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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
    Posts
    3,427

    Default Crush/compression fracture of L2: experiences? Update. Back in the saddle - yay!

    Jinxed myself! Was just telling a student that I have been riding for over 30 years and had never broken anything. Despite knocking like crazy on the kickboards when I said it it, the following week I fell off and broke a veterbrae in my back.

    Any words of advice? What can I expect about recovery time? Any therapies I should be looking into?

    How long should I expect it to be sore?

    Doctor said I will be off riding for 3 months. I'm planning on keeping my mare fit with lunging and ground poles. She's at a great place, so I know she's being looked after. I hate to think I'll be missing show season but, that's life, I guess.
    Last edited by Come Shine; May. 13, 2014 at 12:56 PM. Reason: Updated



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 4, 2004
    Posts
    2,631

    Default

    I am so sorry to hear! I fell off and had compression fractures of T5-T7 (mostly T6) in September. Not sure how relevant my experience is, as it's further up the back, but I was off riding about 3 months. The first 8 weeks I was in a brace and wasn't allowed to do anything (drive to work, handle the horses, lift more than 5 lbs), then I went to PT for another month or so and they ramped up my activities.

    5 months later I still have some soreness, particularly sleeping (I am supposed to sleep flat on my back but once asleep I forget . . .), twisting (like checking my blind spots driving) but it is still improving every week. I have some stretches from PT that help, yoga helps. Have also gotten back into strength training. Though, I don't think any of that movement is recommended until the bone is healed.

    Not sure what else to recommend. Patience? (it's so hard not to be able to do stuff, and hard when cleared to do stuff not to feel like yourself). Netflix? There is a procedure they can do for compression fractures where they inject stuff into the compressed bone to expand it back to its original size/shape. I didn't need it, but I met someone at PT who had that done.

    Sorry again to hear. Hope you start feeling better soon.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2000
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    12,663

    Default

    The worst part of it for me was not being able to tolerate lying flat on my back to sleep, so I spent most of my recovery overnights in a recliner.
    Do pay attention to what your doctor says about length of recovery, then get yourself into a good PT program, and you should be fine.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2003
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    5,480

    Default

    I exerienced several of those after my catastropic accident in 2011. They wanted me to wear a brace, but with 8 broken ribs, that just wasn't happening! They were mostly concerned about it getting out of place and having to do surgery, so just be very careful and don't do anything rash that would compromise your injury. I was injured in November and got back on my reliable (retired) dressage gelding in February. I had so many painful areas, I don't remember what was worse. But do take your doctor's advice and know it will heal and you'll be ok. If PT is recommended be very compliant with it all. Good luck!
    PennyG



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2011
    Posts
    73

    Default

    I am at just over 8 weeks after compression fracture at T9 and L1. I am finally starting to feel more normal. Much less pain now. I think 3 months is about right. I am looking forward to my target date for mounting up again on the first day of spring. Interesting that some folks were told to sleep on the back. I was told NOT to do that. I also had no brace and no PT - just a couple of simple exercises.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
    Posts
    3,427

    Default

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Wow. My injury sound really minor in comparison to your stories. Yikes.

    TKR: That sounds brutal.

    I started physio today and it sounds like I am healing really well. I'm going to start weaning off the pain meds because they are starting to play havoc with my stomach.

    Laterwork: Your injury sounds most similar to mine. How long did it take to start functioning normally? ie. Going back to work, being up to grocery shopping, etc.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2011
    Posts
    73

    Default

    As an update, I had about two months that were pretty rough. I did stuff like going to work and basics around the house but it would wipe me out and I would need a pain pill at bedtime to sleep. Around 8 or 9 weeks, I turned a corner and stopped hurting so much. I got back on my horse at 12 weeks, just at the walk, to see how it felt. It was ok, but did not feel confident about doing much on my athletic young horse. I felt out of shape, so started Pilates with a trainer. I am about 16 weeks post accident, and about 4 weeks into my exercise program, and I feel much better. I get stiff in the car, or sitting at work, but that's it. I'm planning to start riding for real next week. Still haven't done anything about surgery for my hand arthritis, but that's another tale. Right now, I just want to ride again.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
    Posts
    3,427

    Default

    Glad to hear you are feeling better lateralwork. Yay!

    I'm feeling pretty good, too. At about the 6 week mark, like you, I felt like I just turned a corner. If I stand too long at the barn I get a bit tired and sore, but, lol, I would probably be stiff doing that even if I had not broken my back. I'm three weeks away from riding.

    Being off, though, has given me a fresh perspective about my horse. I have been working with my coach on training through lunging and I think it has been tremendous for my mare. She looks so fit and fantastic. It has also helped me develop a better eye and 'feel' for the cadence in her trot and canter.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 25, 2003
    Location
    Orlean, Virginia
    Posts
    2,959

    Default

    IMHO it's a huge mistake to set a healing schedule or return to riding date etc...."I'm 3 weeks away from riding" worries me....because we are all individuals and heal differently and on amazingly disappointing rates. You are setting yourself up for failure or sadness when it all doesn't happen "on time" or like others did or even how the doctor told you. ALWAYS be skeptical and open minded when given a time.....they are always approximate, estimated and flexible. There are those doctors that would say you should never ride again with that injury. You may have a chronic symptom or condition as a result of this injury....you may need surgery someday for it.....there are many, many ways it can go for you with ANY injury!!! We all rehabilitate differently. As we age, old injuries can & do come back to haunt us.
    Please take your time, you have the rest of your life to get back in the saddle and your horse will love his time off. Best wishes and take your calcium ladies!



  10. #10

    Default

    Hi I fractured my L1/L2 many years ago (1986) back then though medical treatment and ongoing physio was non existent. After a long operation, a week in intensive care, 8 weeks bed rest and then rehab which in total was 3 months, I was still not walking unaided, once I was kicked out of hospital there was no ongoing physio and it took me 2 years to walk unaided.

    they never told me I shouldn't or couldn't get back on a horse and it took a while only because I was a young single mum of a 1 year old so just general survival was foremost at the time.

    To give you an idea of my disability.

    The bits of bone in my spinal cord damaged the cord and I have partial paralysis still to about 40-50% below the waist, this is unevenly distributed over both sides. I have hammer toes on my left leg, my left leg had started to contract so that I would ride shorter on my left and I am unable to move my right ankle at all. I have no use in my seat muscles,so no padding on my bottom and no muscles or feeling on the balls of my feet either protecting my feet from impact etc. I can walk (with a limp and plenty of pain), I can't run or jump and I have to mount across or down onto my pony, not up as I my legs are not strong enough to lift me up and I can't lift my leg up over my horse properly while I mount.

    I can't give even leg aides due to uneveness so I use voice commands for transitions only, I have elastics holding my legs into the stirrups.(only recently started doing and it is liberating)

    My advise from over 20 years of this injury would be to make sure your general health is good, no make that great. So that your body heals well.

    Extra protein to help rebuild your body and quality calcium.

    Eat superfoods like Green barley, spirulina etc, not synthetic vitamin tablets.

    Secondly before you get back in the saddle have atleast a month of exercised specifically for your core strength. It will protect and support your back. After 3 months out of the saddle your strength and your core will be weak and will strain your damaged vertebrae and back muscles.

    Pilates is the best for this. I have tried every exercise program out there over the last 20 odd years, spent hours at the gym daily and pilates was the game changer for my riding and mobility quality. Nothing else even came close.

    I only started doing pilates about 12 months ago. I am now riding with my stirrups even and 4 holes longer.

    If you want to protect your back, strengthen your core muscles and keep them strong. Make this the most important thing in your day.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2000
    Location
    Clarksdale, MS--the golden buckle on the cotton belt
    Posts
    18,642

    Default

    I never did L2, but I did have a compression (wedge) fracture of L3. I was out hunting and came off. After an few seconds of back pain, I was more worried about my glasses than my back. Got back on and rode a mile or so back to the clubhouse.

    Although I tried, I never got any proper medical attention for my back, although I did get a bone scan at the time. It healed remarkably well, except that I have a pretty bulging disk between L3 and L4. Lower back pain with occasional sciatica is now a problem 12 years later.

    However, perhaps a wedge fracture is different from a crush fracture.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
    Posts
    3,427

    Default

    Holy cow, ozwelshcobs, that sounds awful! I hope you continue on your path to healing.

    UPDATE: Rode on the week-end - yay!! Mare was lovely. Had a lesson on Sunday. Back is fine but, oh my goodness, am I out of shape. My poor legs.



  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Come Shine View Post
    Holy cow, ozwelshcobs, that sounds awful! I hope you continue on your path to healing.

    UPDATE: Rode on the week-end - yay!! Mare was lovely. Had a lesson on Sunday. Back is fine but, oh my goodness, am I out of shape. My poor legs.
    Thanks Shine, it has been a battle but finally I have the right weapons :-) including 2 very obliging athletic smart ponies in my arsenal.

    I hope to start competing later in the year after I sort out with the riding club association what equipment I can and can't use as a disabled rider to be able to be on an level playing field with able body riders.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 18, 2005
    Posts
    1,068

    Default

    I fractured L-1, obliterated L-2, fractured L-3 tipped L-4 and L-5 45 degrees forward and to a right angle, and busted my hip at the joint in two places along with all my lower back muscle turning to mush. Had to have L-2 surgically repaired. This was back in 07. Six months later I got back on my horse.

    I have a Chiropractor that specializes in sports med. If it wasn't for him I would not be doing as well as I am. I live with intense pain everyday. I do fight through it.

    OP, I am really glad you are back to riding. I took my first ride in two years just a few weeks ago. I lost my horse two years ago and now have a mule but I rode a friends horse last week. Now I can not wait to get my mule going.



  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gdolapp View Post
    I fractured L-1, obliterated L-2, fractured L-3 tipped L-4 and L-5 45 degrees forward and to a right angle, and busted my hip at the joint in two places along with all my lower back muscle turning to mush. Had to have L-2 surgically repaired. This was back in 07. Six months later I got back on my horse.

    I have a Chiropractor that specializes in sports med. If it wasn't for him I would not be doing as well as I am. I live with intense pain everyday. I do fight through it.

    OP, I am really glad you are back to riding. I took my first ride in two years just a few weeks ago. I lost my horse two years ago and now have a mule but I rode a friends horse last week. Now I can not wait to get my mule going.
    Eeek.

    Mules are cool, we don't have them in Australia.

    Isn't it grand to get back in the saddle :-)



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