Just came back from Orthopedist to discuss MRI result taken last week... Long story short: got bucked off by my youngster about three weeks ago (not his fault, really - just a series of untimely happy events that ultimately led to this rather unhappy outcome sigh). At this point, I still have pain on my left side, numbness on my left calf, and can't barely lift left leg.
The result from MRI isn't what I would like to hear: a rather serious herniated disc on L4 and L5. Scheduled to see a spine surgeon next week so hopefully I will know more then.
Anybody has this problem? What is the diagnosis? And most importantly, how does it affect your riding life? I had had a series of plan for this winter getting ready for show season next year: pony is geared toward 2nd level dressage - he is ready - but "I" need to be ready myself... At this point I'm not sure whether that plan get shattered or whether I need to start thinking how to salvage this. I'm trying to be somehow optimistic but at this moment feel rather, umm, down. Haven't ridden since I got bucked off and that really put a damper on my spirit.
Love to hear from you. Thanks.
I had two at L2/L3 and L3/L4 back in 2004. I underwent a series of transforaminal nerve root blocks where the discs were pressing on the nerves, and then when they were sure that they had the right spot they did radiofrequency lesioning to completely deaden the nerve.
It worked great, but the nerves grew back after about 18 months. Then it hurt like hell for a while. I toughed it out and eventually the discs shrank back, but I was left with arthritis in those vertebra.
I have heard that minimally invasive discectomies can work well too, but I had so much spinal instability that they would not do that for me because any spine surgery would necessitate a fusion and the odds aren't great on those.
I never missed a day of riding throughout the process with my discs and never took more than ibuprofen. Pain tolerance levels differ, so your experience may be different.
Ah EH, sorry for hear your problem. Fusion with discectomies? Now that gets me worried. I don't want anything that reduce mobility of spine.
The pain at this moment actually isn't too bad - a couple of Advil a couple of times make my life relatively tolerable. The problem is I can barely lift my left leg: so weird having to use my hands to lift it in and out of car or walk up stairs. :( At least it ain't right leg, or I am not sure how I can drive to work. Getting old really sucks.
Sorry you are suffering with this, it really does suck :-(
I tried steroid injection 1st, didn't work at all unfortunately, ended up having a discectomy & laminectomy. It depends on so many factors, but just having pain in your calf could be a positive indicator! My pain was non stop & radiated all the way to my toes. Not something I ever want to experience again!
Getting it dealt with quickly is important, I still have no feeling from my knee down on the outside of my leg & foot. (My surgery was 3 years ago).
I wasn't able to ride at all (could barely function for the 2.5 months waiting to get the surgery) but it will depend on your own individual circumstance.
If you do have the surgery, LISTEN to the post op instructions, I re-ruptured my disc within 10 days by lifting water buckets. :'(
Originally Posted by Gloria
2BayPonies, how long did it take you after surgery before you were able to ride again? After the surgery and your are cleared to ride, did you find the surgery affecting your riding at all? Still no feeling from knee down on the outside of your leg after the surgery three years ago? That sounds really serious. I have reduced feeling on my left calf but minimum pain there - sort of like the weird feeling you get after you dunk it in a bucket of icy water for a prolonged period of time. Honestly if surgery is needed, I want to get it over with ASAP so I can get into saddle before show season start next year. Am I dreaming?
Due to the re-rupture a week after surgery, and the next round of MRI, scans & such, surgeon thought going with another injection & trying to let it heal on its own was the best plan. The original herniation was a really bad one, L3-S1, and I have other back issues.
Had I not been an asshat, I think 1 would have been back in the saddle with in 3-4 weeks.
The riding related issue I still have is pain anticipation (but remember, I have a bunch of other back issues) When I lift my leg to mount I can have excruciating nerve pain radiate down to my toes, but the herniarion wasn't the 1st time my sciatic nerve suffered impimgement.
I know the feeling you refer to, and I'm confident if your surgery is performed quickly & by a competent surgeon, you will be good to go very soon! I have friends who've undergone this surgery & never had another issue. :-)
Originally Posted by Gloria
I herniated the same discs about 20yrs. ago. Went to three different orthos and decided to let them heal on their own. It took about 7 months, but I haven't had a problem since.
My husband had injections done about 7 yrs. ago and he's good as new.
I would be very careful with surgery. A lot of people I know had it done, only to continue to have problems.
I had a laminectomy/discectomy roughly 10 years ago on my L5/S1. I did all the less-invasive treatments imaginable over the course of a year. Oddly, riding during that time was actually the most comfortable position I could be in! Anyway, I had a very conservative surgeon who wanted me to wait 8 full weeks to ride (after all, you do have a piece of bone healing back there), but my orthopedic doc said 4-6 weeks. The surgery was very successful, and I wish I'd done it first instead of waiting so long! Honestly, you'll be back in the saddle very quickly. Do the PT if they recommend it, too.
hi, i would watch out for blood clots - i think that is a big thing now a days - when a fall happens and you have pain or numb - but i am not a doctor - pain in a leg - HOOF 123:o
Sorry for your pain! I herniated my L5-S1 when I was in high school by having a horse slip and fall on me...then I had the bright idea of going wake boarding a few days later. Genius, I know.
Luckily, the injections worked well for me. Got two and was back in business pretty quickly. Still have pain every once in a while, when it's cold out or when I sleep weird, but I rarely think about it anymore. I would definitely go that route before even thinking of surgery. I had a friend who had the surgery...and she still has pain.
Hope you start feeling better soon!
I've herniated the same disc, and fractured my L4 vertebra when I had a horse flip over on me during a hunt. Ended up with bad arthritis, a spondylothesis in L4/L5, and the fractures never healed correctly. I never was able to have surgery, and though I suspect I need it now I have to wait until I have health insurance again. The best thing I've found in terms of pain management is acupuncture and massage. They make a huge difference in my ability to sleep, range of motion, and the ever-present swelling in my back. Riding is always a challenge, and I generally come away having trouble walking or functioning (but totally worth it, right?!).
I've heard good things about injections as well. Mixed reviews on surgery though -- some people I've talked to say it works, and others are in serious pain still. I'd definitely get a few opinions from different doctors if you can.
So sorry this happened to you. :( I hope you start feeling better soon!
Hi thank you all for sharing your stories. If nothing else, it makes me feel a bit... better, and, braver? - is that strange, to know that I am not alone having this problem, that other horse people continue to ride despite? My Orthopedist mentioned injection but did not think it would help much due to the size of bulge, and that is why he asked me to see a spine surgeon ASAP. It is scheduled this Friday and hopefully I will know more then.
I am hoping to get on my horse this weekend - on my trust worthy pony. The youngster I will wait till the body protector is here to get on. For now, I'm following my Yoga instructor's suggestion in putting my feet up to the wall while laying on my back, and resting my hips on a yoga block while allowing my knees to fall inward (still lay on the back), and for some reason I think that help tremendously in pain.
This helps me so much. Whenever I feel my back getting tight again this is my go to position.
Originally Posted by Gloria
It is certainly not strange to know that other horse people continue on riding despite. Honestly, reading this disability forum has really helped me push through and become even more determined to get better. So hang in there!! There's tons of support here for you :)
I had a herniated disk in May '11. The disk was about the size of a .50 piece-huge. The surgeon I saw wanted to do surgery with possible spine fusion. Due to mine being higher up, he had only done a few of these. I ran out of there and fortuneatley found a doctor who believed in rehab before surgery. I had more pain down the side of my left leg than the disk itself. I was put on Neurotin and that calmed the pain and the nerve. The only leftover I have is permanent numbness from my hip to my knee. It is an odd feeling but doesn't interfere with any thing I do. My main goal was to strenghten my core. It took about 12 weeks for me to be able begin running on a soft track and doing some walk/trot. I didn't jump until around October. I am back to doing what I used to do, but I am very careful with lifting and general back usage. I would never let someone who didn't specialize in spinal surgery touch my back. Good luck. It is a long road, but doable.