Many people think riding is dangerous and the cause of many sporting injuries. Granted, falls can result in major injury but a majority of injuries come from caring for your horse. The postures you move in and out of during your day affect your lower back, more often than a fall does. The consequences of microtrauma can sometimes be more devastating than a major trauma, such as a fall.
This part of riding is often not addressed with riders. It is just as important to learn how to care for your own body while you care for your horse as is it to learn how to ride.
Back pain has a huge impact on every aspect of your life, not just your riding.
I see many people with back pain in my Physiotherapy practice. Many of them state “I haven’t done anything, it just started”. When I dig deeper all of these people have a repetitive daily activity, like picking up toys, moving items at work, bending to reach objects, lifting children, driving, and desk work. All of these activities are repetitive.
The common movements of bending and or lifting occur many times in a day. Each episode of lifting and or bending involves pressure through your body. If this movement pattern is performed with poor stability and or poor alignment then the stress each time may well be creating a micro-injury. Each micro-injury is usually pain-free but when they start to add up over time then an injury is brewing.
This is the scenario I see all the time.
Prevention, understanding the actions, and training yourself to protect your back is the key to pain-free longevity.
Tips to Protect your Back
- Learn how to use your core
- Stretch everyday
- Only lift when you have too
- Do little backbends often during the day
- If you can lean on something to bend over then do it
- Sit with your legs spread wide at your desk
- Minimize sitting trot and canter work if you are in pain
- Wear a back Brace for heavy work
Most back pain comes from the work you do every day, not from riding or falls. If you do have an injury then make sure you have an assessment and treatment and most important the correct rehab program. The rehab must involve core work, movement patterns, and time.
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