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Back pain and horse riding

11:51 AM 12-19-2012
I am currently writing articles re horse riders and associated back pain suffered due to riding.
I would appreciate your experiences, adding, for example,if the pain was there before you started riding, how riding exacerbates it, and treatments you use for the pain.
The pain could be lower back pain, mid back pain or / and neck symptoms.
Thank you very much.
Dr Les Bailey
Dr Les Bailey phd, DO, Acopm, Apta
12:58 PM 12-19-2012
Riding correctly helps reduce my back pain. I was in a car accident 3 years ago and couldn't ride until almost 2 years later. I have 3 herniated discs in my lower back along with a separation in my spine about midway. I rode for 10 years prior to the accident and they believe the only reason my back didn't break was due to the strong muscles around my spine which came from riding.

I had extensive pain in my back up until I took up riding again. It has reduced my pain to very rare now. It helped strengthen my inner core muscles better than any physical therapy.

So while this is the opposite info you wanted, I had to chip in since riding is how I get pain relief.
01:05 PM 12-19-2012
Actually, thats the kind of news I like.
Glad you found the relief by your hobby rather than treatment.
All the very best to you.
Dr Les Bailey
02:31 PM 12-19-2012
I ended up with compression fractures at T6 and T8 in 2009 from a horseback riding accident. (Not my fault nor the horse's fault...just a freak accident)

I was told by my doctor that I could not ride again until I was pain free. I waited 4 months and decided I was never going to be pain free and started riding again.

Immediately, the pain began to subside. I attribute it to having good posture while in the saddle, being totally relaxed, and also that riding relieves the tension and stress which seems to always settle into the area of my injury.( between the shoulder blades)

The pain returns if a week or so goes by without riding. I am never in pain while I ride. It is my therapy.
02:45 PM 12-19-2012
I am 65 and have been on a horse since I was two.

My penchant for re-schooling Widowmakers, for many years, cost me dearly as I now have Grade III Spondylolisthesis.

I started riding Tennessee Walkers 22+ years ago in order to keep riding - and I was told by PT's at that point to stop riding because one wrong fall could put me in a wheel chair permanently - lol I know it's not funny but gaited horses did buy me 20-some more years of trail riding:)

I am no longer able to ride 4 - 6 hours daily but can still take an occasional sissy hack down to the end of my road and back; about 4 miles roundtrip:(

I will not have back surgery so rely on Excedrin Extra Strength and prescription Lidoderm patches. I have been told by both PT's and chiros to "keep on keepin' on" at the barn so I don't lose muscle mass, as that is about all that is left back there. I still muck stalls daily and only gave up trimming everyone's hooves two months ago.

Having a high tolerance for pain also helps:) I think most died-in-the-wool riders acquire high levels of pain tolerance because we don't want to give up riding until that proverbial "last dog is hung" :)
02:55 PM 12-19-2012
At 42 I just started riding lessons this year. I was hesitant because of my lower back issues. At the recommendation of a friend, I took up english lessons as it definitely strengthens my core, which is exactly what physical therapists and doctors have said would help my case. My back has actually not gone out since I started riding, and I haven't experienced any soreness or pain after riding.
It is also motivating me to get into better shape and work on my flexibility and stretching. I want to become a better rider and I have tons of fun doing it!
03:48 PM 12-19-2012
I am finding your comments VERY useful for my article.
Thank you all so much.
Dr Les Bailey
03:42 AM 12-20-2012
Interesting post! I have always had minor back issues but over the last 6 months have developed lower back pain which has been quite debilitating. I think the main culprit is mucking out and bending over to pick up the dogs stick to throw, have gotten to the point where I have to squat down and muck out with my hands (with gloves on!) to take the strain off my back. Lots of stretching has helped and while it can be painful when I ride it really makes me focus on my posture and usually it feels better the day after a ride. Went to a chiropractor and its actually due to having very tight thigh/butt muscles :wink: so when I bend over I overstretch my back to compensate, quite interesting to learn how muscles can affect others.
My wheat bag is my best friend, I use it almost all day at work while sitting at my desk - the constant heat works wonders.
04:01 AM 12-20-2012
Its amazing how heat can be useful for muscle pain, yet it is classed as somewhat old fashioned in the physical therapies field.
I use infra red lamps in my clinic which my patients find useful, especially pre manipulation or in conditions where weather is an exacerbating factor.
You could get your own one quite cheaply from ebay, and as you find heat is a useful adjunct, this would be a good investment.
Dr Les Bailey
05:06 AM 12-20-2012
I have a back that "goes" every now and then and means a week of extreme pain and walking bent over. Sadly when my back is fine I forget to take specal care (I naturally enjoy being active) and this time moving some gravel in a wheel barrow has led to me being in pain again and slightly lower in the back than usual. After a week I did try a gentle hack but felt it still wasn't right yet so I'm not riding at the moment. I do believe that core stability strength is the way to go to protect my back and I think my Mary Wanless style Ride With your Mind lessons help (as they concentrate on core strength).

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