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Who rides with a Herniated Disc? UPDATE POST #33

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  • #41
    I would love to try Yoga. I tried on my own but it caused a lot more pain. Same with Pilates. I think you really need to be in a class. The hard part is paying for classes and finding the time to go. I have spent Thousands of dollars on treatments in the last 1 1/2 years. I am out of funds.


    • #42
      A good PT program IMO will include yoga exercises...although they may not call them Asanas, that's what they are. And that program really is/should be for life.

      But you do need to be careful, as some poses may aggravate the injury. Overall, though, yoga is GREAT for strengthening and protecting once you know what you're dealing with and can actually move.


      • #43
        L-5 S-1 here. I had surgery in 1989, had horrible pain for 6 years afterwards-- couldn't drive without a steady supply of ice on my back unless I took a list of drugs which colored my life kind of sepia. Alexander Technique has made all the difference for me. I was weaned off the drugs in 4 sessions spread over 2 months and over the last 6 years have done fine with only occasional anti-inflammatories. If I'm good about my AT excercises and instructions about how to do things, I don't need anything at all.

        It's been great to live in color again.

        I believe that if I'd had my AT instructor back in 1988, I never would have needed the surgery.

        I'm 63 years old next month and still start the horses I breed.


        • #44
          I have discs herniated at L4-L5 and L5-S1. I really put them out badly two years ago, to the point where I couldn't walk. Strangely, I put them out because I had spent too much time on my feet, not because of riding. It was my first experience with sciatica. Yikes!

          I ended up having a total of five injections into my spine in the course of about 14 months, plus two supplemental injections into the SI joints on each side. Mercifully, after finally finding a good doctor at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, I was injected in the correct place. It turned out that in addition to the herniated discs, I have facet joint hypertrophy at L4-L5 which has resulted in a synovial cyst (which conveniently leans on the nerve root). Facet joint hypertrophy is an arthritic change resulting in fluid build-up in the joint.

          I haven't needed an injection in the last year. I still have some residual nerve damage in my legs - a vague numb sensation in my lower calves (feels like I'm wearing socks even when I'm not). I've been riding 4 times a week. I also work out in the gym 3 times a week. Core strength training can't be underestimated. I only take pain meds as needed (rarely now), and I can usually just get by with a couple of Aleve. But when I first really threw my back out, I was living on Vicodin. I don't recommend that.

          Like some of you, I never found riding itself painful. There must be something about the position in which I sit that takes the pressure off the nerves. However, sitting in a chair or in a car for prolonged period, or standing for too long are sure to bring on the sciatica. I do ride with a back brace most of the time, and I'm fortunate to have a comfortable horse. I also avoid riding horses that buck, spook, or stop at the jumps. I can't take the chance.

          The best advice I can offer is this: listen to your doctor, do exercises to strengthen your core, and listen to your back. If you're in pain and having a bad day, then get off your feet.
          Why do I like most horses better than most people?


          • #45
            Originally posted by Private Diamonds View Post
            Waiting 8-12 weeks is going to be tough, I want back in the saddle SO BADLY! My trainer has been a huge support and won't let me back on until I am 100%, I broke the rules and went on a trail ride this past Sunday, she wasn't happy
            No she wasn't, was she (shakes head back and forth).

            Your trainer is just looking out for your best interest, as she knows first hand what happens when we don't listen to our doctor (one HD with another one on its way). We have some pretty high goals for 2009 and we need you healed.


            • #46
              I had a series of 3 injections, done at L4, L5 and S1, last year. They were spaced 3 weeks apart.

              They really helped - as I posted earlier, I had been seeing a chiro who would keep putting me back "in", but it wouldn't stay. After the injections, I stopped going to the chiro unless I hurt myself, .


              • #47
                Two surgeries on L3 L5,nerve damage,numb leg.Tried shots before surgery to no avail.Riding feels good......PILATES has worked miracles for me.


                • Original Poster

                  I just returned from my first Steroid Injection. I was so worried when I got there my Blood Pressure was high and it is always on the low side. I have to say I was a nervous wreck, but my doctor was AWESOME - he made it virtually painless. I see him again in a month for another injection, was told to continue physical therapy to strengthen my core and buy a brace when I ride for added support. Anyone have any suggestions on a good back brace?
                  COURAGE is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne



                  • #49
                    Originally posted by Private Diamonds View Post
                    Thanks to all who have offered their support and advice, it has helped more than you know.
                    I herniated a disc in 2000, and after 10 months out of the saddle and 6 months of PT, it was better - not 100%, but I could ride. Then, in 2002, it went - probably picking up a tack trunk or something like that. I tried to horse show (hauled myself, etc.), went home after two days of crying when I tried to put on my underwear, and ended up in the ER with a ruptured disc at L-5 -- S-1. Had lumbar laminectomy surgery, and although I still need to manage it, I am 98% better, years later. I need to be careful, but I ride, and run 20-25 miles a week, etc.

                    The surgery was very successful for me, and I wish I had it the first time around rather than mess around with it for 2 years before it became severe.


                    • #50
                      Originally posted by Private Diamonds View Post
                      I just returned from my first Steroid Injection. I was so worried when I got there my Blood Pressure was high and it is always on the low side.
                      Me Too!! Sweaty palms and all. I was much more relaxed the second time, since I knew what to expect.

                      I hope you get good resullts from it and please post your findings regarding a brace. My back has been funky the last few weeks and I was thinking of finding one, although I know I should just do more core strengthening.


                      • Original Poster

                        Originally posted by Personal Champ View Post
                        Me Too!! Sweaty palms and all. I was much more relaxed the second time, since I knew what to expect.

                        I hope you get good resullts from it and please post your findings regarding a brace. My back has been funky the last few weeks and I was thinking of finding one, although I know I should just do more core strengthening.
                        I just ordered the Professional Choice Comfort Fit - It has great reviews. Here is the link:

                        COURAGE is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne



                        • #52
                          I also like the Pro Choice brace. I used it for the first couple of months of riding after I got the green light (well, rode once or twice to start babies o/f since the rider I got to help after I got hurt got them stopping at cavaletti!).

                          I did L5-S1 and had to try 6 weeks of PT before insurance would cover an MRI. It was miserable! I couldn't put on shoes and the PT made my musces so hot and so much tighter she wrote a note to my doc stating she felt it was detrimental and that I needed the MRI. Finally got it and after a couple unsucessful rounds of Prednisone, got injections 3 months later - they help a ton! This thread reminds me... I'm 4 months overdue for injections. Has anyone done just one round and not needed any more?

                          A really good chiro helped a lot in the beginning and I bought an inversion table I use most days, definitely every day that I ride... also really helpful. My neurosurgeon foxhunts so while she said the best thing would be to no longer ride, she knew that was unlikely! I had to stop doing the Ottbs which was heartbreaking but I can ride most days. Just pay attention and if you're hurting, it's not a riding day!
                          Please don't try to be a voice of reason. It's way more fun to spin things out of control. #BecauseCOTH - showhorsegallery


                          • #53
                            glad to hear all of you are getting treated and back in the saddle!

                            i have a really random question that's kind of nhr (sorry mods!) but i figured i'd ask you guys since you all have wonderous and varied other hobbies besides horses. i've gotten the idea into my head that i want to do a hiking trip in the spring, which would include carrying a pack containing tent, food, supplies, etc.

                            have any of you done this after herniating a disc and then recovering and working to really fit yourself up beforehand? or is this just a bad life choice? i would have someone help me lift the pack (because we all know lifting is the kiss of death for bruised and broken discs) but would carrying it for several hours a day totally kill me? so far the heaviest thing i have lifted/carried since recovering a second time is a western saddle, haha.

                            and lots of jingles for healing for EVERYONE on this thread!
                            Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique



                            • Original Poster

                              For those of you who went through the steroid injections, when did you start to feel a difference?
                              COURAGE is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne



                              • #55
                                Originally posted by Equsrider View Post
                                They preformed a discectomy and bone fusion with a titanium plate..........Apparantly surgery can weaken discs above and below the one they fixed causing the same problem, which is why they put off surgery as long as they can.
                                I have 2 herniated discs and a bone spur in my neck which has caused a loss of most of the feeling in my left arm/hand. I had several epidural injections and then was scheduled for the discectomy but since I have "the longest damn neck" my doctor has ever seen, I opted out at the last minute because of this complication.

                                There is a new surgery which can replace your herniated disc with an artificial one, thereby eliminating the need for plates and screws and future problems on neighboring discs. The FDA has only approved it though for one disc and only for first time surgeries so I am not a candidate until they give the approval for multi disc replacements which I hope will be soon!! If you get to that point, you should ask your doctor about it.


                                • #56
                                  Originally posted by Private Diamonds View Post
                                  For those of you who went through the steroid injections, when did you start to feel a difference?
                                  Took me til my second set of injections, which was 3 weeks after my first. My doc said that is common, and thought that would be how mine went, cause I had so much inflammation and irritation in there.


                                  • #57
                                    Three discs....allergic to steroids....u gotta b tough to grow old...wasn't made for wimps