Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Diagram of the vertebral column from Gray's Anatomy
If you're not familiar with the titular acronym, it is a military expression that essentially means:  "Not a good situation". 

My x-rays were not good.  Ironically, I have avoided seeing doctors for several years because they all said the same thing: "We can't fix you", "You need to stop riding/gardening/doing the things you love."  And this time was no different. 

Followers of this blog are likely aware that I fractured my L-5 vertebrae five years ago.  My x-rays showed that in the past few years the disc between L-5 and S-1 (os sacrum) has degenerated.  I expected that.  The degeneration has caused my lumbar (lower, L) spine to curve significantly to the right (scoliosis).  The scoliosis has caused my Th-9 vertebrae to twist and the disc between Th-8 and Th-9 to begin degenerating.  My upper thoracic (Th) spine has been compensating for the lumbar scoliosis by curving to the left, which is causing degeneration of my Th-3/Th-2 disc.  I was not expecting all that.  I have three discs degenerating: one in my lower back, one in the middle of my back and one in my neck.  That really stinks.

So, I can't be fixed.  The chiropractor thinks I can be made more comfortable, though.  We are instituting a plan of chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy.

What does this mean for my riding?  Not a damn thing.  I have gotten this far against the wishes of many doctors, and I'm not giving up now.


  1. Ugh, that does stink, I'm really sorry. SO many horse people I know have back issues, though, and are still going at it (and doing WELL) and you will too. Glad to hear you have a chiropractic plan in place. Take care~

  2. Sigh. Yuck. Still, it doesn't seem that "just quit" is good advice, either. If you did that, then you wouldn't be developing muscles and things would get worse at a faster rate.

    :-( Sorry for the bad news, but I'm glad you've already found a way to work with it.

  3. That stinks and I know it is painful to live with. I'm relatively certain that there are some great specialists in Manhattan that can probably take a look at what's going on and maybe give you some better options than do nothing and go to a chiropractor. I believe they can now replace discs if you were a candidate for that sort of surgery. Don't give up, now that you're armed with x-rays(mri's) you could check out a plan with some top specialists. Feel better.

  4. Oh! So sorry. But you just had a baby too. I bet that did not help your spine anyway.
    Good therapy and posture gymnastic (pilates yoga etc..) should keep you comfortable and sound. That is waht I am saying to myself. I have also been avoiding X-rays for many years ...

    Big Hugs. I am sure you will back in form soon with some TLC ^-^

  5. Nasty - sorry to hear that. It does sound like PT and chiro is the best thing - strong muscles and postural work will help keep everything from getting further out of whack. But Grey Horse had some good thoughts. . . .

    Keep on trucking!

  6. I agree about the chiropractic and PT. A lot can be done with the right kind of work.

    Sometimes, as you've noted, you just don't want to know. Wish the news had been better.

  7. So sorry to read this. You have an incredible spirit to have kept going after the break, and I'm sure you'll do as well as is pyysically possible with this. Chiropractors can do wonders.

  8. Wow that really sucks. I'm sorry it was bad news. Chiro and PT can do a lot of good though. I agree with the other suggestions too about Yoga/Pilates. I'm doing a routine right now that is a cross of the two and it helps immensely with my posture. :) Good luck!

  9. My L4 and L% have slipped and I have arthritis in my back. My back doctor told me, "You'll NEVER ride a horse again" after my fall. I haven't been back on a horse yet (2 1/2 years later), but I'm looking forward to this summer. I went through chiro and PT, but I'm NOT going to quit riding!

  10. I had surgery on the L5 disk at 26 years old because it had herniated so bad that my right leg wasn't functioning anymore. I tried PT, I tried a chiropractor but they didn't help me at all.

    Six years later I'm feeling fine. I need to keep my abs and back strong through lots of core exercises, but if I keep on top of it I have no issues. It might be a good idea for you to consult with a good neurologist though, I ended up needing emergency surgery after the chiropractor gave me an "adjustment" which put me in AGONY and couldn't move at all.

  11. Bummer Shannon. I think GHM is right - another opinion from a specialist might help with decision making. I hope you aren't in too much pain!

  12. That stinks and I'm so sorry to hear about your issues. My son has scoliosis and he's been encouraged to continue riding BMX. I know this doesn't help but...


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