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L2 Compression Fracture and Protecting Your Back in the Future?

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  • L2 Compression Fracture and Protecting Your Back in the Future?

    Hi All! I came off my horse about two weeks ago and have a compression fracture at L2. Its not bad and I am healing nicely with no surgery necessary. I was very lucky. I know I have some more time to heal, but I am thinking of when I get back on my horse. What can I do to protect my back in terms of if I fall again? I am contemplating a blow up air vest, or just a vest, but is there any way to protect the tailbone? Keep in mind, I am an AA riding 1st/2nd level Dressage. I am just nervous about getting on again and want to protect my body as best as I can. Thanks for any advice, product ideas and tips!

  • #2
    Well, very glad to hear you are doing okay! I did have nasty fall about ten years ago and fractured my transverse process. Most compression fractures do not require surgery, so you are fortunate on that front. I think a protective vest is a great idea, there was a thread on COTH recently about these vests but I do not recall which category it was under. Other than that, calcium and vitamin D are important for bone health and can help prevent fractures in otherwise healthy people. If you are post menopausal, some of the bisphosphonates may be useful. The lumbar spine is a tough area protect if you ever have a fall.

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    • #3
      Last night I came off my horse and have a L1 25% compression fracture. Had X-rays and cat scan and 6 hour er visit. I feel pretty lucky. Going to orthopedic on Wednesday and am hopeful for a no surgery prognosis. I'm really sore today.

      OP, did you get a vest? I'm sure my husband hopes I will give up riding, but I doubt I will. But would like to be as safe as possible. How long do you anticipate being out of the saddle?
      Friend of bar.ka
      My herd.
      Darby, 4 year old Connemara mare
      Hope, 25-30 years? Appy mare

      Comment


      • #4
        I came off a young horse in 2013 and shattered L3 - SI. I had major surgery in 2015 and I am incomplete (which means I now walk, hallelujah!). I still have silly gait deficits and therefore "walk funny" and I have no real control over my left thigh. However, I STILL RIDE. I wear a BETA 3 rated vest, and play it extra safe. I have not come off since getting back on in 2016, but my neurosurgeon urges me to ride with a vest to protect the fixtures and the above and below spine. Since having my SCI, I am focused ever so much more on core strength, and protection. And no getting on known silly horses
        : ) Get yourself a vest, and work hard on your core to stabilize and protect your spine. Keep riding!

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        • #5
          I just got a T 12 compression (horse), to go with my previous L5 compression (car wreck) that did require surgery (and rods + fusion). I did get a Point 2 Air Vest. I plan on wearing it on my youngster (who did the damage) for every ride the foreseeable future once I'm cleared to get back on. Husband has requested I consider it on a couple others, especially while jumping, I plan to use it. I might not wear it on my steady fella... but I might change my mind too.

          For my previous one, I still ride, event, jump, and started several of our homebred youngsters, I even rode a few other people's problem horses, but now that I have a desk job and am not as riding fit, I only ride my own horses, or those owned by people I know extremely well. I've come off plenty of other times in between.

          I do plan on starting Pilates, and not getting on my young horse until I've been back up and riding for 1-2 months, and will have her tuned up by the trainer for a few rides before I get on.

          How long is everyone else out? Dr says no riding for at least 12 weeks from date of injury . My previous break, I was allowed to ride 6 weeks after the injury, but only at the walk, and only on a very quiet horse. He wouldn't let me trot for several months after that though.
          www.LastingStarEquestrian.com
          https://www.facebook.com/LastStarEquestrian/

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          • #6
            If he says 12 weeks, go 12 weeks. Take all the physical therapy you can get. I cannot ride anymore as mine lack stability and I have chronic pain. The L vertebrae tend to be the most painful to me. Good luck!

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            • #7
              I am a PT and I have had a T6 compression fracture in the past. I recommend you take the full 12 weeks off from riding and consider PT in a few weeks. It can help address pain and help you avoid stiffness and pain from muscle guarding. I have had back pain since my fracture years ago because I was dumb and started riding before I should have been.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by TullyMars View Post
                If he says 12 weeks, go 12 weeks. Take all the physical therapy you can get. I cannot ride anymore as mine lack stability and I have chronic pain. The L vertebrae tend to be the most painful to me. Good luck!
                To be clear, I'm taking the full recommended time... but I'm not happy about it. Didn't help that the Dr was rude as can be, but I haven't been able find another one to use before I'm due for my next apt. The first Dr. said 6-8 weeks, and it was a bit of an unpleasant shock to have that increased to 12 even though everything was looking great!

                So far, he has offered no PT. I'll take advantage of it if he'll prescribe it.
                www.LastingStarEquestrian.com
                https://www.facebook.com/LastStarEquestrian/

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                • #9
                  Depending on your state and your insurance you can go to PT without a MD order through direct access. It totally depends on your state laws though. Also, if you want PT there is nothing wrong with asking your doctor for a referral if he doesn't offer it. Remember you are the patient, you are paying him for the service and your wishes do matter! Many patients forget that.

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                  • #10
                    S.O. has had 5 back surgeries and is a P.T. Life is short if you love to ride, ride just hey don't fall off. Really he just got a deeper seat saddle and rides a nice horse however this horse does have a once a yr. nasty bolt/spook.
                    Remember the most dangerous thing you ever do is drive in a car. , 40K deaths thin 2016 therefore ride f you love it and drive a big car/truck.
                    I know a neurosurgeon who wears a helmet in his car!

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                    • #11
                      I just came off and fractured L1 about 3 weeks ago. No surgery, likely damaged a disc between L4 and L3 as well but they can't treat that without compromising the fracture. I had on a beta3 vest, but that doesn't cover the bottom of my butt, which I landed on in a sitting position. I dont come off very often, but when I do it's bad.

                      Luckily the break isn't painful. The disc and the immobility cause all of my pain. But no worries about being bikini ready this summer. The hard plastic brace would hide my love handles and prevent sunburn too. That is, if I weren't stuck on the couch most of the time.

                      My doc said 12 weeks as well. He looked at me like I had three heads when I asked if I could go riding on our planned (and now cancelled) trip to Yellowstone.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I fractured L1 on April 9th after a stupid fall from my horse. Doctor released me from care but I am going to ask for PT. No pain at the break but lower back is stiff from lack of movement.

                        I am cleared to ride and am thinking of climbing back on tomorrow. I am a little nervous. Just need to get the first ride in and let go of the anxiety.

                        Hampton Bay, I cant imagine how painful that fall was landing in a sitting position. Ouch! I landed flat on my back, so I was lucky as I didn't damage any other part of my back. My doctor wanted me up and walking around and not sitting. Sorry about your Yellowstone trip. Make sure you get PT.
                        Friend of bar.ka
                        My herd.
                        Darby, 4 year old Connemara mare
                        Hope, 25-30 years? Appy mare

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi everyone,
                          Wow, I'm so happy I found this forum! I just recently had an accident training my green 4yr old gelding, and am currently only able to lay flat on my back or on my side while I heal for the next 3+ months. It's relieving to hear everyone's stories and see there is light at the end of the tunnel
                          For me, all L1-L5 are fractured, plus S1, my rt pelvic bone is fractured, and 2 rt ribs (#3 & #4) are fractured as well. Add to it bruised kidneys, huge hematomas, and lots of muscle and nerve damage, and I feel like a punching bag that went through a garbage disposal lol.
                          I've been through medical traumas before (not related to riding), but it was a long time ago (19+ years) and I don't remember the time passing so slowly in recovery as it does now. (Probably because back then I had my mom taking care of me haha, vs now I have kids to take care of myself).
                          More than anything I just hate the lack of freedom, the lack of ability of being able to do "stuff". Laying around everyday is so tedious, is so very hard on the rest of your body that's not injured, and because you aren't busy doing something, it's a lot easier to focus on the pain of the injuries. The accident only happened just under 2 weeks ago, so 3-4 months feels like forever.
                          I also miss my horse terribly. I'm used to seeing and working with him every day for 2-3 hrs a day. My husband has taken over the daily visits (we board him 5 mins away), but he's unable to exercise him like I did and he knows nothing of training. He just turns him out, grooms him, mucks up any mess that is there in between when the ranch hands do it, and spends time with him and gives him his feed. I'm so fortunate that he is willing to do that for me, but I'm still sad I can't do it for who knows how long?!? (I'm under the care of a Spine Specialist at a Spine Surgery Center through Kaiser) My next Dr's appt is in a week and I will hopefully know more then.
                          Anyhow, I'm trying to stay positive and take each day one day at a time. I'm so looking forward to meeting new friends on here, and am encouraged by your recoveries and willingness to be open and share what you all went through!
                          Thanks,
                          Joanna

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            PercheronQH Mama Well crap you make my little compression fracture at C7 sound like nothing. I fractured it at a horse show in 2015 making a mighty poor decision at a jump. I spun underneath my horse as he cantered over me and I felt like I'd been in a fight.... beaten, bruised, hematoma.... yuck. I didn't even find out I had a compression fracture for two weeks when I finally went to the doctor and had a CT scan. You will heal but it will take longer than you want. Be patient. Watch lots of horsey live streams and kiss your horse when you see him. Maybe you can get someone skilled to keep his education going as you heal but it won't hurt him to just have time off too. My mares never complain about some extra time off. My compression fracture healed and I was back in the show ring in 3-4 months but that dang hematoma on my leg (the cantered over part) bugged me for almost a year. Best of luck.
                            You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              PercheronQH Mama and OP, I hope you both are feeling lots better! I compression fractured L1 and L2 almost three years ago, tumbling off over a horse's shoulder. I still have no earthly idea how that translated to back fractures but there you go. I knew something was wrong right away despite the fact that spectators thought it was a NBD fall. Finally made them get an ambulance, which they thought was pretty silly, until the x-rays and CT revealed a couple of pretty crushed bones. I DID have surgery where they injected cement into the vertebrae. I did not have a brace. I DID do lots of PT, for months, and followed up with more a year later. End result is I am alllllmost back to where I was pre-fall. I do not have any pain and the only residual effect is muscle stiffness along the spine if I stand or bend a whole lot. The only time I notice anything while riding is sometimes doing sitting trot.

                              I do yoga and other stretches/floor exercises every day. My core is stronger now than it ever was! My shiatsu heated pillow massager thing is my friend. Really targets the stiff areas when I need it! I do not wear a vest while riding... considered it, but then found out they don't offer a ton of protection for the lumbar area anyway.

                              Good luck to both of you and GIVE IT TIME!
                              "Horses lend us the wings we lack." ~ Pam Brown

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                How is the back doing? I fell off a green pony and found myself with a compression fracture at T-11. I would say overall it took me 4 months with physical therapy to feel close to 100%. This was in March of 2015, and I still will have days where I 'feel it'. (although it could just be from any other back issues I have from horse falls over the years..)
                                I will say, using MG12 (a magnesium supplement in the form of cream, oil, or bath salts) has helped A LOT. It can be used on the horses as well. Their website has great information for people and horses and the best part is that it is super affordable! Just search MG12 on google and it will come up!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Just diagnosed with compression of T8 and T9.
                                  Been on medical house arrest until further notice.
                                  Trying to avoid surgery, that the Dr thinks is iffy.
                                  There were "odd spots there they want to check first".
                                  Just had CT scans to determine where to go from that.
                                  The cause, just getting older.
                                  Lost 1" height lately and I am already too short.
                                  I hope they let me back on a horse, no answer for that yet.
                                  If they do, wearing one of those vest may be a good idea.
                                  Not that I ride colts any more, but any horse may trip and fall.

                                  I feel sorry for those younger, that still have so much to do, having these problems, ugh.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I am so sorry! I was 22 when I fractured mine and they told me to expect to have issues on and off forever... I am just SUPER careful about what horses I get on now..it just isn't worth the risk anymore!

                                    When I fractured mine, the impact was on my butt, so a vest wouldn't have helped in that case. But I am ALL for using anything that will decrease my chances of any injury.

                                    So sorry to hear about your back Bluey! I highly recommend trying some of the mg12. My mom has begun to have the same back problems as you (not talking surgery yet!) and it has been helping with her pain and inflammation. It will be at your house 3 days after ordering and will provide relief after a few days of use. I would get the oil and balm. (apply oil first and balm right after 2-3 times a day). Or shoot the company an email and they may have a better suggestion!! Feel better!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by ladybugsbw View Post
                                      I am so sorry! I was 22 when I fractured mine and they told me to expect to have issues on and off forever... I am just SUPER careful about what horses I get on now..it just isn't worth the risk anymore!

                                      When I fractured mine, the impact was on my butt, so a vest wouldn't have helped in that case. But I am ALL for using anything that will decrease my chances of any injury.

                                      So sorry to hear about your back Bluey! I highly recommend trying some of the mg12. My mom has begun to have the same back problems as you (not talking surgery yet!) and it has been helping with her pain and inflammation. It will be at your house 3 days after ordering and will provide relief after a few days of use. I would get the oil and balm. (apply oil first and balm right after 2-3 times a day). Or shoot the company an email and they may have a better suggestion!! Feel better!
                                      Sorry to hear about your troubles, that is miserable.

                                      I think my crushed vertebrae happened some 35 years ago, when a horse bucked me off sky high and I broke my tail bone.
                                      That was so sore, the sore back didn't really bother me much.
                                      I will see about that supplement, may just be of help, thank you for suggesting it.

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