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Riders with Back Issues/ Scoliosis: Back Pain with Increasingly Collected work?

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  • Riders with Back Issues/ Scoliosis: Back Pain with Increasingly Collected work?

    Back Story: I have scoliosis with two rods in my back and a fused spine. For years, I couldn't even feel that my horse and I were very crooked (think a very nice renvers without asking for one!), but finally, I can feel and correct the crookedness (most of the time). Riding has never been an issue with my back and i participate in a variety of disciplines (eventing, foxhunting).

    My current issue: My mare and I have been schooling more and more collected canter work/ changes. Today was an especially good session- I really could feel her through my seat, adjust my seat bones, and got some very good work and nice changes. Certainly hard work for me (and her)- the amount of fitness medium-level dressage requires is still rather shocking to me!

    Within an hour after riding, my back felt like hot iron pokers were being stabbed into my left dorsal ribcage. It had to be from riding, because I'm very attuned to when something acute happens to my back.

    Has anyone else with these types of issues experienced this? Do I just need to get even more rigorous with pilates, strength training, and/or simply increase my fitness for actually riding this type of collected work?
    ~Living the life I imagined~

  • #2
    I'm not facing the issues you are, but as I spend more time flexing between dressage and jumping, my back tends to get tired.

    I've started doing Pilates every day using a reformer. Even when you are doing arm and leg work, the nature of the machine encourages you to use your back and core. As a result, I can spend more time in 2-point and not get as tired in my dressage lessons.

    You can get a lot of benefit from Pilates mat work, but if you are interested in a reformer for home use, I found a place where you can get them for ~$300 and they are really nice. For the cost of 5-6 private reformer classes, I can do the exercises every day.


    • #3
      Can you post pictures or video of you riding?
      I had scoliosis, and spina bifida, so I've experienced back pain (you betcha!) but it was resolved through a tack change and insisting on higher quality work.
      chaque pas est fait ensemble


      • #4
        Also riding with a spinal fusion to fix my scoliosis. Fused T2 to L1. I'm not a dressage rider (I just play one a couple days a week) but I do find when I'm out of shape and have to focus on riding in a way that really controls my posture, my ribs are the first place to feel it and I get jabbing sorts of pains. It's like since the spine cant move, the muscles elsewhere try to "move things around" instead. I do find it improves when I'm more in shape though.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by blairasb View Post
          Also riding with a spinal fusion to fix my scoliosis. Fused T2 to L1. I'm not a dressage rider (I just play one a couple days a week) but I do find when I'm out of shape and have to focus on riding in a way that really controls my posture, my ribs are the first place to feel it and I get jabbing sorts of pains. It's like since the spine cant move, the muscles elsewhere try to "move things around" instead. I do find it improves when I'm more in shape though.
          That is the same fusion I have- T2 to L1- and the way you describe it is exactly what I felt! LOL, I also don't consider myself a dressage rider, I too only play one on TV now and then . Thanks for the input all, I think I just need to get fitter in my core. It feels a lot better today, BTW
          ~Living the life I imagined~


          • #6
            I was like that for a long time and didn't realize it wasn't normal. I would have shooting spike of pain up my back, and I've ridden all levels. What really worked was intensive massage to rework that and loosen it up, then pilates and such to strengthen it up. I got a deal with a masseuse and did two massages a week for $200 a month. After a year and a half of that I realized I could do more with my lower back without shooting pains and just slowly started stretching and strengthening more and more.


            • #7
              I rode a big mover in a saddle which was too small for me a couple weeks ago and still feel it in similar sounding pain. You aren't supposed to be taking the movement of the horse in your back as much as in your hips (and obviously literally can't to some extent), but if a saddle is forcing your legs back or your tailbone out behind you or you simply lack the flexibility in your hip flexors you need for that amount of movement, or you aren't supporting yourself enough with your abs - your back will attempt to absorb the motion. And it can HURT.

              I'd suggest video and see if you are moving in the middle of your back more than you should. Even for folks without back problems most of the time, that's a quick way to pain!
              If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.