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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2008
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    Default For those of you riders with a bad back...

    I have a recently diagnosed disk/nerve thing going on in my lower lumbar spine. My doctor warned me against any concussive activity or excercize such as jogging (no worries there) but said just to remember if I was going to ride, try not to get jostled around. So I don't do a lot but when trotting...is it easier on your vertebrae to post or stand to the trot? Any ideas? I just know sitting would be a no no.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2003
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    Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
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    I had a blown disc at L5-S1 and rode on it for a year leading up to surgery (through all kinds of PT and horrible sciatic nerve pain down one leg-couldn't sit or stand for long), and found posting to be easiest. The flexing of the low back kept my core stronger and my spine mobile even with the disc problem. You need to experiment with what works best for you. Are you doing PT? If so, your PT will have information on what is good/bad too. Show them how you move on the horse and they can tailor PT to your needs.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


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  3. #3
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    Jan. 6, 2013
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    304

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    Three microdiscectomies at L5-S1, and L4-L5 here.

    Posting & two point were my friends. I'm 2 years out from surgery and can finally do sitting trot for fun, but not working in a lesson.

    I second what Calvincrowe said on the PT. My PT used pilates & a lot of rehab was done on a pilates barrel mimicking riding, corse strength and posture.

    Interestingly, I hurt if I ride in my jump saddle now. I think it's the few degrees my hip angles close vs my dressage saddle. Hip flexor so play a huge part in low back pain. It's a constant struggle for me. Good luck & feel better.


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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2004
    Location
    Central Florida
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    5,535

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    Quote Originally Posted by Calvincrowe View Post
    I had a blown disc at L5-S1 and rode on it for a year leading up to surgery (through all kinds of PT and horrible sciatic nerve pain down one leg-couldn't sit or stand for long), and found posting to be easiest. The flexing of the low back kept my core stronger and my spine mobile even with the disc problem. You need to experiment with what works best for you. Are you doing PT? If so, your PT will have information on what is good/bad too. Show them how you move on the horse and they can tailor PT to your needs.
    So you have been riding after the surgery. Do you feel better? I am having horrible issues due to the same problem you have. Has core strength helped you. I got the epidural and it lasted for just over a year. I am considering doing it again but I'm not sure. I really would like to fix the problem and ride seriously again
    Traumpferde Farm
    "Wenn Du denkst es geht nicht mehr, kommt von irgendwo ein kleines Licht daher"
    Member of the COTH Ignorant Disrepectful F-bombs!*- 2Dogs Farm


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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2007
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    14,686

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by trafalgar View Post
    I have a recently diagnosed disk/nerve thing going on in my lower lumbar spine. My doctor warned me against any concussive activity or excercize such as jogging (no worries there) but said just to remember if I was going to ride, try not to get jostled around. So I don't do a lot but when trotting...is it easier on your vertebrae to post or stand to the trot? Any ideas? I just know sitting would be a no no.
    Maybe the answer is "none of above."

    Maybe the answer is "gaited horse." I'm not trying to "snarky," here, just noting that a lot of older riders with issues migrate to the gaited community for precisely the reasons you suggest.

    Not trying to sell you anything, either!!!

    It's a serious suggestion to address the problem.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 11, 2007
    Location
    Middle Tennessee
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    1,364

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Guilherme View Post
    Maybe the answer is "none of above."

    Maybe the answer is "gaited horse." I'm not trying to "snarky," here, just noting that a lot of older riders with issues migrate to the gaited community for precisely the reasons you suggest.

    Not trying to sell you anything, either!!!

    It's a serious suggestion to address the problem.

    G.
    ^^^This.

    My Tennessee Walker bought me 22 more years of trail riding time and we did some pretty rough riding.

    I have high level Grade II Spondoliotheliosis. I can't ride anymore and the neurosurgeon said my back is literally trashed from my neck down thru my tailbone. He also said surgery would be more pain than even I could tolerate and whispered to keep seeing my great chiropractor.

    But, thanks to my Tennessee Walker, I was able to keep riding until a few years past retirement.

    If you do look for a gaited horse, don't go by breed as each one can feel different to your back, due to their structure. I have had four Tenessee Walkers (two have passed on) and they all feel a bit different to my back.

    It can also be tricky finding a saddle that fits the horse and works on your back. I rode two of my TWH's bareback all the time, the other two luckily fit into my 1960's Big Horn barrel saddle that I had dug out of a manure pile at a farm yard sale.

    Barrel saddles have a deep seat and low cantle that suit my back issues.

    I have been wearing "the Back Cincher" back brace for several years. It give me enough extra support to get barn chores done for my two remaining TWH's.

    Lidoderm patches are a fantastic pain reliever if you have insurance to pay for them. If you don't the cost of them is more pain than your back.

    Good luck to you - bad backs are a rough and painful ride. Whatever mental strength/determination you have now --- double it


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2008
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    Thank you all for this info...my horse (TB X) is my life partner so the option of going to gaited is not one I can consider just now although I have heard that this is a good option.



  8. #8
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    Apr. 11, 2007
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    Middle Tennessee
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    Can you afford two?


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  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 13, 2008
    Location
    Western MA
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    656

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    I have had lower back issues for years. Posting trot is definitely easier, and "perching" hunter-type seat at the canter is more comfortable than sitting the canter is. If my mare is nice an slow and collected, I can sit the trot, but not for long periods of time.

    I do have to mention that the saddle pads I use make a tremendous difference in my comfort (and likely my horse's). I have found the ThinLine pads to be excellent shock absorbers, and also like the thin gel pads that you see around. I can feel a significant difference when I'm riding without them.
    Dapplebay - home of original equestrian clothing and accessories.


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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2005
    Location
    Va
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    4,377

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    My friend has a bad back. She usually posts the trot. Another thing that helped her is to get a gel seat saver for her saddle.


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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 27, 2014
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    528

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    I fractured my L5 vertebra many years ago. The right saddle makes a huge difference. I tried a lot before I finally found one that worked for me and my horses at the time, a Fhoenix Vogue. And the right stirrups, HS Bow Balance. I was able to ride after I went through PT. I haven't been able to ride for several years now, due to horse health issues. When I was riding, posting trot was easiest. I was able to sit the trot on a very smooth horse. My old pony has very smooth gaits.

    Yoga, core strengthening and time have helped a lot with overall comfort. Even though I'm not riding now, my back is in better shape than it was about 10 years ago when the injury happened. I've been doing the farrier work on my horses for a year and a half now, and its not bothering me.


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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2003
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    Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
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    My surgery was 11 years ago, and I've ridden since 3 months out of that with no issues, other that those brought on by overdoing at other things (like lifting hay bales, building fence, etc....not riding, ever!) I do have other back issues unrelated to the repaired disc, mostly due to degenerative arthritis and now something nerve/hip that my sports med/ortho and I are working on. I continue to ride,though I do not sit the trot, that does hurt (and my horse's trot is described as "five advil" on a good day! ha!).

    I just won't give in, frankly. I hurt pretty much every day from the three knee surgeries, three foot surgeries, and four shoulder surgeries I've endured in my 47 years, so a little back pain is really nothing in the grand scheme of things. But, damn it, I've had fun and my competitive nature says I must push on doing what I want to do...though I've figured out how to do certain things differently and I've mellowed out ( no more soccer, no more running, mt. bike on flatter routes, hiking less steep areas, etc.).
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


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  13. #13
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    Apr. 27, 2008
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    3,148

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    I find sitting a slow trot actually therapeutic to my seriously, painfully achy back.

    What really has changed my life is the *fear* of falling. My back cannot take a fall. I'm fine to ride, but I can't fall. And that changes everything.
    I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb. 2, 2014
    Location
    Sunny and constantly summer - Flagler Beach, Florida
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    150

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    When I was 12 I was diagnosed with severe scoliosos(sp!) and the dr told my parents that I shouldn't be allowed to ride any more. Of course that didn't happen but by the time I was 29 my back was shot. I had to have surgery on my L3-4 and 4-5. I had a discectomy and laminectomy and a fusion. I showed alot through my teenage years and walking, cantering and jumping I was fairly pain free but troting was pure hell. My trainer had to crack my back every 20 to 30 minutes when I had lessons and showed. After the surgery I was good for awhile but now at 47 not so much. In 2010 I even had a pain pump put in because I was so sick and tired of being on such strong medications. My mom of course wishes she made me stop riding but I'm glad she didn't. I don't know what to tell you to do but I would advise you to follow your doctors orders because without your back there isn't much you can do!!

    I haven't riden since 2008 when my horse died but my sister has a horse that has been recently broke to ride and has asked me if I want to ride. She can't ride because she's classified as a quadraplegic but can sit up and has limited use of her arms and hands from a car accident. I don't know if I could even ride again because of all the problems I have spondoliosis(sp), arthritis in my neck and back, right hip replaced and left on it's way out, have had two ankles and one knee surgery due to a very severe car accident and other numerous issues.

    PT would be great for you and they could give you exercises that would strengthen your core. I've also thought of getting a gaited horse. I wish you pain free days ahead. Good luck!




    Quote Originally Posted by trafalgar View Post
    I have a recently diagnosed disk/nerve thing going on in my lower lumbar spine. My doctor warned me against any concussive activity or excercize such as jogging (no worries there) but said just to remember if I was going to ride, try not to get jostled around. So I don't do a lot but when trotting...is it easier on your vertebrae to post or stand to the trot? Any ideas? I just know sitting would be a no no.
    Last edited by pepper1986; Nov. 14, 2015 at 10:56 PM.


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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2008
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    1,103

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    I cannot thank you all enough for all these thoughts. I feel like my issues are very minor compared with many of tees. I will post to the trop and get a gel pad for sure!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2005
    Location
    Oregon Coast
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    733

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    I have had major back issues for years and tried the gaited horse thing because it was recommended by PT person, No go, As a matter of fact, I do a whole lot better posting a hard trot than I do sitting a supposedly comfy gait. It all depends on the individual issues.


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  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2014
    Location
    TEXAS
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    386

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    I was scheduled for surgery due to ruptured C5, C6 and bulging of discs on either side of these. I was told to stop riding, period.

    I was also told to never pick up and carry our son, who was adopted and whom we'd gotten about a week before the diagnosis. NO WAY was I gonna not pick up and hold that baby we'd waited so long for - no way!

    So, I hauled the baby around. I rode. And you know what - in my case, I felt *better* when I rode. I think having a really good core strength helps a great deal. This doesn't have to come from some hard core gym time, but some thoughtful exercises suggested to you by a thoughtful personal trainer could be well worth the one-on-one time with him/her. In my case, posting felt better than sitting.

    Also, someone mentioned a TW or gaited horse. I know you've got your own mount, but I will say that I rode somebody's beautiful, well-bred TW during this time and I had *no idea* that riding could be that glassy smooth. This was in a Tucker saddle. No pain at all! None!

    YMMV, of course. Best of luck.


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  18. #18
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    Aug. 31, 2011
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    southeast Georgia
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    I don't know if you are interested in a new saddle, but the Stubben Biomex seat is marketed to people with back issues. I have a saddle with the Biomex seat, but I bought it more as a proactive measure: I don't have back problems, but as a rider in her late 50s, I thought I could very well develop them before I want to give up riding.

    http://stubbennorthamerica.com/biomex-seats/
    I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


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  19. #19
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    Jan. 6, 2013
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    304

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    Y
    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
    I don't know if you are interested in a new saddle, but the Stubben Biomex seat is marketed to people with back issues. I have a saddle with the Biomex seat, but I bought it more as a proactive measure: I don't have back problems, but as a rider in her late 50s, I thought I could very well develop them before I want to give up riding.



    http://stubbennorthamerica.com/biomex-seats/
    Good call. I have biomex on my jump and dressage saddle. It makes a huge difference.


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  20. #20
    Join Date
    May. 10, 2013
    Location
    Washington State
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    1,747

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    Lots of back issues before and after surgery. They told me to stop riding, the only time I'm never in pain is in the saddle. Sadly my riding took a big hit anyway because I couldn't take lessons for the longest time and had no idea how much I was protecting my back. Starting all over again.
    My herd for life:
    King: 21 year old Foxtrotter gelding
    Ruais: 8 year old Friesian/Arabian mare
    http://imgur.com/a/LSPiJ#0



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