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Thread: Sciatica/ back problems and riding

  1. #11

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    Really pleased CM Pilates is supposed to be great for core stability and strength in back muscles. Bizarrely after riding more lately my back muscles seem the strongest yet, I keep meaning to try pilates and have 2 books sat untouched
    If I don't read them soon I will send them to you

    I sit down in a chair for work all day too, make sure you get up and walk round at regular intervals, my special chair helps but if you sit continuously for long periods you will be much stiffer than if can get up regularly. I even stand up for some calls lol

  2. #12

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    I too have a bad bak - got rolled on after jumping a large XC fence 17 years ago now, and consequently have 2 crumbling discs among other things putting constant pressure on the sciatic nerve. Depending on what I do depends on levels of pain involved. I generally can't canter in the seat - have to stay up out of saddle. Having said that I am trying to play polocrosse atm and have to dose myself up for 2 days before and after on maximum amount painkillers - without making myself sick as I am intolerant to most of them. I have been using the duro trans patch painkillers which are great but after 2 days i am heaving my guts up (allergic to main ingredient but they take the worst of the spasms off for a couple of days boost if really desperate) Over the years I have had steroid / cortisone injections into the spine, manipulation under general anaesthetic, threatened with surgery, physio, tried pilates but made it SO much worse after sessions. Somedays even swimming hurts it quite badly. The best things and combinations I have found are TENS machine (heated version) and accupuncture and getting the right painkiller / anti inflamatory mixture too from the quacks.

    I know now how far I can push my particular back probs and also know when NOT to ride. Only rode 3 times from October till March - boys enjoyed the rest !!!!! I hated it though Unfortunately it is something you will get used to and learn to adapt / adjust how you ride and your position may suffer a bit (mine has at times). I know I will never take up dressage or take any serious lessons any more

    Good luck and have fun on your holidays

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    On the Farm, Near the Zoo
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    6,885

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    Really interesting thread - my OH has just had an MRI scan and he has a mild prolapsed disc and nerve root irritation. I am going to show him this thread as there are some good ideas - that banana chair looks awesome - as he currently cannot ride

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    5,274

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    If you are feeling rich and have room, I can thoroughly recommend a banana chair (butterfly recliner) - http://www.thebananachaircompany.co.uk/2.html
    Worth every penny and helps a great deal.
    This chair was the making of my back, I sat in every night for 18 years, it wore out eventually, I sent it off to be recovered and parcel force broke it! It's useable in the first 3 settings but don't trust it going upside down.

    Upside down is divine as it puts you in a kind of traction

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    London
    Posts
    466

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    I agree with Wally.

    I had/have a bad back and was told by the consultant not to ride. After about ten years, I decided to try riding. Some things about riding make my back better, but others make it worse.
    Riding over all helps my back, as Wally says - but all in moderation.

    Too much sitting - whether in walk or long hard canters is not good. So I avoid them on two consecutive days. Rising trot helps my back - as do Sprenger stirrups on long hacks .
    Sitting a wide horse is worse for my back.
    A riding holiday where saddle time is optional say 4 hours a day riding Western in a school on a 1st class saddle did me no harm. But I have avoided hacking holidays where you are long hours in the saddle day after day, and have no choice but to keep going.

    A riding holiday when your back is particularly bad does not seem very well advised.
    My OH has never had back problems but he says that a three hour ride we did in Estes Park USA was really uncomfortable, particularly when the Wrangler ordered trot. He just wanted to get off. Another terrible ride he says wasanother Western trail ride we went in the New Forest. The trouble with holiday trail rides is that you have no choice about anything, you have to take the horse and saddle you are given and just get on with it.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    That is a HUGE problem, being given a bad saddle on a horse who is doing his best is never a good compromise for a bad back. A good saddle on a horse who is happy is like a good chair for a bad back. Design and fit for purpose is the key....a lot of poor horses are not fit for purpose.

  7. #17

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    i have chronic back problems, will give you a bit of history first,

    3 and half years ago so december 06 i was teaching a youngster to jump and came off and had to go to hospital as knocked myself unconcious and damaged a lot of muscles/tendons/ligaments in my back. recovered okish and about a month later got back in the saddle. back wasnt quite right but i just got on with it tbh. went to physio once and didnt bother to follow up.

    then about a year and a half ago think it was november 08 i had 2 rotational falls in the space of a month out hunting. first fall we jumped a hedge but my mare ended up going head over heels on landing and came down on top of me, hurting my back badly. then about 3 weeks later we were cantering along out hunting and she found the only rabbit hole about and went head over heels on me, nothing that could be done about it was grass was fairly long and it was well hidden. so again she came down on me and once again i had a very lucky escape. back got a lot stiffer and sorer after these 2 falls but again i just got on with it. went to physio once and didnt bother to follow up.

    then in january 09 and i had a fall xc where i smashed my back against a wooden oxer which hurt a hell of a lot there is a pic somewhere actually. thought i was just bruised and didnt bother with a hospital trip as again just got on with it. about a month later i found a large golf ball size lump to the right of my spine at the bottom of my back. pretty soon after i start to get stabbing pains intermittently and get evry stiff and sore and cant move. june 09 i finally go to the doctors about it and get referred to a spinal surgeon. have mris and xrays and get told they cannot find anything structurally wrong but soemthing is definately not right. at this point i am in tears every couple of days due to the pain so get put on diclofenac. start serious physio in august 09

    also had some neural tests done which showed abnormalities and so get referred to a neurologist in sept 09 . she gets my brain and neck mri'd as thinks i may have damaged my cerebellum. cannot find anything hugely wrong so get sent to neurospinal surgeon. november 09 i have a serious fall out hunting where they thought i was paralaysed and had broken my back and neck. have to wait 2 hours for ambulance as needed specialist equipment. in lots of pain after this though luckily no breaks but had lots of xrays done at this point again.

    i then see a neurophysiologist and end up having emg and nerve conduction tests in january 10. at this point get referred to rheumatologist and get blood tests and more mri's done. nothing major shows up except the bloods showing i am more genetially disposed to arthritis and some other spinal problems that i cannot remember the names of. march 10 get referred to osteopath. also at this point see my gp again and she prescribes me medication for nerve pain to see if that will help slightly.

    end of march i see neurospinal surgeon who says he is struggling to find whats wrong with me and cannot understand how i am in so much pain. at this point the physio has found my pelvis has rotated and lifted leaving me wonky and with a painful right hip. she straightens it out every time she sees me yet it twists back again within a week. am still in lots of pain here. get referred to the spinal hospital in london and see supposedly the best specialist in the country. he examines me and all my previous tests and says again he thinks there is something very wrong but no idea what and we have to hope i will grow out of it, and now is just a matter of controlling the pain.

    its now the end of may 10, the osteo says he will no longer see me as does not know what to do to help. i have been having physio for 9 months and am on medication to try and help. last night i was on a bouncy castle and jumped and slipped and managed to fold myself backwards, so my feet touched the back of my head and something cracked loudly. currently am in a lot of pain form that and cannot bend backwards at all without screaming and can hardly move my spine except having it dead straight. i will make an emergency appointment with my gp on tuesday (stupid bank holiday) and see what is the way forwards now. i am still in a lot of pain and apparently a medical mystery...

    i tried not riding for a month and it did not help one bit. i found the only time i was not in pain at all is when i am riding. one of the doctors i saw said he would not see me again until i stopped riding for 6 months. i disagreed as did luckily the next 2 doctors i saw. i am currently riding only about twice a week as i do struggle a bit with it and also do to time and other commitments. i have probably missed rather a lot out in the history of my back problems it got rather long sorry.

    i hope you figure out whether riding helps you or not and hope you are not too sore.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Cambridgeshire
    Posts
    106

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    Thank you all so much for your stories and your replies - I think this thread will prove to be useful for lots of other people too.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    North Lanarkshire
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    I suffered from sciatica quite badly when I was pregnant with my son and I literally couldnt walk some days - it bothered me on and off for years until I started riding again. My doctor basically said it would either cure me or make me worse - I havent had an attack in about 7 years since I started riding regularly.

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