Fall from horse onto upper back; still have pain in my rhomboid and tingling in fingers

by Sara
(Wisconsin, USA)

Hi Dr,

I took a nasty fall from a galloping horse about two weeks ago. Thankfully, I managed to land on my upper back, rather than my head. Thankfulness aside, I had extreme pain and almost zero movement for the first week. My chiro adjusted me and used Kinesio tape to help dissipate the swelling, and it really did help things along. I am now at a point where my spine and neck are a little tender, but more than manageable, however I do still have a very sore left rhomboid(?) muscle (that runs along my scapula). I have full ROM and am able to lift and bear weight, but my arm and fingers do get tingly and numb throughout the day.

I am worried that I may have torn or injured the muscle, but is it possible that I just haven't waited long enough for the nerves to calm down in that specific area? I don't want to rush into a specialist office visit, if I need only be a bit more patient.

Thanks in advance for your time and thoughts.

Hello Sara,
Yes, I think you need to be more patient; it sounds like your chiropractor is doing a great job.

A fall like that is certainly going to leave it's mark; you can be well be pleased you are alive, and not a quadriplegic. I often say to patients that we chiropractors hate horse riding; not horses. They bring us a lot of work, and it's almost always difficult.

The tingling in your arm is of course of concern and if it too doesn't improve over the next month, xrays and perhaps a scan of your neck may be necessary. Rome wasn't built in a day and in the circumstances you can be well pleased from what you describe above.

You've had a serious injury; a quiet life is important for the next few weeks. Your chiropractor will advise you about the scans, if they are needed.

If you're concerned, print this out, and share your concerns with him.

Meantime, whilst it's fresh in your mind, think back to what caused the accident. Don't repeat it!

Good luck; let us know how you are getting on in a few weeks.

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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