I am sorry that I have not posted in a week but I really didn’t think I had anything exciting to post. I have been riding but very lightly because of my back and then it hit me I should post about that! For those of you who read my very first post I listed a few things that I have to fight against to ride and one of them is that my body is broken. Lol. Well fractured is a more accurate wording.
Last September was my first incident. I started riding Tango but I was still showing Ace. Everything was great until the MHJA finals. My lower back right in the center started to hurt when I bent over but it was when I was cantering T when it was like someone punched me HARD! I fell over his neck and thankfully he was a great boy and just stopped. I dismounted, took some motrin, and went home. The next day I could not stand up straight but yet I couldn’t bend over to put socks on either.
I am very lucky because my cousin’s fiancé is neurosurgeon, M. I called my cousin, A, and she told me to go to the ER and when he was out of surgery he would come see me. He felt around and talked about how I was bad and didn’t drink enough PowerAide while at a show. He said it was very likely that I strained my muscles and didn’t have enough electrolytes for the amount of work I did at the show. He gave me some muscle relaxers and told me to take it easy. I did and after about a week I was back to normal.
Move a few months ahead. Christmas Eve morning I got a frantic call from my sister that I had to come over because she hadn’t wrapped any presents yet! Lol. I bent over to grab my favorite yoga pants and I felt pain like I have never felt! I hit the floor and literally could not move any of my lower half of my body without sever pain. It was so bad I had to pull on furniture to move me across the floor to reach my phone. I called my cousin and she told me to get into the ER immediately and that M was going to call an MRI team in and he would meet me there. Now who do you call when you are on the floor and have no pants on especially on Christmas Eve??? Your most reliable and best friend of course! Casey dropped everything and came over. Ok mushy time, I am so grateful for her. She not only took me to the hospital but she stayed even though she was supposed to race her horses that day. She refused to leave until she knew my cousin could take me home. Ok on to diagnosis.
I wish I had my MRI report so I could detail it all out but the worst of it is that my 4th and 5th lower lumbar vertebra are fractured and because of that I had 2 budging discs and degenerative disc disease. The interesting part is that some of the fractures were so old that they were remodeled but there were some new ones as well. M told me that at some point I had to have had an accident that crushed my 2 vertebra together causing the fractures. He said that he never knew anyone who didn’t know the exact moment that it happened because it is so painful. Well….. I am pretty sure I do know when it happened. When I was 12 I had a horse rear so high at a show that he flipped over backwards on me. We both landed on the front of an SUV. My parents were never (and still aren’t) fans of me riding so they wanted me to call it quits then so there was no way I was going to admit that I was in so much pain back then.
Back to present day. Due to the compression everything in my back was angry and inflamed which was pushing my discs out of place plus I have arthritis up most of my spine. M discussed the treatment options with me and while he said surgery is in my future. The surgery will fuse my vertebra together which will stabilize them but it will lower my mobility. While that is going to have to happen at some point he suggested that we try a non-surgical option first. We decided to do a series of intra spinal injections of steroids. They would feed a needle up my spinal column and the steroids would ease the inflammation allowing my bones and discs to move back to their correct position. Oh and no riding for at least 2 months. M wanted more but as family members we negotiated. Lol
The injections were an interesting experience. Definitely an awkward experience and super crazy that you feel the liquid being injected and your bones moving! I had 3 of them over 3 weeks. I started to get some pain relief after the 2nd injection and was nearly 100% after the 3rd. I still have issues sitting too long since it compresses my spine but with a standing desk at work my back has really been great until last week.
Friday before the show I had a weird incident where my legs just gave out and I fell to my knees on pavement and then I had the show on Saturday. I am not sure if it is one of those things over the other or the combination but I am back to constant pain. Sunday I was back to barely being able to get my socks on. I know that my weight does not help but both the oral and injected steroids caused me to gain quite a bit. I will admit that I am pretty nervous that this pain is going to take over my life again. I really do not want to give up on riding but I also want to be able to wear socks!
Looking back on all of this the back pain didn’t start until I started riding Tango. I am hoping the silver lining of him being up for sale is that I can look for a horse who may be a smoother ride. My trainer D wants me to find a flatter jumper because T is round and actually snaps over fences.
Anyone else have to deal with chronic pain?