Lower back pain - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 07-04-2020, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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Lower back pain

I've been having some lower back pain. I think it's light muscle strain. It gets sort of twingy, especially if I'm doing something and then straighten up. For instance, when I straighten up after picking hooves, it twinges pretty badly. If I'm just walking or sitting around, it is just slightly sore.

I only ride twice a week as it is, so I don't really want to take any time off, but should I? Right now, I'm just taking an ibuprofen and riding. I think that if I keep doing this, it will take longer to heal, but it probably won't get any worse. Thoughts?
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post #2 of 15 Old 07-04-2020, 08:40 AM
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Subbing - Iím in the same predicament. Iíve noticed that vacuuming at home makes it much worse.
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post #3 of 15 Old 07-04-2020, 08:50 AM
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It all depends...

In general, tired or strained back muscles can spasm, and movement is best so they don't tighten up and spasm worse.

Better than taking Ibuprofen would be to do a lot of stretching exercises.

Whether riding is good or not depends on whether the riding is causing the pain. For example, you could be pulling back muscles by getting "stuck" in the saddle and not following the horse. But a common reason for riders to have lower back pain is not from an actual injury, but because riding tightens the muscles that squeeze the legs inward, and if we don't compensate by stretching those muscles and/or strengthening the muscles that pull the legs outward, it can create muscle imbalances and pain. Often low back pain is caused by tightened muscles pressing on the sciatic nerve which runs under the gluteals in the butt.


Another reason riders can have low back pain is from not using good body mechanics when using rakes, lifting manure, saddles and water buckets. It always amazes me to see people carrying water buckets held far away from their core. They should be lifted and carried close to the body, either on one side or up near your core. Lifting should involve squatting and legs, not an extended back.


Letting your back get behind the vertical in a canter when not loose in the waist can cause torque and strain your back.


If either of these stretches are difficult or make your gluteals or back feel tight or painful, you're probably getting tight muscles from riding and farm work and need to stretch more.

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post #4 of 15 Old 07-04-2020, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
I've been having some lower back pain. I think it's light muscle strain. It gets sort of twingy, especially if I'm doing something and then straighten up. For instance, when I straighten up after picking hooves, it twinges pretty badly. If I'm just walking or sitting around, it is just slightly sore.

I only ride twice a week as it is, so I don't really want to take any time off, but should I? Right now, I'm just taking an ibuprofen and riding. I think that if I keep doing this, it will take longer to heal, but it probably won't get any worse. Thoughts?
I find this interesting as riding has always relaxed my back muscles. When I was working and my lower back would hurt I couldn't wait to get home and ride. Granted I tried to ride at a walk and keep my pelvis rocking.
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post #5 of 15 Old 07-04-2020, 10:01 AM
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Subbing - Iím in the same predicament. Iíve noticed that vacuuming at home makes it much worse.
I know specifically with vacuuming I read something once to be really mindful of how you vacuum - are you pushing the vacuum with your arm and back, or are you using mainly your legs to move the vacuum? I know it sounds completely stupid, being mindful during vacuuming, but when I started making sure I was using my legs instead of my back, my back pain went away.
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post #6 of 15 Old 07-04-2020, 10:06 AM
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I know specifically with vacuuming I read something once to be really mindful of how you vacuum - are you pushing the vacuum with your arm and back, or are you using mainly your legs to move the vacuum? I know it sounds completely stupid, being mindful during vacuuming, but when I started making sure I was using my legs instead of my back, my back pain went away.
I am not too sure, Iíll pay attention next time. Thanks.
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post #7 of 15 Old 07-04-2020, 10:56 AM
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Definitely stretching and lift things properly as gottatrot put - at first it seems more effort. Better just bend over to pick up that brush? Do that x amount of times and my back kills. I always have to squat (and PROPERLY not to slam onto my knee joints!). It's more effort at first, but less pain in the long run and you get a nice bottom :P Washing/rubbing legs? I used to sit on a stool where I could (watch out for fly stomps!). Tired? Hug their leg like a koala and have a nap. Got some strange side-eye with that though... Weak back & core + lots of canter work = very sore back for me. I remember when I started cantering/sitting trot a lot it KILLED me for a good week.

Probably the most is getting strong. It's actually amazing that even as a livery how unfit I appeared to be... to do everything the right way in any manual labour requires good technique...
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post #8 of 15 Old 07-04-2020, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ClearDonkey View Post
I know specifically with vacuuming I read something once to be really mindful of how you vacuum - are you pushing the vacuum with your arm and back, or are you using mainly your legs to move the vacuum? I know it sounds completely stupid, being mindful during vacuuming, but when I started making sure I was using my legs instead of my back, my back pain went away.
For me it was having a sink where the tap was too far away and slightly too low... I was often have to stretch out just to rinse a plate and it was only when I got a new sink I realised how much grief the old one had been causing me!
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post #9 of 15 Old 07-04-2020, 02:12 PM
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I have had back pain as my living companion for probably the last 15 years of my life. It's not constant, but it's always there, waiting for a 'visit'.


One thing I have found is that a great deal of back problems stem from the pelvis ; either misaligned, or just not strong. By strong, I really mean the gluteal muscles.


Basically, girl, you need more 'butt' muscles strength. A strong butt means a well supported back. Work them glutes!
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post #10 of 15 Old 07-04-2020, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I definitely think some if not all of this is that my core and glutes are weak. I guess I need to find some series of exercises I can do.

And yes, I think a lot of this is related to me doing more cantering now. Part of the issue is that Pony is still a little unbalanced, and he wants me to support his head. The trainer said this isn't ideal, but it's not uncommon in a horse that's still fairly green. It's something we need to work on.

And yes, I know I am not leaning over and picking up things the right way. I guess I'm just getting to the point where I can't get away with that sort of stuff any more.

@gottatrot I'm not sure about the stretching. I do a LOT of stretching, and I've increased it since my back started hurting. I feel like I'm getting a really good stretch in those muscles, but then a couple hours afterwards it seems to hurt even more.

I don't really like taking medicine either, but the Ibuprofen really helped. I am not sure I would have wanted to ride if I hadn't taken it. I'm not going to keep taking it the rest of the day, though. I just took it to get through my lesson. (And even with it, I still made my daughter pick everyone's hooves today.) I also have some ginger oil that I tried topically that helps a little.

I guess my takeaway is that I need to find some core-strengthening exercises to do. And be smart about what I'm doing.

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