Unlimited access >

How did you get back riding after a compressed disk?

I got bucked off around easter and had to take a month off due to a shoulder and hip injury. A month later when I got back on I did a little w/t/c and a sneaky vertical and everything was a-ok. I rode for maybe 15 min after my coach warmed my horse up. Second ride back two days later, I w/t/c’ed but did more or of a schooling ride with lots of transitions. Woke up the next morning absolutely crippled and had to go to the ER as I could not walk. Had a compressed disk. 3 months later and lots of physio I feel much better, walking is fine and I don’t feel pain all the time. It’s more of a tiredness if I feel anything. Went for a two hour walk on the weekend and was fine.

How do I start riding again? I figure I’ll start with just walking, then rush home, ice my back, slap on the tens machine and head to physio the next day! With physio I have a good 30 min of exercises and stretches to do. Will do them before and after I ride. I’m just not sure how slow to go so that I don’t re-injure anything. What have you done to get back into riding?

Honestly, you just have to see how your back is.

I had surgery for a compressed disc last year then reherniated it four weeks after surgery. It probably took another four months to correct that disc (trying to avoid another surgery). When I started riding again, I just felt it out. I did w/t/c the first day, but I had to be really cognizant of what was bothering my back. Before my surgery, it was walking that bothered it, but post-surgery it was cantering right. So each day it was just seeing what would work. As you build up muscle again, it becomes easier.

My suggestion is if you can manage it - do some lower back/hip stretching yoga some point before hand and the day after. It’ll help keep you from locking up.

1 Like

I did spinal decompressions with a machine. It gave me huge amounts of relief, even though my discs had both burst and were compressing my sciatic nerve root.

Now I use a Teeter-Totter inversion table each day with the addition of an inversion belt to pull from my hips rather than my ankles.

Eeek! That sounds extremely painful!

Physio and core strength training have really helped and I have days when I have no pain. I just have general stiffness now especially first thing in the morning. I have ridden again and plan to do light riding for the next month. So far riding has not caused me any pain.


Core strength is key. I work out 7 days per week, doing TRX, weights, Pilates reformer and Feldenkrais. But the decompression was what allowed me to avoid surgery. I was riding lightly within 2 months and competing at 4th level a year later.

1 Like