View Full Version : Vertebrae Question(s) - Fall

Jan. 29, 2010, 08:14 AM
I know there's another thread on this, but mine is a less severe problem (I think).

I'm in my 50s and had been away from riding for quite some time. Am slender, but not as fit or as muscularly strong as I'd like. Had started working at a show barn, and recently began helping the trainer train a relatively green, but older and very-well mannered horse. Unfortunately when I was walking him out - right beside the indoor ring door, a cat sped in RIGHT in front of his nose :eek:. He shied. I held on at first, but, when I came forward, that scared him also and he jerked significantly and quickly to the right. I fell off onto what felt like my Iliac bone. He is a relatively small horse and the footing is great so the fall wasn't terrible. Although I had to pull myself up (my back felt traumatized), I was able to walk fine and got back on to school him past the door several times.

I took 3 Motrin as soon as I got home, and another 3 before bed. Although stiff and painful across that bone area (and the vertebrae) ... the worst pain was in my right butt cheek. I did not fall on my butt. That next morning I felt a LOT better getting out of bed than I thought I would, so I figured I was pretty well-off and lowered the dose to 2. WOW - much more pain! Radiating down my butt into my foot! However stiff - I felt better walking than sitting. Pharmacist said 3 Advil 3/4 times a day for a week. If it is not better by then - go to a doctor. I have NO bruising, but the area is very tender and seems swollen between Advil doses. Can do barn chores (slower) except I am avoiding heavy lifting. Haven't ridden since (three days ago). Wearing high heels makes it feel better - weird! :D

Would I be *THIS* active if a vertebrae is even a little cracked? My most sore area is the iliac bone to the right of my spine.

Am I doing the right thing by taking this 3 x 3/4 times a day advil course for a week to see how it plays out?? Thanks in advance guys --- :sadsmile:

Jan. 29, 2010, 08:29 AM
Personally, I would get to a Dr asap. The pain radiating down your leg would be the big issue for me. You could have a fragment that is impinging on a nerve that if you move wrong could cause more damage. It may just be inflammation that's making the nerve unhappy but better safe than sorry IMHO.

Jan. 29, 2010, 09:10 AM
The more I think about it - I agree. I do have more range of motion in that right hip and leg this morning.

I find it VERY strange that I have no exterior bruising - is this common?

Jan. 29, 2010, 09:37 AM
From what I was told bruising is a BAD sign for a back injury, even with 5 broken bones I had no bruising. The bruising is a symptom of internal injuries. Better safe than sorry, go to the Doc. If you read some of the responses to my post, people have suffered with injuries alot longer than they needed to because of a bad diagnosis or no diagnosis. Good luck

Jan. 29, 2010, 10:18 PM
Well later this morning I noticed a relatively small bruise on my butt so I guess I did land on it somewhat. Also - two very very small bruises on the very top of either side of my butt crack (sorry, lol!) - at the end of my spine. Doesn't hurt at ALL there - weird. Doctor's on vacation until next week.

I'm on the 3 advil 3 to 4 x a day ... helping A LOT. Almost have full range of motion and only a tolerable mild pain in the butt. Staying on this Advil regimine and light activity (feels best with light activity) until doc gets back. I could even get out of the car normally today.

Keeping fingers crossed! Thanks!

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Jan. 29, 2010, 10:52 PM
Um, could be a disc too...PLEASE be careful! And seek medical help as soon as possible!

Jan. 30, 2010, 08:49 AM
Thank you! Being very careful and sticking with the meds. Won't do any stretching or yoga til I see the doctor either. It's getting better every day. Most annoying thing now is the pain in my butt.

It happened late this past Tuesday. At first I could barely turn over in bed ... but now can do it with relative ease. I thought disk possibly too. When I got up this morning I had *no* pain ... but after walking around for a while - the butt pain came back. Left side of my iliac still tender - right side, no soreness to touch now.

Dad Said Not To
Jan. 30, 2010, 10:03 AM
IMO, the butt pain sounds like it could be tight piriformis and gluteal muscles, which are putting pressure on the sciatic nerve and causing the pain radiating into the foot. That's not uncommon with back injuries; I experienced it last summer after wrenching my back trying to avoid falling on a wet stall mat. I'd try to find a GOOD chiro who will do x-rays before treatment and will teach you exercises to strengthen your core muscles to support and protect your spine.

Jan. 30, 2010, 03:10 PM
Also consider - broken pelvis, broken coccyx or broken sacrum. All can produce those symptoms......so tell me again why you aren't getting thyself to a doctor and getting some xrays?!!?? :confused:
And yes, broken bones/vertebrae etc can still allow you mobility like you have. Or any kind of soft tissue trauma. Bruising just means it's worse. Whether you see it or not may also have to do with how much you weigh or the severity.
XRays please!!! :yes::yes::yes::yes::yes:
We are not doctors here nor do we play them on TV!!! :winkgrin:

Jan. 30, 2010, 05:13 PM
Please do not delay getting to a doctor and get some x-rays/mri.

I wasn't x-rayed after my fall. Primary dr thought I just was sore and the reactions weren't so bad for a "normal lady" . Horse people are different. We tend as a group to have a high pain threshold, lots of determination, and a culture of getting back on.

( I had multiple compression fractures in the vertabrae, compressed discs, hyper-extended ligaments in my pelvis and a twisted pelvis among other things. I landed on one seat bone to avoid landing on my back. The seat bone jammed up on a diagonal which set off the spinal cascade. )

I kept riding bucking greenies, since I was suppose to be ok. Lots of advil and losing the feeling in my legs, after lots of major pain.

On my own, I went to see a higher certified neurologic and orthopedic physical therapist. The physical therapist suspected major damage, and then suggested I see a neuro-spinal orthopedic specialist surgeon. After 6 months, I was finally diagnosed.

I am a poor surgical candidate. After 2 years of PT, I started stem cell prolotherapy to regenerate the ligaments in my pelvis. I am getting much better as a result. I would hate for you to go through what I have.

You have many of the same symptoms. Please be thorough in checking this injury.

Jan. 30, 2010, 05:19 PM
As Waterglen says, we aren't doctors here, and we don't pretend to be.

She is a terrific nurse, though!:D

Jan. 30, 2010, 05:34 PM
Calling on Monday! All is well .... being very careful in the meantime. No barn for me on weekends anyway. Pain/soreness/stiffness has gotten no worse, and in no new spots - still only in right butt cheek and soreness on the iliac bone a little better today. Pain down to foot only happened on 2 advil - hasn't since. Range of motion almost 100% - I will let everyone know what happens after I see the doctor (no doubt I will get referred to a specialitst when I see the GP) :rolleyes:

ONE other question-Rider safety vests, like the jockeys and eventers wear? Are they good for protecting your spine??


Jan. 30, 2010, 08:37 PM
Good luck, hopefully it is just bumps and bruises. The interesting thing with my injury was that they found two old fractures on my tail bone, who knows what fall and what year that happened.

Jan. 30, 2010, 09:19 PM
I had similar fall 25 years ago, but badly bruised left cheek up to the hip.
After a week in pain, went to the Dr, that x-rayed and came back laughing and saying I had a broken tail bone and it would heal on it's own.

Roll forward those 25 years and I could not get my very sensitive horse to stay in one lead, he kept changing leads without my asking, friend trainer said it was me, to have a dr look at my back.

Dr found old injury, left leg only working 20% with some "foot drop" and after six months theraphy, I am back to 60% use of that leg.
Dr said if cared for properly when it happen, I would not have this problem now.

Moral of my story, get it checked and do what you need to do now to heal properly.

I have some old injuries that were not tended to many years ago and already had surgery for one two years ago, will have two more this next few months and it is not fun.

As a PSA, take care at any age when injuries happen, we are not in the middle ages, Drs are very good today, use them and you may age a little more gracefully than if you tough it out now, have to do repairs when old.:eek:

Jan. 31, 2010, 08:33 AM
OH yeah!! And BE SURE to keep your calcium & Vit D intake optimal if you are say....over 40! :winkgrin: .....ahem!!!:eek:
We horsewomen will always be high risk for osteoporosis which makes us fracture easier at earlier ages. It STARTS now. This is no joke really. It's lifesaving. It's quality of life saving. Our sport exposes us to lotsa trauma no matter how we might try to avoid it - accidents happen. Just be ready! Strong bones makes us powerful!!! Yeessssiirrreeeeeee!!! THIS is something WE DO have control over and can prevent. I figure I'm minimizing my risks as best I can. Oh....and avoiding riding monkeys as much as possible! ;):lol: I'm also into only riding when my stars are in alignment.....cold + high wind+fresh horse?!!!= no go!
So...do I hear a "booooooyaaaa!"??!!! :D

Feb. 1, 2010, 01:11 PM
Hi guys! Went to the doctor this morning. She is sending me for xrays this afternoon - the three bones - pelvis, coccyx, sacrum. She thinks it might be either the sacrum, or maybe a disk (reverse pain referral) because she poked around my vertebrae, and tailbone and they didn't hurt at all. The bone on the left that she poked sort of away from but next to my spine was sensitive (that's the side I have the butt bruise too). She said (as I am aware already) that xrays won't show soft-tissue injury; but if it is a disk, a "shortening" would give hint to a disk problem. If ALL is clear, I'll need to get a contrast. :(

Although I hate milk (but love cheese and pretty much everything else dairy) - I did start drinking a nice Swiss Miss concoction with 2% milk - along with good calcium veggies. Fortunately my bone density is in good shape for my age, but I don't want that to deteriorate. :yes:;)

But I'll tell you: no matter what - after I recover - I am definitely taking a course on rider fitness. I know how to fall; but, realize that it is more important than ever to be fit if I am going to partake in this activity. Accidents DO happen.

I'll post about the xrays when I get back! Thanks for all your help everyone!

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Feb. 1, 2010, 01:16 PM
You can get a calcium/vitD supplement for el cheapo at Walmart, too. Over the counter.

Hope everything comes back good!

Feb. 2, 2010, 12:59 PM
citracal with magnesium is another frequently prescribed choice. Any thing with chocolate certainly has to help! I feel sooo gooood when I eat it..:winkgrin:

Feb. 3, 2010, 10:18 AM
NO word from the doctor yet!! :D This likely means they found nothing of note on the xrays. I am assuming this is a disk problem for now. All symptoms point to such. Am being VERY careful. Will likely go to a spine specialist anyway to get ideas for proper exercises, stretching, and care ... will let you know if I hear anything ... :yes:

Feb. 3, 2010, 04:01 PM
If you feel (and your doctor concurs) that this is a disk issue, please do not go to an orthopedist. See a neurosurgeon.

I had a fracture that is very common in gymnasts & football players (I am neither :) and an ortho specializing in spines did my first spinal fusion. The level above had to be fused 3.5 years later - and this time a neurosurgeon did the work. The difference was amazing. Six years later...I am still pain-free.

Feb. 3, 2010, 05:10 PM
I'm glad you're getting it checked out. My story is almost identical to whicker's, except that I did have x-rays done and they came back clean. I went back to work thinking I was OK. After several weeks of cleaning stalls and riding horses I could barely walk. I went to see an orthopedist who ordered an MRI, turns out I had numerous stress fractures to my pelvis and L-5 vertebra plus extensive nerve and ligament damage. Four years later I'm pretty mobile, but I still have issues with numbness and nerve pain. I can't help but wonder what the outcome would have been if I'd gotten the treatment I needed when the accident happened and hadn't waited so long. Good luck!

Feb. 3, 2010, 08:07 PM
Thanks guys! My doctor left a message earlier this evening to say all is clear. If I still have pain she wants me to call her on Friday. Although it was notably better even today, I still had pain on and off ... and the area is still sore to pressure. So I'll be calling Friday.

Feb. 4, 2010, 09:55 AM
You will need a neuro-spinal surgeon for the specialist. Each one has different ideas according to his particular favorite procedure. If you can find a physical therapist with the higher level certification, ask who has the best results. The P.T. will know because they work with the patients in rehab.

Please p.m. me for more details. What area of the country are you?