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Tell me there's hope! Disc degeneration, bulging/ herniated discs and collapsed disc.

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  • #21
    My friend and I had a similar injury. Mine was bulging and herniated while hers was just slipped. She didn't ride for a while and is mostly healed with some degree of pain every so often. I have to live with a constant pain due to other problems we discovered I had and I had surgery to fix what needed to and I've never felt better, even though I love in my pain. I am 18 now. Surgery was 2 years ago and since then, my pain has not been over a 5 out of 10.

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    • #22
      Back surgery and severe herniations here. Massage and the MacKenzie method (a type of stretching) worked wonders for me. I still have off days, and won't take pain meds as a prevention because I've realized that (for me) knowing something caused pain helps me do it different next time.

      My husband felt so bad for me that he surprised me with a huge gift... a really really nice full massage chair. It works wonders. It caused a lot of belt tightening but he really wanted me to have something I could go to in a moment.

      I often comment the only time there is 0 pain or ache in my back is when I'm riding.

      Also, I switched to a standing desk at work. <3
      My herd for life:
      King: 21 year old Foxtrotter gelding
      Ruais: 8 year old Friesian/Arabian mare
      http://imgur.com/a/LSPiJ#0

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      • #23
        I would try to find an osteopath; also medical acupuncturist; also a few Feldenkrais sessions to help you move better With a support team like that, plus the right instructor you should be able to get back to riding at some level
        breeder of Mercury!

        remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

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        • #24
          @Calvincrowe -

          SO happy to have just read your experience! I am scheduled for the exact same procedure (at 7:30am!) on Feb 25th after dealing with a herniated L5-S1 since Mother's Day last year. I tried alternative therapy first (informal PT, chiro, massage), then did one injection which my back basically "rejected" - putting me in a tailspin of pain that was worse than before the injection. It took three weeks of 10/10 pain to get back to 5-6/10 pain with spikes. I am nervous to go the surgery route, but I haven't ridden since that bad weekend and need to something that will get me back in the saddle.
          CLIPclop Bodyclipping by Morgan
          Serving North GA with high quality clips.
          --> Just Press Start // '99 Oldenburg
          --> Always The Optimist (reg. Simply Stylin) // '02 Thoroughbred

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          • #25
            Have had a lot of experience being around others w/ back issues.
            Got to then experience it myself this year. Now successfully recovering.

            Was diagnosed w/ breast cancer last year. Went through chemo. Then had surgery end of December. Being so conservative and lying around while recovering from some surgical complications, I ended up w/ very painful sciatica - evidently had been oncoming for some time as I had had infrequent hip pains off and on for a couple of years. The issue then complicated by being given a new BC related med that raised the roof on pain.
            Had back & hip x-rays taken via oncologist referral - nothing obvious except possible L4-L5 narrowing, but MRI suggested if worse.

            Went to physical therapist for post BC surgery issue, but as my back was acting up, she gave me a set of exercises.
            Was only on ibuprofen and still needed pain meds, and some further discussion of whether or not my pain issue is back, or BC related - so went to my primary, who handed me the book on McKenzie exercises. They were the same ones the PT had just instructed me on. They had a pile of the books in the local clinic, part of a large rural healthcare network. Seems the healthcare network is very supportive of this alternative.

            Has taken perhaps 3-4 weeks, but my pain is decreased about 90-95% depending on whether or not I am sitting too much. I could feel improvement right from the onset. And when I feel it coming back on, doing the exercises is the answer.

            I keep up with the PT weekly, but am so buoyed by the improvement. I haven't even needed the MRI. Primary says I may need to do them for the rest of my life to avoid further issues - but they are simple and for me, comfortable. Feel lucky to have been pointed in that direction. The pain was intolerable 4 weeks ago, and this worked.

            http://www.amazon.com/Treat-Your-Bac...9CMJN18E9N7C5H
            But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

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            • #26
              My recent experience -

              I have degenerative disc disease, arthritis, stenosis and some lateral displacement in L4 - S1. Standing and walking for any period of time was difficult, and getting worse, even though I gave up teaching riding. Doctor recommended laminectomy and fusion; this particular surgeon doesn't do laminectomy without fusion. Mine would also require bone grafts (from my own hip or hips), so a pretty involved surgery with a lengthy recovery time. Not an option right now. At this point I wasn't riding, not because riding hurt, but because the amount of walking and standing to catch a horse, bring it in, groom and tack up was beyond my tolerance and ability.

              I had the epidural spinal injections two weeks ago and it was *life changing*. I didn't even realize all the ways I was limiting myself because of my back pain until I was out of pain. I swear I'm taller! I am back to riding and doing farm chores. I can stand up to give a presentation and not even think about it. I have my fingers crossed that the pain relief will last, but even if it only lasts a couple of months, I would totally lay down on that table and get the shots again. (Much less painful that having my knees injected.) I am scheduled to have the facet joints injected next week.

              PT helped, better fitness/core strength helps, an inversion table probably would as well, but the injections - I just can't even tell you how much better I feel.

              Oh, and they prescribed gabopentin for me - a nerve pain drug, similar to Lyrica. I hated it. I had bizarre vivid nightmares on it and would up feeling goofy/stuporish. It did help with the pain, but totally not worth the side effects. The reduced the dosage, but the relief diminished at roughly the same rate as the side effects. Just not worth it. I do much better on simple NSAIDs and arthritis drugs.

              As always, your mileage may vary.
              The plural of anecdote is not data.

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              • #27
                Mr P will be having surgery Wednesday. It seems relatively minor as far as back surgery goes, mostly relieving the stenosis. He has had 3 sets of spinal injections with diminishing results. The first worked for 7 months, the second for a few weeks and the last not at all.

                He was also on gabopentin and it made him sleepwalk! He quit that and is not a happy camper ATM since he can't take most NSAIDS within a week of surgery
                I wasn't always a Smurf
                Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
                "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

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                • #28
                  I haven't read all the replies - no doubt there's great advice there and probably more accurate than i can provide

                  I'm int eh "my back is shot" camp too and am holding off surgery too. I used to do a lot of pilates etc which as others have said keeps your core strong.

                  I found though a program called Foundation training (http://www.foundationtraining.com/) has been my back saver though. I just follow the few routines he has on youtube for free. I try and do the 12min lower back one daily (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BOTvaRaDjI) but that just doesn't happen. I'm lucky if i manage a few times a week.

                  It has however been whats helped my back the most.

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                  • #29
                    I know things have gotten more sophisticated, but ever since I read a Worker's Comp history of a man who ended up a quadriplegic after numerous back surgeries to try and get him back to work, the very thought of back surgery gives me chills. It's something I would never consider unless my spine was broken or I was already paralyzed. I have old rider's back with all that entails.

                    The McKenzie exercises and rolls have worked for me since the 1980s. Going to an Actual McKenzie practitioner would probably be even better.
                    Last edited by vineyridge; Mar. 28, 2016, 03:09 AM.
                    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                    Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                    • #30
                      I am happy to report that after the facet joint injections I am better than ever. The facet joint injections are not for sissies - harder to tolerate than the spinal epidural and much harder than just having a knee or ankle injected.

                      I feel amazing.

                      I took this week off for Spring Break and have spent my time doing college tours with DD - LOTS of walking that I would not have been able do a month ago.

                      And I can actually ride and do farm chores on the same day - previously it was one or the other, not both.
                      The plural of anecdote is not data.

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                      • #31
                        Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                        It's something I would never consider unless my spine was broken or I was already paralyzed. I have old rider's back with all that entails.
                        Viney, a wise person once told me that in her opinion, all back surgeries were elective (excluding, of course, broken backs from trauma) and at some point in one's life, one may elect to have the surgery vs their current quality of life.

                        I had severe scoliosis with fairly significant pain that was continuing to progress. I chose to have surgery. The outcome wasn't what I was hoping for but I also think my hopes were probably a bit unrealistic.

                        Not everyone will reach that point of having to make that choice. My friend's words stuck with me ever since I hear them as it helps put back surgery into, IMO, a proper perspective.
                        No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. - Eleanor Roosevelt
                        For you to insult me, I must first value your opinion - Unknown
                        Pleasure Portrait 1989-2016...sleep well my girl

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                        • #32
                          I herniated L4-L5 and L5-S1 last February. It completely compressed the nerve root resulting in paralysis and numbness of the entire back of my right leg. I did spinal decompression therapy, physical therapy, massage, chiro and eventually, yoga. I now have full use of my leg back, although a small amount of numbness has remained.

                          I started riding 2 months after the injury, for 10 minutes at a time. I now ride 4 days per week and do yoga or hike on the other 3. I'm showing at 4th level this weekend.

                          If you CAN go down routes other than surgery, do. But be prepared to work hard at physical therapy and get used to the fact that daily workouts, especially for your core, are NOT optional any longer.

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