Don't know how applicable this is to your situation, but I have fused vertebrae in my neck (discovered thanks to a riding fall). According to the doctors, it's a pre-natal condition and I've always been like this. I was told it's basically the same thing that football players get done on purpose. It has never affected my riding, and I was cleared to ride after the condition was discovered.
I have a friend that was fused C5/C6 and she rides. I am cleared to ride, but am incredibly unstable from skull thru C2 at least. Major subluxations. I think life is always a risk. Riding is a very safe sport provided you stay on the horse. I ride at the therapeutic riding center now. I still hope to bring my palomino mare home someday. I trust her with my life (and my neck.)
"You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here." ~ Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
I just had a really bad fall am had to have my neck fused. I am contemplating giving up riding, but a part of me just doesn't want to.
has anyone here have a fused neck and still kept on riding?
it will be months before I don't have a brace on and I am 57 years old. maybe it is time I just give up.
I was fused, plated and spinal cord caged from C-4 to C-7 in June 2009. I was in a car accident Feb 2006. Been riding since I was 6. I refuse to give up riding. Yes you may have limits on what you may be able to do on a horse, I can no longer run barrels. I took up the show ring and trail ride. I still have extensive damage in my lower back as well, I refuse to have surgery on it. I had a very long and complicated cervical surgery and I was back in the saddle 4 months post op. I was left with nerve damage, CF headaches, and neck pain after the surgery. My advice is have at least 2 Drs look at your neck and ask lots of questions. Riding horses is therapy for your body and mind. It's just my opinion but some Drs just love to operate, but sometimes if you fix things sooner than later such as my case, you may end up just fine. I had no neck pain what so ever I had symptoms of carpral tunnel. After an MRI my ortho dr found my spinal cord was so crushed it was urgent surgery in hopes of reversing some of the damage. Needless to say that didn't happen. I am 45 and refuse to give up riding and my dr supports me as long as it's reasonable riding as he explains it . Take the time to heal well. There are many types of cervical surguries. Think positive
You don't need to give up! My close friend fell and broke her neck in two places this year. She had only a small chance of NOT being a paraplegic so they opted for surgery. After 3 months of rehab post surgery she was able to ride and continues to do so 4-5 times a week. Her neck is not bothering her at all.
If you are worried about your neck I would suggest that you perhaps purchase one of those inflatable eventing vests that act like an airbag should you come off your horse - they protect the head/neck and lower spine! A lady at our barn wears one since her horse has bucked her off a few times. Both these ladies are in their mid-fifties.
There is HOPE. Never give up!
Please let us know how you get on...
"Don't make be BEG dahling...
you KNOW I won't do it!" Edna Mode
I'm 57 also. Had C4-6 fusion last May. LOTS of old injuries, and old age finally catching up with me. Anyway I started riding again the latter part of Oct., but I'm not jumping yet (I hope to keep eventing). Unfortunately I'm still having pain, but not as bad as before the surgery. Because the pain is primarily under my shoulder blade, my neuro surgeon sent me to an orthopedic Dr. to get a 2nd opinion. Ortho guy thinks it's still neck related. I'm going back to my surgeon 10Jan.
Hopefully they gave you a prescription for physical therapy (after you get out of the brace, of course). That was a big help to me. I've been stepping up my workouts the last month, and so far that hasn't made it any worse.
"Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George
The woman who first got me up on a horse and later became an early girlfriend, had a swimming pool accident when she was very young, though it took a while before anyone realized that she'd actually broken her neck. Fortunately nothing bad happened during the months before that became apparent, and she had surgery to repair the damage.
I'm unsure how they repaired her neck surgically, but many years later when I reconnected with her after having actually taken up riding in the interim, I learned that recently she'd been evaluated and warned that additional surgery would be required -- surgery that posed a significant risk of leaving her paralyzed -- to ensure that nothing bad would occur in the future. Her choices were to have the surgery or to restrict her activities to eliminate all avoidable risk of neck trauma that also could paralyze her.
By one of those bad coincidences that pockmark life, it late during the same week that she'd earlier sold the last of her horses when out of the blue I contacted her to tell her that her efforts years before, and an encouraging mare I became friends with over a pasture fence, led me to learn to ride.
I thought she'd be at least amused to learn of this. But instead I decided probably giving her a photo of me on the horse I'd been leasing wasn't a good idea. Going for a ride together in my former hometown wasn't going to fly, either.
Following a mysterious ejection a couple years ago about which I recall nothing, I had a Grade 2 concussion. Began to have symptoms that showed up C6-C7 bulging discs on MRI, with a lot of pain, tingling and numbness, particularly in my right arm and the fingers of my right hand. I was bruised shoulder-to-foot on the left side, with a striking divot on the right side of my helmet.
It's taken several months of weekly treatment to get the symptoms back to the level of a minor annoyance. Fortunately there's been no motor impairment, just tingling and some numbness and nowadays rare transient shoulder and arm pain, mostly when I drive my car.
Coming off since fortunately didn't aggravate it. Somehow, even with the worst of it, it didn't appear to have had much effect on my riding or anything showing up in lessons.
But both anecdotes seemed on topic, so I thought I'd wish you every good thing and contribute my neck injury stories.
"Things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein
“So what’s with the years of lessons? You still can’t ride a damn horse?!”
per my visit:
I am healing well, but I still have scapular pain and Dr. B is uncertain as of right now if the pain will be with me always or go away with more healing. I am more concerned if I have to continue to lie down to ease this. He had no answer except to say, we have to see how the healing goes!
I go back in 4 weeks and have to continue to wear the Miami J brace (plastic & foam). More walking is good as is getting some arm and finger strength.
He and the older doctor who were both involved in my surgery and tickled pink that I am so able!!! most of their stories don't end so well, I suspect.
He also said I could walk as much as I like, so now I have to wean myself off the wheelchair.
all in all a good progress report.
I am walking more, but get out of breath easily. I must have lost a lot lying down for so long! And not walking!!
I believe I have a head cold - which is not making me feel good right now!
I will be still healing by this summer so no attempts to ride even will happen. Maybe in 2013, if I still want to. apparently it takes a long time for this all to heal.
I have just seen posts where riders have lost their Heart horse, and have just stopped riding, so if I don't ride again, it won't be the end of the world.
life will still go on for me!
well, I am having scapular pain too - something wicked today! I thought it might be from the fall - I landed w/my arms behind my head -overextended!
but now I am wondering if it is neck-related? I am going to have PT once the braces come off. right now, we are just waiting for it to fill in.
I sit up, then lie down, then sit up etc. no comfortable position.
Been there, done that - the most excruciating pain I think I've ever felt...had me in tears and I have a very high threshold to pain. Had to have the DH leave work and rush me to doctor. After being prescribe various drugs, having an EMG and MRI, I ended up having a laminectomy on my T1 about 4 years ago. Thankfully, it worked and relieved the pain (although, not the numbness in my middle, ring, and pinky fingers...that seems to be residual). The scariest part was my arm was useless for about 10 days...and it was my 'working' hand. It eventually got stronger, with the help of PT and working with hand weights. I was back in the saddle in about 6 weeks.
Oh, and to respond to your inital question about riding with a fused neck...I think it's been almost 10 years, but I had my C5/C6 and C6/C7 fused after a horse-related accident. I was back to riding in about 10 weeks. So, there is hope for riding after fusion.
Unfortunately, I was told disc fusion may have a domino effect...and that may be why I ended up having problems with my T1.
Is it me or do 99.9% of cowboys just look better with their hats on?
OK, y'all, here I go. I fell off my horse while schooling at a hunter show last Memorial Day weekend. Fused c4-c5 and bruised my spinal cord. Given 50-50 chance of ever walking again and am described as an "incomplete tetraplegic." Was walking within 6 or 7 weeks of the accident and surgery. Amazed all the doc's. Just last weekend SAT on one of my horses and will start walking in lessons soon. Hope to get back to trotting & cantering but I will not jump again.
My question to those of you who damaged your spinal cords is, how long did the neuropathic pain last? I saw some talk above of residual scapular pain. The palms of my hands are still numb/tingling (in a bothersome way) and I've got clonus in my arms and legs.
I'm inspired by your reports of getting back in the saddle so quickly, especially Toadie's Mom, KCAQHA, Horsefun4ever. And Hannah's Mom7 thank you so much for starting this thread!