's Choice back braces. I'd really appreciate hearing your experiences. Thanks!

Donkey
May. 18, 2009, 02:44 PM
I have very mild scoliosis that doesn't require surgery. When I was younger and was jumping 4+ ft I would get upper back and neck pain and I'd always wake up feeling awful the next morning. I did do PT to strengthen my back muscles and it really helped - I still do the strengthening exercises today. It wasn't an overnight miracle but over time it made a big difference. Good luck!

Fly_High
May. 18, 2009, 03:21 PM
I have pretty bad scoliosis, however, I did not get diagnosed until I was in late high school and I was not doing more than 3 ft at that point. Luckily I did not have to wear a brace but only because I was so close to being finished growing. My older sister has very bad scoli, almost had to have surgery and instead wore a brace for several years. Because of her, they kept a very close eye on my back as I grew and took preventative measures. I would imagine that it would be very difficult to ride especially at that level in a scoli brace. I find that some horse really bother my back just in their movement. My sister is an orthotist (body bracing specialist) and she had scoli. If you want, I could give you her email and she may be able to help you out. She would know if there is something you could wear maybe part time and have a flexible brace for riding.

theoldgreymare
May. 18, 2009, 03:29 PM
We had a jr in our barn years ago with VERY bad scoliosis. Her parents let her postpone surgery until she aged out. She had to wear a rigid metal/plastic back brace 23 hours a day (went from her hips to her neck) and only was allowed out of it for one hour a day when she rode. She showed in the big eq and jr jumper divisions (not the same, I know) and did have some type of soft brace she used for riding. I don't think one of the Professional Choice braces is going to do much more than keep your muscles warmed up. My son rides in one and they offer very little in the way of support.

nlk
May. 18, 2009, 03:46 PM
I have scoliosis as well and I see my chiropractor. Along with some other alignment issues he has helped out with the scoliosis tons! I can now sit square and even etc. I was diagnosed when I went in for another problem with my hips. At the time I was jumping 3' (about 5 years ago) and now jump 4' with now problems

I would recommend seeking out a chiropractor BEFORE you ever consider surgery, I have several family members who had 2nd and 3rd opinions and were told their only option was surgery. After seeing my chiropractor they have little to no problems....

heartinrye
May. 18, 2009, 06:33 PM
I have very bad scoliosis. I too was supposed to have surgery, but didn't for 2 reasons- 1) It doesn't hurt when I ride, unless its cold, but I live in a warm climate so its ok! 2) I would be 6'4 when the surgery was complete- that will NEVER happen :)

I never had much of a problem with jumping in the Level 4's and 5's, so unless you are in pain I say go for it!

supershorty628
May. 18, 2009, 06:35 PM
I have very bad scoliosis. I too was supposed to have surgery, but didn't for 2 reasons- 1) It doesn't hurt when I ride, unless its cold, but I live in a warm climate so its ok! 2) I would be 6'4 when the surgery was complete- that will NEVER happen :)

I never had much of a problem with jumping in the Level 4's and 5's, so unless you are in pain I say go for it!

Mine has been killing me when I ride, and I'm supposed to start doing level 7 stuff this year...:(.
I'm going to live in Minnesota after this summer. Ahhhh! Why does the surgery make you taller?

Dixon
May. 18, 2009, 08:40 PM
The question isn't whether you can "show" with scoliosis, but whether you can ride and train at the level you wish. You'll find out as you ride and train whether it hurts too much or you just can't maintain the proper position, etc. Of course, if you're a rider who has the luxury of just showing up at horse shows to compete on a horse that someone else trained and prepared, then "showing with scoliosis" is indeed the relevant question.

supershorty628
May. 18, 2009, 09:45 PM
Dixon, I will be happy to edit the title if you will tell me how - I have never been able to edit that successfully.

Thanks for the helpful posts (and PMs) thus far! :)

Trixie
May. 18, 2009, 09:49 PM
Talk to your therapist and find a doctor who is familiar with horses.

That's what I did when I got tendonitis in both knees last year. Asked on here and was referred to an EXCELLENT knee doctor who said "Uh, if I tell you not to ride, you're going to ride anyway, right?"

Since we got THAT out of the way, he was able to figure out how to best work with me on my recovery. Not every doc is familiar with the mechanics of riding and I'd worry about what happens if you come off in a back brace.

supershorty628
May. 18, 2009, 10:07 PM
Trixie, this is the kind of back brace he meant: http://www.profchoice.com/images/prd/ful/ful_pc210.jpg
He said something very similar to what your doctor said; basically asking me if I would stop riding if he told me to and when I said no, just smiled knowingly and said "well, then we need to come up with an alternative plan."

kashmere
May. 18, 2009, 11:08 PM
-wear your back brace
-go to physio
-do your physio exercises
-no, seriously, do your physio exercises
-ibuprofen, ice, and warm baths after riding whenever possible (unfortunately, of course, not a cure for the scoliosis, but helps the muscles that work extra hard for us.)
-warm up before you ride
-stretch after you ride
-heating pads are your friend

I'm working with scoliosis and hyperlordosis, and it is no fun to be in a battle with your spine. Good luck :)

Seven-up
May. 19, 2009, 02:42 AM
There was a kid at the barn I worked at with mild scoliosis, and she didn't have the same kind of brace that you posted a pic of (hers seemed like it was thinner material and it went up higher, right under her boobs) and she rode and showed fine with it. I do know it was hot; she'd take off her jacket and her shirt would be soaked.

I wasn't privy to all of the details, like how severe her scoliosis was, whether she needed surgery, how much pain she was in, how long she had to wear the brace, etc. etc. so all I can really say is that I knew someone with a brace.


My only question would be is are you doing any damage by postponing the surgery? I don't know the nature of scoliosis surgery, so this might be irrelevant, but say you wait because it's your last jr year, and the surgery isn't as successful as it would be had you done it immediately, and you end up not being able to ride as much as you want in the future because you put off surgery? Like I said, might be irrelevant, but just thought I'd put that out there.

Fly_High
May. 19, 2009, 09:07 AM
Do you know your measurements of your curve? Are you a single or S curve. I would imagine all these things make a difference. My sister and I are both S curves. As I said, she is a specialist and would know about any flex braces out there or what she would recommend. The more details your are willing to share the more likely we can give you more info. The one my sister had to wear was a 23 hr per day hard plastic body jacket that goes from hip to under the armpits. There is no way she would have been able to ride in it because it did not allow for freedom of movement in her back.

I see you are in Zone 2 and since you said you are a jr, you wouldn't be going to Shriner's childrens hospital in Philly by any chance?

supershorty628
May. 19, 2009, 06:57 PM
I really would share more if I knew more - I don't know much at this point. My doctor referred to a neurologist, who gave me what little info I shared yesterday. I have an S curve, but also have rotational scoli between my shoulder blades, which compounds the problem. I got a brace from my doctor for riding - it goes from a little below my belt line on my [regular rise] breeches up to just under my bra. I rode in it today and felt less pain, so I'm going to try jumping in it tomorrow and see what comes of that.
Thanks for the support, sorry I haven't been able to give more information.

P.S. Fly High - I am in Zone 2, but I am in New York, so not going to that hospital, sorry!

heartinrye
May. 19, 2009, 07:17 PM
Mine has been killing me when I ride, and I'm supposed to start doing level 7 stuff this year...:(.
I'm going to live in Minnesota after this summer. Ahhhh! Why does the surgery make you taller?

I'm sorry, I get some pain too, but usually as soon as I get off it stops.

The surgery I was supposed to get (they place two metal rods in my spine! boo!) would make me 6'4 (so the height I should be if I didn't have scoliosis) because my spine would then be straight instead of having the two severe curves it has now!

risky business
May. 20, 2009, 09:35 AM
Double S curve here. My chiro and excercises, especially yoga, keep me relatively pain free and as flexible as possible.

Wasn't diagnosed until way into my 30's and surgery was never discussed.

After a hard school or major showing, some Advil and stretches really help.

heartinrye
May. 20, 2009, 09:37 AM
Double S curve here. My chiro and excercises, especially yoga, keep me relatively pain free and as flexible as possible.

Wasn't diagnosed until way into my 30's and surgery was never discussed.

After a hard school or major showing, some Advil and stretches really help.

Yes I've also heard Pilates helps too, I'm lazy and just get my back injected every 3 months! Haha :winkgrin:

MandyVA
May. 20, 2009, 11:43 AM
I have severe scoliosis and put off the surgery until I was 25. I had an S curve and rotation as well. I had the surgery when I did because I was in such debilitating pain I really had no choice, and the longer you wait the worse it gets if yours is the degenerative kind like mine.

If I was you I would get myself to a top orthopedic surgeon asap for a second opinion. I went to Johns Hopkins for my second opinion and surgery. The results of my surgery were outstanding and my spine is nearly straight now. I am two inches taller. It is a very painful experience and I was basically bed-ridden for six weeks. I did not ride for six months. However, my quality of life is exponentially better. I will never be pain-free but it's not the pain that makes you sit around crying like it was before!

I don't find that the fusion causes me any problems riding or jumping (and my spine is fused from the nexk down, leaving a few vertebrae out of the rods at the bottom). The longer you wait to have the surgery the less likely you are to have a good result because your spine becomes more rigid and they can't correct it as much. I was lucky to be unusually flexible for my age. Really though, please go see a specialist.

make x it x so
May. 20, 2009, 11:49 AM
Don't have any input, but I just want to say I'm sorry to hear you've got bad scoliosis. :(
I never would have known based on your crazy-good position in every video I watch of you!
I hope it all works out and you get to finish your last junior year with Nikki!