When I first tried to ride again some weeks back, I was left feeling disappointed. I’d ridden bareback, 10 minutes at a slow walk, and just didn’t feel too well after. With just a chiro, my back was hitting a plateau, so he agreed to refer me to a physical therapist for added help. I’ve seen this PT before, so after we had a thorough evaluation, we got to a few exercises. I hadn’t even known my legs were mildly tingling constantly until the exercise he had me do helped move my disk from putting pressure on my spinal cord. I instantly felt a lot more confident about being able to ride again.
Unfortunately, after looking at my MRI, he pointed out that I don’t just have 1 bulging disk – I have 3. Which doesn’t include the one in my neck. Like….oof. Not what I want to hear at all. Thankfully, the disk at L4/L5 is the only one actively causing my issues, but the other two are already starting to go. They’re not bulging yet, but the MRI clearly shows that they’re close to my spinal cord already. So all the exercises I do going forward I will have to do for the rest of my life. Not honestly that bad, but ADHD does not lend itself well to discipline, so it’s something I’ll have to really make myself do, not just when I’m not feeling well.
I did get to ride the other day tho, and was very relieved to find that it felt like it used to – my back felt stable, sitting in the saddle was like coming home, and Amber was bestest girl and walked so politely as I kept stock of my back. It was feeling so good that I even trotted, probably for way longer than I should have, but I just felt so good. Granted, I was on maybe a total of 15 minutes, and five of it was trotting, but you know what, I’m not even mad at myself. My disk and vertebrae felt fine themselves, just a lot of sore muscles that haven’t been used in a long time since I’ve been healing. I just need to keep it up and not do anything to muck my back up.
Which, I managed to do a dumb Sunday evening and very much proceeded to muck my back up. I’m a terrible patient. Someone please just slap me for my stupidity. Because all last week my back just hurt. Most of the issue was that week my dad took his annual flying trip with other people from their glider club, so it was left to my mom and I to muck stalls and dump the bucket – which our physical therapist has told us not to do. And boy, was my back angry at me for trying to muck. Then because it’s monsoon season and I can’t be a normal 31-yr-old, my back was just aching from the sudden influx of rain and wet weather, and by Sunday night I was just done. I used to pop my back before I injured it (and even occasionally after I injured it) because it relieved that ache and pressure and felt lots better.
And what did I do? I thought “well, I have a chiro appointment Monday and I am just so freaking done with how much it aches, so if I mess it up, the chiro will fix it” like the dumb idiot I am. So I popped it. Lots of relief from the ache. Tons better. And yet…. the pressure may have been gone but oooooo-boy it didn’t feel right. I did something when I popped it, and no bueno. Thankfully, the chiro on Monday and PT on Tuesday seemed to help, but it’s nowhere near how good it was feeling last week. I’m really worried now I negatively impacted it worse than I may have thought. I really want to smack myself. Just….why??
Ugh. My apologies for venting but I’m just so done with being hurt and being in continuous pain. The chiro and the PT are working well for me, but it’s money I have to spend, time I have to take out of work or anything else I like to do, anxiety when I get weird twinges at night sometimes before I go to sleep that make me worry my back will never be better. Plus, it’s been a year since we had to let Choco go (which is…. unfathomable to me), it’s been 9 months since my sister was killed (also extremely unfathomable to me, and I shy away from realizing it’s been so long), and a guy at work I’ve known for years passed away earlier that week, and it upset me a lot (his wife ultimately lost her battle with cancer 6 months earlier, so he was having a very hard time without her). So, I know why honestly, I’m just mad at myself for doing it and just having so many continuing health issues. Not that there’s much I can do about the health issues, but it still makes me frustrated that I can barely do anything because I’m being physically limited by my back and it’s just being so stubborn. Or maybe I’m the stubborn one. Who knows anymore.
But, I still look back on that one ride and feel a lot of positivity about it. Even when I was worried I did too much, my PT exercises helped a lot, and I just felt muscle sore the next day. So much better than the last time I tried to ride. Amber wasn’t feeling too up to it; her right front was hurting her a lot that day, which was probably better because it made me quit riding when I might have kept going and I shouldn’t have. Her arthritis has gotten pretty bad recently on that RF of hers, so I worry about her since she’s 12 now. I hope I can keep her comfortable for more years down the line.
I’ve set myself back though, and I don’t know how far. So hopefully after a bit I can get that feeling back and I can ride again with the same positive feeling as the last time. Not soon cause stupid me was stupid, but I’m trying to stay positive. Amber loves her retirement but she also loves our quick walkabouts, and I miss riding her.
I hope everyone else is remaining healthy and able to ride! I’m soaking up everyone’s adventures so I can ride vicariously through you guys!
Holy cow girlfriend that is a lot. You can tell me to shove it but if you don’t have a therapist yet maybe you should? There are a lot of online options now. That is a lot of loss and tragedy in a year and also your back. (And by therapist I mean head not body :)). Hugs to you and I am still so at a loss with the loss of your sister ;( So horrible (and Choco too but still). Take care of yourself. If you ever need to just chat/vent message me!! We can complain about our lives (my dad still is going strong, how i do not know but he pretty much is ruining our marriage soooo) UGH. Amber looks great btw!!
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No worries, I absolutely appreciate your concern. I do actually see a therapist (using Better Help currently, which works pretty well), and I’d seen them the day before. I talked to them about all of it, and I think that opened whatever floodgates there were and it has just not been good the past week (and it’s only Wednesday UGH). I will probably take you up on that offer to vent LOL. I am so sorry that you’re having difficulty with your dad putting all that strain on you and Mark! Yes, we’ll definitely commiserate together lol. And thank you! I’m glad at least Amber and Oscar are healthy with no issues. I’d be a pile on the floor if they were LOL.
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I too find it incredibly frustrating when I can’t ride regularly but having pain issues takes it to another level. I left a job at a therapeutic riding center years ago due to my developing arthritis in one of my feet. It was just too painful to do as much standing and walking as the job required. Not that foot pain compares to back pain, but just saying that I can perhaps commiserate with how having some kind of chronic pain can throw an unwelcome wrench in life’s plans. But I still enjoy my life with horses, even if it’s different from what I originally envisioned. I hope you can find the right combination of intervention/support so you can do likewise. Hang in there.
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Thank you! And no worries, chronic pain is still chronic pain – I don’t know what I’d do if it was my foot lol 😆 I’m hoping I can ride again more permanently. It’s just as you said, I have to find that right combo. I just have to heal first. It’s just been 5 months already so patience is wearing thin lol
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