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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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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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Subbing - I’m in the same predicament. I’ve 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.
:shrug:
 

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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.
:shrug:
I am not too sure, I’ll pay attention next time. Thanks.
 

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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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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.
:shrug:
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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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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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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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I really like "reverse crunches" or the "reverse crunch twist" for strength. Also planks can be good. I find these work for me, and they also increase my balance. Lots of benefits for me and my body personally.

Your back has some muscles, but it's mainly supported by your core so that's where the focus should be.

If it's still hurting, it's possible that you've pulled or strained a muscle somewhere. In my experience stretching will aggravate this more, as will continuing to use the injured muscle. I usually rest for a few days and use arnica cream liberally, as well as use magnesium salt spray liberally. Then ease back into it after a few days or a week. Torn muscles can take longer to heal though.

I've been battling my arm and shoulder for a few months now. I need to use it, but I think I strained a muscle, then slept on it wrong and it compressed a nerve too. Tingles all down my arm for a while there. I rested it and it went away, now I'm able to stretch a bit gently and it's getting better. No tingling and I'm able to use it carefully again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I decided to order one of those bouncy ball chairs. Supposedly they are good for posture and core strength. Plus my current chair is terrible. I know I need to do some more active exercises as well, but hopefully this will help a bit.
 
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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.
I've had it work both ways. I've had a sore back and riding helped rock it away.

But, I've also had riding hurt my back if my saddle was too wide for my horse. Sometimes it's so subtle, that I don't even notice the saddle is a bit wide except that I am riding slightly downhill and I compensate by trying to sit up straight and it kills my back. I've actually sold several saddles because they hurt my back. It can be subtle, like you don't even realize it's a problem, until you have back pain after every ride and figure out it's because you are ever-so-slightly riding downhill. I have one saddle that I love to death, but it's FQHB and my mare is a Fox Trotter, and while she's not narrow, she's also not a super broad Quarter Horse. I can get away with using that saddle if I shim it. But I still don't use that as my main saddle.

So saddle fit can also cause rider back problems.
 

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What has helped me is wearing a back brace while riding. I found that riding at the walk helps relax the lower back. Plus, I go at least once a month for a massage and it really helps. It's the one thing I regularly splurge on.
 

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Hmm, I was hoping to find some answers here. When I was probably three or four, I jumped off of a five foot plastic jungle gym thing we had in the backyard, and did a cannonball into the snow. Little did I know, the snow was only maybe 6 inches, probably less than that.
I landed on my tail bone, and I have had back problems ever since then, I have had lower back pains. It hurts to sit straight up in good posture for a long time, and a million other things.
I was hoping to find some answers, as to what I can do, cause it sound like you kind of did the same thing, but your pain is probably only temporary. Hopefully! Anyways, sounds like I just need to stretch. Sigh. I hate stretching, and I am very not bendy. Sigh.
Good luck! I hope your back starts to feel better soon!
 
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Any back pain I've had over the years was the result of my hips shifting out of alignment which in turns put my back out of alignment. A trip to the chiropractor fixes this along with regular exercise. If I ignore my body being out of alignment long enough I end up getting pinched sciatic nerves. Immensely painful.
 

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Sounds like you are using a lot of back muscle in your ride! Core work definitely helps take some stress away from your back. My personal go to is the ever torture of planks :LOL: I used to make a challenge for myself to hold the plank as long as I could, then try to beat my last timing. You can then introduce variations of the plank: alternating arm reach, hand to forearm plank,alternations between wideleg and narrow plank stance. Not going to lie, it's not very fun exercises, but it sure does help develop the core!

Also, if your horse is leaning a ton, consider pushing your reins foreword (like giving them away) every few strides, so that he cannot lean on them.

Few things that I've found helps in accordance to back injuries:
  • Back brace (txgirl mentioned this). I bought the thermal therapy one from greenhawk, but any back brace will do. Bonus: It is such a reliever when standing around for a long time! I wear mine a lot to work too.
  • Voltaren (Diclofenac) gel, which is a topical anti-inflammatory. Quite helpful for muscle strains.
  • I'd also keep with the ibuprofen, if needed, to help reduce inflammation
  • Stretching is good, but don't overdo it. Stretching also elongates the muscle fibers. When there is an injury, the fibers are already elongated and pulled away from another, so stretching can be counterproductive and lengthen the time it takes for you to heal. Stretching is more beneficial once inflammation subsides though.
  • Ice if in inflammatory stage (approx. 48hrs), and if inflammation starts up again. Heat after 48hrs.
  • If you do feel it is more than just muscle strain, cease riding and see a doctor. I took 4 months off riding after doing something to my back (still not sure what). I did all the above, and it feels much better now.
tempest Interesting on the hip alignment. Prior to my back injury I had an old hip injury stir up again. I've always wondered if the two were related.
 

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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?
Hey there, I suggest you don't stress too much as it can result in increasing the overall core pain in the spine which will further result in making it more difficult for you to sit or lie down. As it has just started try some stretching muscle exercise as to reduce the chances of any inflammation or risk of getting worse in the back.
My brother loved horse riding and he used to have the same issue, he was careless and didn't bother to look after it and now he is in deep therapy and treatment with difficulty to sit and lie down.
I suggest you consult and get physical therapy treatment to avoid making it worse and eliminate any chances of increasing the risk of permanent injuries or disabilities which can affect your everyday life and future horse riding.
 

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I let myself get out of shape over the past year and the place I notice it most is my back. I've been going on Facebook Marketplace and finding lots of great exercise equipment very inexpensive. I made a gym in my basement.

One of my favorite workouts is the rowing machine. I can not believe how much it works my back and stomach, and it's such a peaceful quiet workout. Leg lifts help, and all weight lifting seems to help. I have to be very careful doing overhead presses, as they seem to put too much pressure on my back in the wrong direction. I kind of use the overhead presses as a measure of how strong my back is getting. When I first started I couldn't do them at all but as I've done the rest of the exercises my back has strengthened to the point where I can start doing them without anything in my back moving the wrong way.
 
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