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broken tailbone, riding, and career in jeopardy??

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  • broken tailbone, riding, and career in jeopardy??

    Most of you might remember my saying that I work as an intern and trying to get the apprenticeship job at a German farm. 2 weeks ago I had a nasty fall off my mare from jumping a 3' course (wasnt either one of our faults was fluck, she tripped) and I landed on a metal surface. I was hurt but okay and jumped back on and finished our course. I didn't feel as much pain as I do now riding because in the jump saddle in the light seat there is little to no contact with the saddle. But in the dressage saddle its like electricity running up my spine. I went to the doctor last Thursday who is pretty sure its broken but didnt take an xray because he is worried bout sending radiation through my reproductive area (I am only in my mid 20s and would like kids someday) But he gave me painkillers and said if I want the xray still I can still get it. Well, I am not sure what to do, its 2 weeks later and I took my mare for a light trail ride in my dressage saddle after a 5 day rest and I still couldnt bare 5 minutes in the saddle.

    Should I ask for the xray anyways to see if I need to ask for the time off from riding? Riding is my job, I have no idea how my boss is gonna take it, especially when I am trying to convince her to give me the apprenticship job in Fall (its the only time they can take apprentices, if I miss it I have to wait a year) but the only way I have been able to manage riding is in a light seat (2 point) of a jump saddle or rocking forward on my pelvis with my back hollow and thats totally incorrect and will eventually give me a really messed up back if I ride like that for too long. I can work and do all the chores on the farm like normal but its the riding I really need to work on before I get accepted for the apprenticship because I have to do 2 riding tests and get my medals before she will hire me... but even imagining a dressage saddle makes me nervous. I am a very serious rider and am very serious about getting my bereiter status and I am afraid what seems like a stupid dumb little broken tailbone might ruin it all, what do you guys think I should do?
    Last edited by xcpony; Jun. 14, 2011, 11:43 AM. Reason: accidently deleted the first paragraph before posting

  • #2
    If you can't sit in the saddle, you can't ride. Really, what are your options? You can't pretend you're not injured if you are. Get the x-ray and talk to your boss if the recommendation is time off.
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    • #3
      I broke my tailbone 5 years ago when a pony I was walking past decided to flip over in the crossties and landed on me. The pain is excruciating, I know. I was told by my doctor no riding for six weeks, but I still have trouble sitting the trot for any length of time. I still have trouble sitting for long periods of time - I drove horses to Florida two months after I broke it - that was a whole new world of pain.
      Get the xray - you are not really going to know if it is broken without it - and get yourself one of those donuts to sit on. You are probably going to have to take time off from riding. It sucks, but you have to let it heal.
      My new mantra - \"Life is too short not to eat ice cream.\"
      ReRiders Clique


      • #4
        Getting a proper diagnosis will help.
        Don't want to second guess your Dr, but really, one pelvic x-ray should not bother your child bearing chances.

        I broke my tail bone once at six, standing on a bicicle seat going down a steep street and hitting a pebble and again some 25 years ago, when a horse bucked me high up there, to the stratosphere and yes, it does hurt.
        Let it heal, doesn't take that long.

        A few rare breaks may need surgery to get the pieces out of there.

        You need a good diagnosis and go from that, no sense in suffering, if something could be done to help.


        • #5
          You need an x-ray. But, having said that....

          I broke mine when I was 18 (fall from horse onto concrete). To this day, I cannot sit down deep for long periods of time and must change positions often (like at movies or sitting in a car).

          The excruciating pain you are feeling now will fade in a few weeks, but you may never again be the same pain free person. You will learn to deal with it. It didn't keep me from riding dressage, as I could deal with it for the hour or so at a time on each horse. Then get off for a break.

          But let me tell you - on those annual riding vacations where I'd spend 6-7 hours per day riding 30 miles or so - YIKES! But at least I could stand in the stirrups for stretches of time to relieve it.

          Sorry this has happened to you.
          Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.


          • #6
            I broke mine when I was oh, 15 or so. Schooling XC, got dumped on a fence, got back on and completed the course.

            Then I went to get off... oh jesus it hurt, just trying to get in the truck for the ride home was a real struggle. Seemed like I couldn't move from sitting to standing without tearing up.

            Went to the Dr. they said it was cracked, not broken.

            I was a working student as well at the time, riding many horses a day. The tailbone kept me out of the saddle for a few weeks.

            And, like some other posters I had some lingering pain for a number of years. It lessened over time, and today (at 32) I can't tell it ever happened.

            Good luck!
            APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


            • #7
              Seriously sounds totally ridiculous. The amount of radiation from a single x-ray is minimal these days. Is your doc a really old school guy who doesn't keep up with modern technology?

              CT scans are many, many multiples (with respect to radiation) of x-rays.

              Ask him/her for studies that show the impact or do some google searches.

              My advice, not being a doctor, but having a daughter who has had more x-rays than most of us added together, would be - if you need the x-ray, have it. There are many, many other things that may impact your fertility.


              • #8
                I forgot to add that not all breaks will give you pain for long time.
                While my two times were extremely painful, they healed in a few weeks just fine, didn't have not one twinge once well.


                • #9
                  I've broken my tailbone not once, but twice. You can go get x-rays to confirm, but there's not really anything that can be done except rest until it heals. That's been my experience, anyway.

                  Two weeks since the accident is not enough time for the break to heal. With the first break, I was naughty and did what you're doing...tried to ride. All that did was extend the healing time. With the second, I smartened up and stayed off the horses for about 6 weeks. I had a much better outcome the second time.

                  I was riding western at the time...same sort of seat position you're dealing with in a dressage saddle, I suspect. While you may not like hearing this, stay off the horse entirely until you heal. Otherwise, you'll end up prolonging your recovery.


                  • #10
                    I'm sorry you got hurt.

                    But the advice you got about the xray was crazy. My advice is to find a doctor who is a bit more knowledgeable, and get the diagnostics you need for a proper evaluation.

                    FYI, radiation dose is measured in milliseiverts (mSv). A lower back xray results in a dose of about 1.5 mSv.

                    For comparison... the natural radiation you will receive just from sunlight, etc is roughly 3-6 mSv per year, depending on the altitude of your location. (Sea level exposure is at the lower end of the range, around 3.1 mSv, while higher altitudes, like Denver or Salt Lake City, will be around 6 mSv.)

                    Back when I was in private practice, I used to shake my head a bit when we'd have patients come in with concerns about getting an xray... who would then go outside to smoke a cigarette to "calm down." They used to get very wide eyed when we pointed out to them that the typical tobacco user experiences more than 50 mSv annually from their habit (based on 20 cigarettes per day, per NIH.)
                    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                    • #11
                      I broke mine when I was 20- came off a horse. Luckily that was all I broke- but mine also included a hairline fracture of my pelvis- glad I got the Xray that showed it. Could not ride for 6 months, did anyway...young and dumb.Many years later I had major pregnancy complications from that hairline fracture of my pelvis, and the broken tail bone. Get the Xray, and let it heal properly. Otherwise it may effect more than just your riding carreer.


                      • #12
                        Broke mine 30 years ago. There's nothing but rest that will help. They mostly don't reattach either.

                        I often wondered if that wasn't the beginning of my back issues that followed many years later.

                        You haven't given yourself time to heal yet. Be kind to yourself so you can ride until you are old (like me)
                        "My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"


                        • #13
                          Like others have said, if it is broken, nothing will help but rest. Riding on a broken tailbone is going to do nothing but make it taken longer to heal.

                          Tail bone breaks are horrible. I broke mine about three years ago. Unfortunately, I had to ride in a half-seat for about a half a year. I probably shouldn't have ridden at all, but I was stubborn! This was before I did eventing and I got away with riding from my calf instead of my seat and focusing mostly on jumping for 6 months.

                          It took about a year for my tailbone to really heal. And for the year following that, it would still hurt if I was in sitting in the same position for more than a few minutes. Now-adays, it barely bothers me at all, just the occasional "tinge".

                          I'd definitely get an x-ray so you know what you are working with- otherwise it will be hard to know what to tell your employer and what to plan on.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sonesta View Post
                            I broke mine when I was 18 (fall from horse onto concrete). To this day, I cannot sit down deep for long periods of time and must change positions often (like at movies or sitting in a car).

                            The excruciating pain you are feeling now will fade in a few weeks, but you may never again be the same pain free person.
                            To the OP, have hope! Its true that you may never be "normal" again after this injury, but you also may recover completely! Like I just posted, mine bothered me still after 2 years but today, 3 years later, I can barely tell it ever happened. I probably would have been even better off it I didn't insist on riding while it was healing.


                            • #15
                              I broke my tail bone after slipping on ice and falling down a flight of concrete steps. It took six weeks to heal, but I have never had a problem with it, since. Listen to the folks who say let it heal.
                              friend of bar.ka

                              I am dressed up. These wellies are clean.