This is a question I've asked myself a lot recently and Trainer Z asked before my lesson. How did I go from riding 5 times a week to not being able to ride at all so quickly? In 2019 I was riding very regularly. Sitting trot, big bucks, all of it. My last show was fall of 2019 and I was riding Second Level complete with multi-day show theatrics from Theo. By February I was seeing a doctor because of my involuntary head movements. By spring I was out of the saddle and by summer, I had a diagnosis I didn't want. If this is a decade old injury, what the heck happened? Why did I have to stop riding?
Sitting the trot, NBD
There's two working theories after talking to my PCP, neurologist, and chiro. Both link to the summer of 2019 and my two ER visits.
I had that nasty bout of Lyme disease that sent me off to ER due to high fever and not being able to turn my head because my neck was in so much pain. They thought I had meningitis. In hindsight, my whole body was inflamed and it certainly set off the damage in my neck that I wasn't even aware of yet. I've had trouble in the past with my neck being stiff and sore but never enough to really register as a problem. Lyme certainly made me aware that neck pain SUCKS. Anytime I mention Lyme occurring just before symptoms start I get sighs from the professionals. Lyme is such a pain in the ass. It was treated promptly and I shouldn't be a chronic case. Shouldn't being the key word. It's not like they can test for it. It will forever be just a coincidence.
I also had that incident where I got clobbered by a 2x6 when Theo tore the fence apart at GMHA. No concussion but I took the hit across the back of my shoulder and my neck. I remember laying in that ditch while my body felt like it was rebooting. I also remember my neck and back hurting quite a bit afterward.
Either incident could have taken my neck from potential problem to actual problem. The two happening about a month apart? Yeah, that was not ideal. Of course my little head tic was assigned to my anxiety since no one ever saw me do it and it's not a typical symptom of nerve impingement. It wasn't until a doctor actually saw it and tested some of my neurological functions that they realized something else was going on.
Everything in the imaging is old, cold, and set so if the head clobber incident caused problems, they should be over. Lyme, on the other hand, can take a long time to settle down. Like years. It's only been in the last couple months that I've started to feel normal again. My involuntary head movements have stopped. After my ride on Saturday, I saw the chiro on Monday. She said everything felt good and my body was completely normal. Well, normal for me. Woohoo! I still have scoliosis and a twisted pelvis but that's normal. For me. Seriously, it's whacky sitting on Theo when he's all symmetrical and almost forcing me to ride him evenly.
Told you you're crooked, mom
Oh, remember my left shoulder that would just fail sometimes? The one that plagued me with Fiona when jumping and Theo would cause to fail? Guess what that is now attributed to? Impinged nerve. So glad I didn't let them talk me into rotator cuff surgery. Apparently my scoliosis is the reason I ride crooked and the reason my left arm is prone to problems. My arm has been consistently functional since I started getting regular adjustments. The lingering issues from my little neck flare up consist of occasional episodes of pain from my neck trying to stabilize itself and my left hand not being able to help me open candy wrappers. Lost some fine motor skills on that side. I dropped my left rein once during my lesson which is a nuisance.
Can I just get a new body? This one is defective.
But I'm starting to feel like my old self again. I have to stay on top of anti-inflammatories and use ice if I'm starting to get symptoms but it's all pretty manageable. The hubby still insists that I not jump or ride unsupervised but that seems reasonable considering my latest x-rays and the horse I have. I do have bone spurs and issues that would be a problem if I fell again. There's no shock absorption left in my neck. I know as well as any equestrian that falls are a matter of when, not if, but I can avoid courting disaster and can remove situations where I'll be moving at high speed toward an obstacle.
My next lesson is set for this Saturday since I feel fine after my first lesson. We're scheduling a whole 60 minutes this time but planning on lots of breaks. My legs were sore and tight after my first lesson. I forgot what a lazy ass my horse is. Since I don't seem to have completely lost my seat, I've been greenlighted for spurs. Thank goodness.