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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 27, 2008
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    59

    Default Fear of Riding with a Herniated Disc & Sciatica ~

    Hi there! Looking for some advise/help! I have a herniated disc - L5/S1 with a bone spur and sciatica. I have done steroid injections and they help somewhat. My doctor feels that I should have a microdiscectomy done. (where they remove the herniation of the disc) I have spoken with people who have had this procedure done and there are mixed results. Others say go for it and other say avoid it at all costs. Apparently lower disc herniations are quite common in us horsefolk.

    This has been going on for about 10 months. Here is my dilemma. I show on the arab class A show circuit in Hunt on the flat. I am afraid to ride my horses! I dont know if its afraid to ride my horses as I am afraid of the pain from the sciatica from riding. If anyone out there has this, you know the pain can be excruiating! My Doc says I shouldnt ride, but if its something I must do, then be extremely careful. I didnt show this year at all. If I do want to ride, I stretch and Advil is my friend, but doesnt completely relieve the pain. I ice afterwards.

    Has anyone out there gone thru this and if so, what have you done to make riding tolerable? I am thinking posting is out of the question. Sitting the trot is no good either. I was thinking I could sell my arabs and get a gaited horse. But I love my Arabs! I have fear of falling off and hurting my back worse, so have been avoiding riding which is something I love!

    Different stirrups, back supports? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 17, 2003
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    I feel your pain...every day.
    I too had a totally ruptured L5/S1 which the pain mgmt Dr milked for a year. I was a business owner and yet spent 80% of my time in the bed. Went through all of the blocks and injections, physical therapy....you name it. Finally when my leg grew numb from the knee down he quickly referred me to his buddy the Orthopedic surgeon. That guy had the worse mannerism I have ever seen!! He sarcastically informed me that he would do the surgery but that it wasn't necessary! This after all the MRI's and nerve damaged leg even.
    I crawled out of there...embarrassed..thinking I was a wimp and faced losing everything because I could not walk.
    I heard of a wonderful neurosurgeon that I managed to get an appt with who immediately did the surgery the next day...with apologies for the unknown Dr's who didn't help me sooner. It was a simple procedure.

    It was amazing! I was finally pain free as soon as I woke up! Unfortunately I had to have it repeated two more times (which is not at all common so don't worry) I believe it was from doing too much too soon afterwards..I was really feeling THAT good.

    You will never be the same as you were before..just understand that. Your body has been damaged and your goal should be to be the best you can be ..everyone is different. When you put it into perspective you will know that its better than the alternative which is never ending horrid debilitating pain.

    I live with sciatica every day and after any type of lifting (feed etc) I can have increased discomfort. Scar tissue will likely form and that presses on the nerve. I have learned to live with it always in the background...but still so much better than before!

    I have to understand that I am blessed to be able to continue to ride at all! I do have to compensate...no sitting trots and I ride with caution to avoid accidents. I also sit more forward at a canter to stay off my spine.

    I will eventually get a gaited horse myself...maybe a MFT..but not yet.

    Now, don't let anyone tell you that pt will solve the problem because it won't! In this area he had to drill through bone to access the disc and nerve. So all the time was wasted with the pt.

    Back surgery in my case was easy and really not painful at all. Living without it was Hell!

    Oh yes...find a good Neuro too. Sorry if this was too much information.
    "My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2008
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    That is one of the three discs I have herniated as well. The fourth one is almost gone due to degenerative disc disease. I was also told to not bother with PT. But I have also been found to not be a surgical candidate due to severe spinal stenosis. I have a horrid time with sciatica and have had since 1979. I deal with it. I have no choice but to take some serious painkillers. Long gone are the days when oxycodone and hydrocodone helped at all.

    I was told to never ride again. I listened for 12 yrs. Last yr I got my untrained mare out and started. And I've never looked back, well worth any extra pain. Finally I had something to be happy about again.Some days I have no feeling or very little feeling in my right leg, those days I don't ride. Numbness is permanent for me, the degree of it varies day to day.

    I do though have a couple things I do against a wall that help me a lot with pain and sciatica. And the chiro has always been able to stop the excruciating sciatica, but there is always some present, but it is dealable. I can't stand the ride to the chiro very well at all.. It is over an hour away so I generally stick with my legs bent and heels to the wall.

    Leaning off your spine does for sure help while riding. I never thought I would be able to trot either but I do know. It does increase the sciatica for sure though and I think it also makes the numbness and lose of feeling worse.

    Just wanted to add that after trying many different saddles I found the dressage saddle to be super comfortable comparitively. And to ride with LONG stirrups. This helps me tremendously. I sat in several saddles where the sciatic nerve pain down my right leg became immediately excruciating. So if one saddle doesn't work for you , try another.
    Last edited by WaningMoon; Oct. 18, 2009 at 05:28 PM. Reason: Adding last paragraph



  4. #4
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    Dec. 4, 2002
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    Wow. I have been incredibly lucky. I blew out L5/S1 thanks to a moronic ortho who told me "not to worry my little head about" my knee issues - I have a permanently subluxated left kneecap (a different ortho screwed that one up), I had reinjured, and I blew out the disc from compensating in trying to keep walking normally.

    It took 8 months, but I did return to almost normal, so the vertebrae fused on their own. They wanted to delay the surgery, I couldn't sit at all, just lie down or stand (with constant pain). So, I am one of the very fortunate ones.

    i have known people who did have the surgery done and they were very pleased with the results. But please, make sure you trust your ortho.
    www.specialhorses.org
    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues




  5. #5
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    Feb. 17, 2009
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    Oh LTK - Sorry your going through this. You are not alone. I have a right side siaticca issue, spinabifida oculta and back in 2000 I fell off my horse and rupturerd my lower L's. I never took any time off riding but I did go and find a horse that would be easy on my back. (Which I was planning on doing before I fell off) I rarely sat the trot and made many, many trips to the chiropractor.

    Today I stretch alot before riding, I still visit the chiropractor alot, I wear a back brace when I ride, I use Herm Sprenger 4-way irons which I believe have helped alot with impaction. Don't sell your Arabs, don't quit riding - as much as it hurts sometimes just take a few days off and ride when your feeling better. You will be misarable without theM!



  6. #6
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    Oct. 3, 2002
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    Mine are in different areas, so what works for me might not work for you...

    Mine are c4, and T 8/9, 9/10, 10/11

    My sciatica when riding can and is COMPLETELY RELIEVED with the right saddle. Now, finding that saddle? Took a very, very long time.

    First I had the Fhoenix. It was the first saddle in about five years that both His Princeness and the Pea horse *and I* could tolerate. We progressed more in 18 mos than we had in his lifetime. Unfortunatley, we progressed SO much that he put on so much topline that I could no longer tolerate the width of the Fhoenix (it's treeless--so as wide as the horse, basically)

    Eventually I found out that I could ride in an Ancient Passier without sciatica. Thankfully, His Princeness approves. I tried many, many in between. Some worked for a half hour, some my leg was painful/numb almost immediately. some even worked for longer--but for something like a lesson I'd go numb. The Ancient Passier works.

    To the point I've become a collector of them when I can, as the tree can be adjusted for different critters. I'm crying because there's another one on Ebay right now that's my size, that would be for the last horse who needs a saddle still... but there's no fundage.

    Anyway, my point is, the right saddle can make a GINORMOUS difference, but FINDING it really is like the Princess & the Pea. You not only have to sit in, but to RIDE IN different ones, ON THE HORSE you ride most. (I can ride in the Fhoenix on most OTHER horses... just not on MINE. )

    I think fear of pain is really normal and in fact, healthy. It's our brain's way of making sure it's 'carrier' if you will, stays alive and well!
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)



  7. #7
    blackpondarabians Guest

    Default Fear of riding/bad discs rehab/arabs

    I was thinking that at 56 I was finally really losing my nerve. I was a part time jockey and full time exercise rider for about 15 years during the 70's and 80's. Took a 20 year break and decide to get arabs and get into endurance riding. Well I miscalulated how long it would take my husband to get up to speed.

    But then finally this year he was going good but when winter broke here in MA my back kept limiting my riding to 2 hours and that was with getting off 4 or 5 times to stretch the pinch out of my low back between my hip and L-4. Denial is not a river! L-5 is compressed as is a mid back one I forget the #.

    My chiropracter has been listening to my complaints all year and finally after I came in and was upset she suggested x-rays. Duh. So what does pain have to do with fear? Everything! I finally got an arab trainer over to help me with my new horse who has been challenging me during ground work. Normally I would not have missed a beat and given him some alpha mare attitute but when he pinned his ears on the change direction at the canter- or roll back- and acted like he wanted to come and bite and trample me I had major adrenaline rush and couldn't wait to finish the exercise and get out of that ring with him! Enter my arab trainer. She says #1 Bey Shah arabs have extra attitude and he'll get over it. #2 she has never seen me this way. #3 She has known 2 women who were pregnant and didn'tn know it untill later who experienced an unusual fear reaction and were not wanting to ride.
    Phew! Was glad to hear that.

    This forum has given me hope. Especially the ebook I heard about on the Chronicle forum. It's called applied-posture-riding. Wow. Check it out.

    Also doing some good stuff with my pt person. I work at Curves and have lots of opportunity to talk bad backs with the many nurses who come to stay in shape. It is a mixed bag on surgery. but I have heard no one say it is a really good thing.

    A cool thing tho for folks with sciatica which I have had on and off- Is the foam roller. I also use a soft 55 cm ball to lay my upper body over while I roll back and forth with my leg on the foam roller.

    I too started checking out gaited horses. I think the rocky mountian horses are cool. There is even a new organization starting up for endurance gaited horses. But I love my arabs!

    Phew- sorry this was so long. I just had to jump in.

    Christie



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 27, 2008
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    59

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    Wow! Thank you all so much for your experiences and input! Its awesome!

    Birdsong ~ My heart just went out to you when you told about that orthopedic surgeon telling you that you didnt need the surgery. You must just have felt awful

    When you all ride, do you fear falling off and hurting your back worse? I think that is my greatest fear. I still ride my 22 year old retired arab mare as she is the only one I completely trust. Well, I should say she is the only one I will ride if I can get up my courage to do so. I have had her for 18 years and we know each other very well. Many years of fun together. I wonder what would happen if she tripped and went down and I went off. The pain of the sciatica scares me to death! I remember when I first had the sciatica, I couldnt even get out of bed. Rolling over was impossible. My husband tried to help me up out of bed and all it did was make the pain worse. When I did get up the pain would be so bad that I felt like I would pass out. I've done the Vicoden and Oxy and those do nothing for me. Its like taking nothing. Also done the chiropractor. It helps loosen muscles, but thats about it. In the next week or so I'm going to get another cortisteroid injection in my back. They help somewhat. Take the edge off of the pain.

    Right now the pain is limited to when I just get up in the morning and I can easily get up ok. Stiff and a little painful. Then I pop my 800 mg. ibuprofen and an hour later the pain is gone. If I lift things like water buckets I can feel it and know I have to be more careful. I havent lifted my western saddle at all. I know it will do me in. Hunt saddle is ok. I have an all purpose Wintec hunt saddle that is really comfortable. I haven't ridden in 9 months. Sometimes I think I should just sell my new show horse and my gelding who is a pasture pet and get a driving horse. That way I dont have to worry about falling off or get into mini's. So depressing sometimes....I don't want a pity party. I guess that is why I am posting to see how other people have dealt with the physical and emotional part of not riding or riding thru the pain.

    How do the Herm Sprenger irons work? Are they like on a spring mechanism or something like that? Have any of you tried the MDC's? How about one of the eventers vests? I believe they cover a good part of your back??? I feel like I want to wear Kevlar to ride! LOL! I ride with a helmet of course.

    Thank you all so much for sharing. It has helped greatly! LTK



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2007
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    3,575

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    I herniated L4 and L5 and also was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. Sciatica was also excruciating.
    I went for an epidural while waiting for surgery, which was not something I was too keen on having done.
    I kept postponing surgery, and mostly laid flat on my back as much as I could.

    Anyhow, instead of getting the epidural, I convinced the physiatrist(pain and nerve doc) to do accupuncture. He was known for it, but not doing it so much as the insurance companies did not compensate.
    Long story, but after 3 months plus, I awoke one morning, not as stiff and less pain. Things only improved.
    The ortho surgeon could not believe it(they were in the same practice).
    So, try accupuncture.

    As explained to me, I still had herniated discs, just the nerves were reprogrammed not to send me pain signals. That was over 7 years ago. I am still very careful with my back, and because of the spinal stenosis, I am even more careful about twisting and picking things up.

    If ever in pain again, I would seriously seek out a good and qualified accupuncturist before surgery.



  10. #10
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    Sep. 13, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by pintopiaffe View Post
    Mine are in different areas, so what works for me might not work for you...

    Mine are c4, and T 8/9, 9/10, 10/11

    My sciatica when riding can and is COMPLETELY RELIEVED with the right saddle. Now, finding that saddle? Took a very, very long time.

    First I had the Fhoenix. It was the first saddle in about five years that both His Princeness and the Pea horse *and I* could tolerate. We progressed more in 18 mos than we had in his lifetime. Unfortunatley, we progressed SO much that he put on so much topline that I could no longer tolerate the width of the Fhoenix (it's treeless--so as wide as the horse, basically)

    Eventually I found out that I could ride in an Ancient Passier without sciatica. Thankfully, His Princeness approves. I tried many, many in between. Some worked for a half hour, some my leg was painful/numb almost immediately. some even worked for longer--but for something like a lesson I'd go numb. The Ancient Passier works.

    To the point I've become a collector of them when I can, as the tree can be adjusted for different critters. I'm crying because there's another one on Ebay right now that's my size, that would be for the last horse who needs a saddle still... but there's no fundage.

    Anyway, my point is, the right saddle can make a GINORMOUS difference, but FINDING it really is like the Princess & the Pea. You not only have to sit in, but to RIDE IN different ones, ON THE HORSE you ride most. (I can ride in the Fhoenix on most OTHER horses... just not on MINE. )

    I think fear of pain is really normal and in fact, healthy. It's our brain's way of making sure it's 'carrier' if you will, stays alive and well!
    I completely agree with just the right saddle for the situation making a lot of difference. I am wondering if since you last had an MRI if your lumbar spine could also have become involved. Im just wondering because you mention sciatica and the sciatic nerve runs through L4-L5. Or at least any info/doctors I've ever read about/talked with seem to say this. Not a good feeling is it? I have cervical spine issues too, but rarely, rarely have any issue with those so I just put those out of my mind, its enough to deal with the L's to S1.



  11. #11
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    Feb. 17, 2009
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    I too went through many saddle before I found one that would fit my back! It would be silly to say anywhere else but this thread undersands "fitting my back" for a saddle

    Lovethose - YES, I fear of falling off and hurting myself more - or permanetly! I only ride my horse now. I used to hop of anyone's horse crazy - lazy or what have you. These days I ride only my noble steed (who is no plug) but he is predictable.

    Back problems scare the life out of you. I could not imagine not riding...



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozone View Post
    I too went through many saddle before I found one that would fit my back! It would be silly to say anywhere else but this thread undersands "fitting my back" for a saddle

    Lovethose - YES, I fear of falling off and hurting myself more - or permanetly! I only ride my horse now. I used to hop of anyone's horse crazy - lazy or what have you. These days I ride only my noble steed (who is no plug) but he is predictable.

    Back problems scare the life out of you. I could not imagine not riding...
    Boy, you know, there was a time when not riding was something I couldn't possibly imagine being a reality in my life either. But it sure hit hard when it did. Although as yet undiagnosed throughout the late 70's-80's, the doctors still said I should likely give up riding. When I was finally diagnosed they were adamant about it. At that point a disc, that has now degenerated almost completely, (causes much less pain) was just ruling my life. The pain was so intense I could not gather my thoughts or think. I could not concentrate enough to even read. It got to the point where I did stop, no longer did I argue the case, I could barely stand to continue living for the excruciating pain. But the decision to quit was still just devastating, it was so very important to me.

    My horses and other animals too, have always been my entire life. It really felt like I had a big hole in life, not riding, that's for sure. I am sure glad I have now remedied it. They tell me that I will hasten the yrs I have left where I'll be able to walk because of it. But there is no way I'd rather spend them. At least now, on days where I CAN ride, I have a big smile on my face that lasts all day long, even if I can only stand to ride for a half hour some days or less even sometimes. Other times I manage a couple hours and then Im just ecstatic.

    But yup, to IMAGINE not riding, was an impossibility. When it became a reality, it was completely devastating. But when I decided to do what I thought best for ME, that feeling is indescribable. So great it even helps in diminishing the unsurmountable despair of having stopped riding. And that burdensome feeling still resides on my shoulder, waiting it's chance to return.

    I wished I would have had a reliable noble steed as you say, to return to. I had an unflappable Canadian X mare though just begging to be trained and ridden, she was what I had to work with, and we are doing fine. I just love that girl so much, just as I did her mom, and her mom. We're a team for sure.

    I couldn't be happier with my decision to return to riding. My doctor quit seeing me but Ive found another easily enough. He said he had a waiting list of ppl who wanted to take and follow his advice and it wasn't fair to them for him to continue seeing patients who did not wish to. I find this to be very wrong, but lots of things are, you learn to deal. I wish you much luck, it isn't fun is it? I think the best we can do is to just keep fighting no matter what, and hope for the best. What else can we do? We can't give up.



  13. #13
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    Jun. 16, 2009
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    I have a slightly different injury, L5 is fractured in 2 places, but I have sciatica issues too.

    Having the right saddle & stirrups is extremely important. The only saddle I can sit in at all is my Vogue. I also have a backsaver pad, and Ultra ThinLine, which help with shock absorption. I can't use any kneeblocks at all, since it hurts too much, so I took mine out. I also have the HS Bow Balance stirrups. I'm not entirely sure how they work. All I know is that they're the only stirrups that don't cause pain for me.

    With my injury, I can't do any sitting trot anymore or canter, since it aggravates my back too much. Even on my super smooth little Welara. When I do ride, I'm usually quite happy to just walk.

    I do worry about falling off, though I have fallen several times since I hurt my back, and my back didn't get worse. I had a back support from Professional's Choice, but it rides up and doesn't help. I also have a body protector that I will wear from time to time.

    I also have a messed up ankle & knee, which makes things a bit interesting. Can't have my stirrups too short, or my knee will lock up & I won't be able to walk when I get off. And I can't pick up my right stirrup without leaning over & using my hand to put my foot in it.

    Now that my Haflinger is retired, I've had to work on making my Welara into a steadier, more bombproof horse. And its worked out quite nicely. Though if I ever feel nervous about riding her, I won't, and we'll just do stuff on the ground.

    And my back injury & ankle injury were from falling. My Haflinger got too exited when we were cantering and let out a huge buck, and I went flying and landed on my left side. Then a few years later, my Welara spooked and I ended up getting run over, with her stepping on my ankle.

    For me, arnica & traumeel (homeopathic & ointment) help a LOT. And so do hot baths and a magnetic back support and ankle support.

    I'm going to be 26 this year, and there are days when I feel like I'm 96, with how achy my back & ankle can be.



  14. #14
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    Nov. 27, 2008
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    Thanks again for your input! =) Am going today for a injection in my back after work. Fortunately, these do help me but I know are only a temporary fix. Possibly after the first of the year I will go to a neurologist and get the microdiscectomy down. I really am getting tired of the pain...I'm sure you all can relate. I just hope I will be one of the lucky ones that doesnt have too many problems after. I have found many people and friends that I work with that have L5/S1 problems. They just dont have the sciatica along with it.

    I don't want to give up riding and I won't. Have decided I'll give this injection a few days to work then get old my old mare and go for a ride. Even if we walk, I am ok with that. Posting is what really bothers me. I am thinking of a western horse where their trots and nice and slow and easy. I don't have to much problem with the canter if the horse is comfortable.

    Have any of you ever bounced on those exercise balls? If so, does it bother your back much? I've never used one of those balls. Do they help with the right exercise program? What exercises do you do? I've tried the McKenzie and they help to a point. I really want to show next year and therefore need to get myself in some kind of shape. I feel if I do exercises it will hurt my back more. I would love to join Curves or something like that to take off some weight and get into shape. Thats my problem. I am a bit of a chunk. I have tried all kinds of diets and taking weight off is a major issue for me. I think if I lost some weight, my back wouldnt hurt so much. How frustrating...Darned if you dont and darned if you do. Sigh...

    But I am trying to keep a positive attitude. Sounds like you all have gone thru alot more than I have. I feel like a whiner! I should feel blessed that I'm not having more problems than I am. Just the sciatica first thing in the morning and at night when my back is tired.

    Have any of you had the microdisctecomy surgery? If so, how was your recovery? How is your back now? Thanks so much! LTK



  15. #15
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    Jul. 7, 2007
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    I have been through years of back problems, but they were when I was unable to afford to ride( trying to live on $600/month disability). I had degenerative disc disease and was unable to live without heavy pain meds- certainly riding was not an option. After years of pain , pain meds, sciatica and numbness, I finally found a Dr willing to do surgery. I was patient #5 in a study of ProDisc, a prosthetic joint replacement. It was that or a plate and screws with bone graft (forget what they call it). It took a couple years for all the symtoms and nerve to recover, but it was a miracle for me. I am functional again, rarely need anything for pain (YAY), and have minimal numbness.
    It is now available for multiple levels, past the study stage I believe, and I heartily recommend it for the right patients.I think a different device became more popular, in the competition among the developers. I found the orthopedic surgeon who did it on the internet.
    I just want to put that out as a possibility. I had to really fight (with my doctors)to get them to listen to me about getting tests and referrals, but soo worth it.
    I put a photo of a horse, from an ad, in my wallet as a reason to keep going through the pain, the surgery and the recovery. It is years later (7), and I finally have my dream of having horses back in my life.



  16. #16
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    I have also a L5/S1 herniated on the left, trochanteric bursitis and so impingement on the nerve that passes along there.
    I didn't notice it, other than the ocassional stabbing, immobilizing pain when moving a certain way, until my left leg only had 20% function.

    Thru injections in the bursa and PT, I have regained to 60% use of that leg, no more stumbling over my own foot and now my horses don't inexplicably change leads on me.

    We don't know how this will progress, but it probably comes from an injury 30 years ago, when a heifer jumped on me and dislocated that hip.

    A saddle that fits really makes a big difference, as does general basic physical fitness.

    The chiro didn't do much for me and for that, made it worse, where the pain doubled.

    I think each one of us is enough different that what works for others, while worth a try, is not always good for all.

    I urge those with those kinds of back/leg pain to read the very interesting case history in the September 2009 Discover magazine issue, pg. 32, "Vital Signs", by Anna Reisman.

    Found the link to that article:

    http://discovermagazine.com/2009/sep...oled-6-experts
    Last edited by Bluey; Oct. 24, 2009 at 03:54 PM.



  17. #17
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    Nov. 2, 2009
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    Default riding with back pain

    What a great thread! It's just what I needed to inspire me! I have 2 herniated discs and arthritis and my back doctor told me, a year ago, "You'll NEVER ride again!" and I haven't now for over a year. And, yes, I went through PT and cortisone shots. The shots really helped with the pain (some days I couldn't even stand up!) But, this last summer, I got an OTTB, from TB Friends, and he is so calm and collected that Joe even let little kids ride him. Quad is very quiet and I haven't even seen him run in the arena, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to find the right saddle for him and ride him next summer, so I learned a lot from reading your recommendations about saddles and pads. He still needs some weight put on him and his feet were sore for a while, but he's healthy now and I'm ready to get back on a horse (if I can). I do still have numbness and tingling in my left leg and I notice that I'm not as limber as I used to be and I occasionally lose my balance! Sometimes I even trip over the kids at school, so there's something still not quite right. But, reading all your stories has inspired me and given me hope. Thanks, all! Heck, even if hubby were to lead him around the arena with me in the saddle, I'd be happy at this point!



  18. #18
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    I have a hierniated L5/S1 - orginially injured in 2001ish. I suffered and rode for two years then decided I should go to the Doc (yeah, I know, not smart). That's when the MRI showed the problem. By the time I did go to the doc the pain was bad enough I was having trouble just getting on. The motion of the walk was awesome, but if my mare mistepped - it was unbearable. I ride dressage.

    Tried the back injection but it worked for about a week, then I was as lame as before. So I did the back strengthening excercises and kept riding. Sometimes I couldn't do much other than just walk - it felt sooo good, the walk motion. I stayed posting if I could, but did start sitting again when I picked up a ride on a nice hannoverian gelding. And did ride my youngester too.

    By 2004 the pain was intermittant. Mid-2004 I moved and had the horses at home. And had stalls to do. I really didn't think I was going to be able to do it long.

    Now 2009 - I'm riding my then-youngster at 1st/2nd level, cleaning stalls and stacking hay, toting feedsacks. Back is pretty darn good most of the time. Stacking hay can set it off. I walk A LOT at work, so I think that helps.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2003
    Location
    American Midwest
    Posts
    1,774

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    Another rider with herniated L5/S1 (plus the three disks above are bulging). At its worst, I had sciatica so bad that I would not be able to stand up or sit down without extreme (as in take your breath away) pain. Had a steroid injection in March which really helped quiet things down. Along with core strengthening exercises (which I need to do more) I am able to ride. The core exercises really, really help. Lifting heavy objects (who needs to do that around a horse farm?!) is more of a problem for me than riding - I can lift things with no problem but always pay for it later.

    I am 42.
    Liz
    Lionwood Irish Draught Horses
    irishdraught.co



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec. 11, 2004
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,704

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    Mine aren't as bad as most here, but I can at least provide some info on what has helped me. My L5/S1 through L3/L4 bulged after I broke my shoulder and was coming back to riding to find out that the broken side was not nearly as strong as the other (and hence, why they probably bulged to the weaker side). I found out then that I have degenerative disc disease, not helped by my decent lordosis (my dad has had surgery for spinal stenosis, etc, and was told by our spine doc that my back looks like his- thanks Dad!)

    My back has shown me that not all tack is created equal (at least to my back it's not ). I realized during the healing after one of the bulging episodes that Wintec saddles and my back DO NOT get along! One ride in a Wintec can set it off. I also found out that the MDC jointed stirrups with the rotating stirrup leather placement thing helps a lot, esp. when I was doing a decent amount of riding in 2 point.

    For me, what seems to help keep them in check is making sure my back muscles are in shape and balanced. A deep moist heat heating pad does wonders if it's cranky. I have noticed that if I take meds, heat, etc early on when I feel twinges I can often prevent a bad flareup.



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