How soon to ride after spinal surgery

(13 Posts)

Thanks for that horseymum. I rode again yesterday. We did some trotting. Luckily the instructor has mobility issues herself. My major problems are a lack of balance and lack of power in my left leg. She has similar problems so has been able to really help me. My back has been ok but my inner thighs have paid the price grin. Im back at work next week and i am feeling quite apprehensive. The riding and volunteering have helped me so much. I would be a real mess without it instead of the small, pretend mess i am at the mo smile

horseymum Mon 26-Nov-12 17:35:31

Hi, I teach a lady who has had a similar but not identical problem to you. She was 8/9 months before she rode but only because her horse was a bit much for her and it took her a while to think about coming to a therapeutic centre. She was very keen at first and wanted to trot straight away. I advised caution with the trotting but she wanted to try - she found it very uncomfortable so decided herself to stick with walking, however frustrating it seemed. We have found loads of things to do at walk that are still fun and challenging. She has had a bit of a relapse though and is not managing to ride at the moment but hopes to be back. Hang in there, I'm sure you will find the level that is right for you

Well I was at the yard today. I had a walk round on one of our RDA cobs. I can feel it in my stomach muscles but my back is ok. My balance was terrible so I couldnt have managed more than I did anyway. I enjoyed it and took it gently, just getting used to being in control again. I wont do it again for a couple of weeks at least. Let my back recover a bit. I probably did too much too soon anyway. Within a couple of weeks I was trying to walk for hours a day!!

Nice hot bath and some wine tonight, or at least a brew.
Thanks for all your advice. I took it a lot more slowly than I maybe would have done and it has made me realise just how much my body has changed and how much it needs building up before I can be back to normal smile

Buildabetterworld Mon 12-Nov-12 13:52:48

I was told 3 months after I broke my back (I didn't have any corrective surgery, just a spinal brace). My friend was told 6 months after she broke hers (she had surgery to put screws in). We were both told not to fall off! I would listen to the ortho surgeon, they are the experts in their field and should know what they are talking about and have seen similar cases. Pain is not necessarily the only indication that things are wrong and you need to make sure that your muscles can support your spine and muscles can take a very long time to recover. You don't want to end up doing any serious damage by doing too much too soon, you have the rest of our life to ride but only one back!

Perhaps you could find a sports physiotherapist who has an idea of what's involved who will be able to assess and advise you. I've just been referred by my osteopath to one for treatment after her efforts over the last 4 months have produced no long term improvement. You need someone who knows about what riding entails.

goralka Sat 10-Nov-12 23:24:23

well honestly if you are doing normal (ish) yard work a gentle ride would be OK.....you will know yourself if it's a strain or not, and how far to push things.

Thanks pixel. I was quite shocked by the surgeon around the time of the surgery. He said I would be up and about in a day and back to normal in a fortnight. I already have massively high expectations of myself and this made it worse. He was shocked that I had lost 2 stone in the month prior to the surgery as he said back patients often put on weight. I think he was so worried I would use it as an excuse to sit on my bum that he went too far. He was very shocked at how far I have pushed myself and maybe thats why he was being so cautious the other day, trying to cancel out some of the damage he had done!!!

I spent the first five weeks beating myself up as I was finding it hard to walk. Ive been so proud of how much I have managed to do at the yard. I might give it another couple of weeks and try then. If I'm fit to go back to work in my eyes I'm fit to do what I want so I might wait till then!!

Pixel Sat 10-Nov-12 18:39:54

Er, that sounded a bit like "get out there and get on a horse at once", it wasn't meant to. I actually think you should wait months a good while yet as 8 weeks doesn't seem very long at all, but I am impressed by how much you are doing already smile.

Pixel Sat 10-Nov-12 18:36:00

I've no idea in your particular case but I remember when my friend broke her back and had surgery to fuse part of it together she was told not to get pregnant for two years as her back wouldn't be strong enough before then. Having said that she 'accidentally' got pregnant in less than a year and did cope (and now does a very physical job) so I think the doctors do err on the side of caution when they give advice about such things. I suppose you will only know how riding will affect you once you've tried it. If the hard work you are doing now isn't actually making anything worse you are doing well I think. Personally I find mucking out etc makes my back ache worse than a bit of gentle riding.

Mine is definitely not as serious as your friends case but maybe I am expecting too much too soon. Think I might leave it another month and then start with some walking as suggested. It does sound as though the common sense approach is to wait. Was just sick of being confused by doctors and wanted some opinions
Thanks for the help, I'm feeling reassured smile

DownTheRabidHole Sat 10-Nov-12 13:04:58

Not as serious as yours, but I was told 6 months.

A friend had her broken neck (10 years in a chair) repaired and was told 2 years.

goralka Sat 10-Nov-12 13:03:53

perhaps you could start slowly 3 months after surgery,but just walk?

I am an MN regular but have NC as I was bored of my old name grin

I had spinal surgery 8weeks ago after almost 18 months of severe pain that reduced my life to an existence. I had a lumbar discectomy and an implant fitted to separate the vertebrae. I have not been able to ride since the pain became very severe 18 months ago.

I volunteer for the RDA and have been able to go back to volunteering for the last 3 weeks. I have been able to muck out, groom, tack up and lead. I have not had serious discomfort from any of this. One of my surgeons went slightly over the top initially trying to keep me exercising by saying that I 'will be playing rugby 2 weeks after the surgery'. I know now this is total nonsense but they seemed to downplay it so much. I was beating myself up from week 2 for being hardly able to walk!!!

I saw the other surgeon several days ago who suddenly became massively cautious. He was advising me against lots of things he had been encouraging me to do since the day of the surgery!! He said walking would be fine but was concerned about trotting, although he said he knew nothing about horses and wasn't aware that you rise to a trot, not just sit there like a bag of spuds grin

To make matters worse I then saw my work doctor who also thinks he is being over cautious and gave me different advice again. Although the work doc may just want me back to work as my surgeon suggested I may need more time off work and the work doctor went mad and said he would be putting in his report that I will be fit in 3 weeks regardless of what he said!!

I have a hugely physical job and after 18 months I need to do a lot of work on my fitness before I can go back full strength. I did intend to start riding next week to improve my core fitness. I only intended to start off walking and only every couple of weeks or so. I am sensible and have no wish to hurt myself but I am doing a lot of physical work at the moment and I am coping fine. I get very tired so stamina is an issue but painwise I manage it well. I will be riding an RDA horse, in an indoor arena with company.

I just wondered if anyone else has had a similar op and got back to riding or anyone who might be able to offer a bit of advice of how best to go about it. Is a gentle walk going to do me any more harm than mucking out 5 stalls alone, which I do several times a week? I feel that I can manage it but all the conflicting advice has totally baffled me!! Im not going to be out doing cross country (ever again probably sad ) but I need to improve my fitness so eventually Im going to end up doing something my back doesn't like. The surgeon told me to avoid running for a few weeks which I understand as it is high impact. The work doctor did make the point that I will never be pain free so I do things with some discomfort or I don't do them.

Anyway. Is 8 weeks too soon? Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can ride without hurting myself?

Sorry for the huge ramble

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now