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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.


    • #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


      • #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!


        • #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.


          • #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!


            • #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.


              • #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.


                • #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.


                  • #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!


                    • #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.


                      • #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