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Riding after neck surgery

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  • Riding after neck surgery

    I originally posted this in off topic but haven't gotten any response so I thought I would try here.

    Just wondering if anyone has expirience riding after neck surgery. I had a cervical diseconomy and fusion at c4-c5 5 weeks ago. I'm young so the dr said I should recover well but I can't ride for 6 months while the bone graph fuses. Has anyone had a similar surgery? Were you able to come back to riding fully? I'm a jumper rider and also play polo and am a bit nervous to play polo again... although probably stupidly, I'm not really concerned about jumping.

  • #2
    My opinion.........

    Greetings JD,
    That is quite a surgery to come back from.
    My first thought is if you have not done so, search pubmed.com and read as much as you can about long term outlook for your surgery.

    The best I can offer you is some objective tests/considerations your rehab professional can put you through. If you can adequately perform the tests, then a reasonable expectation (walk, trot, jump, polo, etc) can be established.

    Adequate Isometric neck strength.
    Adequate Isometric torso strength.

    Vision testing:
    Rotation of at least 15 degrees left and right at a pace ~80 bpm.
    Perhaps a headshake SOT (rehab pro will know what this is).

    The above tests will tell you how well you can expect to pick up objects and if you would do this with your eyes and or head.

    There are several balance tests that can be used to judge any affects there.

    Regarding jumping....I would be as concerned as playing polo. The loss of neck flexion due to fusion bias's you to keeping your head up and hence the neck stays in a more vulnerable position in terms of injury. Second, is the upper extremity strength needed to protect your head in the event of a fall. If you have not done so, learn how to shoulder roll. Tuck and roll (Ie chin to chest, forward roll) is a bad idea.

    This all said, you can certainly get back on a horse and have a long enjoyable riding career. Just be as OBJECTIVE in your assessment as possible.

    Regards,
    Medical Mike
    equestrian medical researcher
    www.equicision.com

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