Riding with Scoliosis - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-04-2012, 03:45 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: St. Louis, Mo
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Exclamation Riding with Scoliosis

Okay, so I'm 15 and just started riding in febuary with a lesson a week.(I ride english) And about when I was 14 I found out I had scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and i think my curves are about 26, 13, and 7. Before I never had much pain, but since I started riding it seems like my back is hurting more especially my shoulder blade that is really messed up because it got messed up from the curve. I was wondering if anyone else rides with scoliosis and if it has caused an increase in pain. Also, at my last lesson when I was cantering I noticed that it made my back hurt. I don't know if the pain is from the riding or something else. I know I havent been riding long, but I seem to have extra trouble with balance and my posture, but I dont know if that is from my back or just because I am a beginner. If there is anyone else out there who rides with scoliosis it would be awesome if you could give me your opinion on my situation and if you have ever had any problems with riding and your back.

Last edited by amanda84; 06-04-2012 at 03:51 AM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 06-04-2012, 05:26 AM
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You're not the only one!!
Me and one of my cousins has it too. My cousin is worse than me. When she was riding and competing all the time doctors wanted to stick a rod to her spine.
I'm fortunate that I'm not that bad. Mine is concentrated to my lower back. I'm at the stage now where after 20 years in the saddle, I need to do something about it. Numerous falls and life in general has caught up to me so I'm taking advice from a friend and going and getting a deep tissue massage, Chinese muscle manipulation and acupuncture in a couple days.

Since you're having trouble with your balance and posture, try yoga. When I was doing it every day it really helped my riding improve. I was a lot stronger in my core as well. I need to stop being lazy and get back in to it.

I'm hoping that this session on Thursday will help alleviate the pain. I just need to make sure I go back regularly.
Maybe you could consult your doctor and see what they think. There are a lot of people that use support bandages when they ride so that could also be an option for you.
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-06-2012, 07:12 AM
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One of my daughters has scoliosis and rides. For her, the key to minimize discomfort for riding and all of life has been keeping her core muscles strong. Her pediatricians' wife was a physical therapist. That woman was more help than anyone. She had additional training in skeletal alignment. Sort of a cross between a chiropractor and a PT.

We've met others who had similar problems and pain issues and they found good results from using a chiropractors who were conservative in their promises and treatment and willing to work with PTs also.

I hope you find something that works for you.
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-06-2012, 07:50 AM
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I have it pretty severely. I would not say that riding causes me any more discomfort than any other activity, though. As boots said, the key really is having a strong core. When my core is strong and supportive, my back really doesn't give me any problems.

Something that you'll want to keep an eye on, also, is how level your hips are and how well you're able to keep even weight in your seat bones. That is a constant challenge for me, as my scoliosis causes my right hip to be half an inch lower than my left, leading to a natural tendency to put more weight on my right seat bone.
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-07-2012, 05:26 AM
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So I had acupuncture, muscle manipulation and deep tissue massage today and I already feel so much better. I was told that I was so out of whack that I was basically wearing my left shoulder as an earring!
I was having a bit of a chat to him and he said that he sees a lot of horse riders and they're usually messed up like I was, so it might be worth it for you to check it out :)
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-07-2012, 08:46 AM
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When I was 16 I was having bad back pain and sitting at a school desk was very painful. Finally my mom hauled me off to the chiropractor. After x rays he discovered that I had mild scoliosis. My chiropractor had told me that PROPER riding could be beneficial as it encourages good posture and strengthens muscles. Also I was told to very aware of my posture all the time. I never realized that I had a tendancy to "cock a hip" when standing. That was because it was most comfortable with the curvature. 18 years later, I still catch myself wanted to cock that hip but I force my self to cock the other or stand straight.

I have found that chiropractic care, deep tissue massage and Yoga to be beneficial as said above.

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post #7 of 9 Old 06-07-2012, 08:56 AM
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I agree. Have a bit myself- mainly from not looking after myself after a few horrific falls.
However, the key is to maintain core strength and suppleness. Regular chiropractic care and physiotherapy should help. Can't guarantee that riding will be pain free, but it should make things easier. Your physio might be able to give you some proprioceptive exercises as well to help with your balance.
If you need further encouragement/ inspiration check out Para Equestrian riders. I used to Chef for the Irish Para Equestrian Team and many of the riders had scoliosis as well as a litany of other 'disabilities'. But that was no hinderance to them. Care for yourself and enjoy.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-07-2012, 09:05 AM
Join Date: May 2012
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For her, the key to minimize discomfort for riding and all of life has been keeping her core muscles strong.
X2 my wife is a pesonal trainer with a bad back. The key to living with is keep your core strong. Do at lease 15 minutes of back and ab work every day. If you couple that with deep tissue massage if will most likely change your life. Your young so if you start doing it now you will reep the rewards for years to come.
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-07-2012, 01:20 PM
Join Date: May 2012
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I have scoliosis, but I only get back pain if I've been on my horse for longer than the average ride (usually 1 hour - 1 hour and a 1/2). I recently went to a gaming show and my back was killing me afterwards, for how much time I spent in the saddle. :/
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