Many people love horseback riding but realize that it can be a strain on the spine. Here are some frequently asked questions that our patients have regarding this hobby. We hope our answers can help you to ride safely and reduce the stress on your back, ribs, and joints.
1. Why do I experience pain during horseback riding?
There are a number of factors that can lead to pain. For example, when the horse is trotting or cantering, there is a constant compression of the spine. Saddle posture also contributes to spinal issues. Any time the upper body is leaning slightly forward, you are increasing the amount of pressure on the spine. Additionally, jumping horses can increase the amount of pressure and compression the spine is under, particularly when landing.
Accidents are common in horseback riding. If you have ever fallen or been thrown from a horse, you may be dealing with spinal misalignments that increase the pain and pressure on the spine and can lead to premature degeneration of the vertebral discs.
2. What are the most common horseback riding injuries we see at Ward Chiropractic and Rehabilitation?
The primary horseback riding related injuries that we see at our practice are:
- Lower back pain
- Disc compression
- Disc herniation
- Rib pain
- Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain
- Upper back pain
- Joint pain from traumatic falls
3. What chiropractic and rehabilitation treatments can help horseback riding injuries?
Treatment of an injury depends on the type of injury and how it was caused. Some of the options we offer to patients include:
- Specific adjustments to correct misalignments in the spine, ribs, or joints
- Manual therapy that is targeted to mobilize parts of the body that are no longer moving properly or lack a full range of motion
- Trigger points to release muscle spasms
- Rehabilitation exercises that restore proper motor patterns and range of motion
4. What specifically causes my pain from horseback riding?
There are a number of underlying causes of pain that can result from horseback riding. Some of the common pain causes include:
- Joint compression
- Disc compression
- Nerve irritation
- Muscle spasms (caused by asymmetry)
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Soft tissue trauma (resulting from a fall)
- Poor posture
5. When should I see a chiropractor or rehabilitation specialist about my horseback riding pain?
Any time you fall off a horse, you should see a doctor to determine the extent of the injuries and what care is required. However, when pain doesn’t clear up within 48 hours, you are probably dealing with something more than a simple muscle strain, and this too calls for an office visit.
You want to see a chiropractor or rehabilitation specialist if you feel pain or numbness that radiates into your arms and legs, you can feel that something is out of proper alignment, or you are still experiencing pain following other forms of treatment (medication, physical therapy, surgery, etc.).
6. What can I do to prevent horseback riding injuries?
Exercise is a great way to prevent injury. Be sure to target core stability and glute activation in your regular exercise routine. Listen to your body. If you are in pain, don’t spend another hour on the horse – it’s time to rest and heal. Address the pain as soon as it happens. Regular chiropractic treatment can help you to maintain proper alignment, which may also decrease the risk of an injury.