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Lunabelle 08-15-2013 03:55 PM

Can you ride after spinal fusion surgery?
I am going to have spinal fusion in the lumbar area L4 and L5 this coming Monday. I have two horses, and I am really bummed out about not riding. Has anyone out there have or had similar surgeries and have been able to continue to ride?

MissingStar 08-15-2013 04:14 PM

I had spinal fusion from the base of my spine right up to between my shoulder blades and I ride! Since I can no longer bend at the waist I can't mount tall horses from the ground and I no longer jump cross country (to reduce the risk of a bad fall). Other than that I pretty much carried on where I left off after a suitable period of recovery. Wishing you all the best for your surgery.

texasgal 08-15-2013 04:15 PM

I do. I had my L4-L5 fusion done in the 80's .. and was back on a horse in 4 months. Riding in less than a year.

Technology is so much better these days, I would say that if you do it right, you should be able to ride for years to come.

and welcome to the forum..

Lunabelle 09-02-2013 02:50 PM

Thank you MissingStar and TexasGal for your replies. I had my surgery eight days ago and am getting depressed. I guess a lot of it is cabin fever. Haven't
seen my horses all this time. What was the reason for your fusion?

Thank you for the encouragement. Do you hurt after you ride?

texasgal 09-02-2013 03:24 PM

Hey girl! glad it is behind you. I had Sponylolesthesis ..and advanced to stage 4-5 at 17 years. I didn't wear my brace like I should have afterwards. I do have stiffness after I ride and after being on my feet all day, or if I do a lot of lifting. But I'm 50 and still doing all of the above. I've also taken a few falls from horse and had a low speed wreck on the motorcycle.

It. does. get. better.

Cabin fever sucks .. and I did it before the internet!

Obey your Drs .. and keep in touch!


Lunabelle 09-02-2013 06:31 PM

Hi Texas Gal,

Thanks for responding. I also have spondylothesis but only grade 1. However, I had right leg nerve pain so decided to have surgery after epidurals and such. Now I'm wondering if I made the right decision, but what's been done is done. My right leg pain is gone but having some burning sensation in my foot.
Did you say you we're 17 when you had surgery or had pain for 17 years?

I just turned 60 and was pretty active, I have rheumatoid arthritis also. I sure hope it does get better. Again, thanks for your encouragement.

My name is Debbie.

texasgal 09-02-2013 08:21 PM

Well, Debbie, we have a lot in common!

I was 17 when I had the surgery. I'm sure the technology is much better now.

I had right leg pain also and some numbness afterwards. I think your body needs time to adjust and nerves to settle and inflamation to subside. You'll ride again. Give your body time.

Lunabelle 09-02-2013 09:15 PM

Thanks TexasGal, we do have a lot in common. I hear so many say that they have to have another fusion after having one because of the other vertebrae having to work harder. But it looks like you have been doing fine. So happy for you that it worked out for you.

QOS 09-03-2013 01:18 AM

I didn't have a fusion but I had a laminectomy on thoracic 9, 10 and 11 on April 15. I was released to ride July 1st at a walk and to take it easy. I started riding and I did do some trotting and cantering 2 weeks ago. I haven't rode longer than 7.4 miles at one time but am slowly building up to riding more. Best of luck and be patient. I know how hard it is. I want to ride and spend time with my horse - can't wait to be able to ride solo again.

MissingStar 09-03-2013 02:10 AM

Hi Lunabelle! Glad to hear your surgery is behind you - I hope that you have a textbook recovery (although they never tell you about the "cabin fever"!).

In answer to your question, I developed spinal scoliosis when I was 17. Despite conservative treatment I started losing feeling in my legs. I had to have extensive fusion, otherwise I would have faced eventual paralysis.

Like Texasgal, I had my surgery in the 1980's. I have had a lot of pain-free riding years since then. I do ache a little these days, but that is muscle-based rather than a spinal issue. I recommend yoga or pilates, once your Dr gives you the all clear, to help maintain core strength.

Wishing you all the best for the future.

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