Preventing Back Pain From Horseback Riding

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 7, 2020

Horseback Riding Back Pain

You sit on a horse’s back when riding it, but oftentimes it’s your back that ends up hurting after a long ride, not your horse’s spine. Bouncing up and down with each trot will take a physical toll on your spine, and a saddle does little to help prevent this stress. However, if you’re aware of how impactful horseback riding can be on your spine, you can take some steps to help alleviate its toll on your back. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at some common back injuries associated with horseback riding, and how you can prevent and treat these problems.

Horseback Riding and Your SI Joint

Horseback riding can lead to severe back injuries in the event that you are thrown from the horse and land on your back, but those obvious causes of pain oftentimes also lend themselves to immediate professional treatment. In this blog, we’re going to look at back pain that can develop even when the ride goes exactly as planned. Oftentimes, that occurs because of trauma to your sacroiliac joints.

Your SI joints sit at the bottom of your spine and connect the two iliac bones to your sacrum. SI joints are not meant to be mobile and problems can develop if they are overstressed. When you’re walking or even sitting on the couch, these joints don’t get overly stressed because contact points on the ground help to displace stress. However, when you’re horseback riding, your feet are in the stirrups, meaning they aren’t really helping to disseminate the stress you feel as you bounce up and down as the horse moves along. The weight of your body is directly thrust upon your lower spine and SI joints.

Too much motion or pressure in this area can damage these joints or the surrounding structures. And while you can’t completely prevent stress from hitting your lower back as you ride, there are some prevention and treatment techniques to keep in mind.

Preventing and Treating SI Joint Pain From Horseback Riding

Keep these tips in mind to help keep your spine healthy during and after your horseback riding excursions.

  1. Strengthen Your Core – Having a strong core can help your body better handle the pressure it feels when you’re riding, so make sure you work to improve your core when you’re not on horseback.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Medications – Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can help to prevent joint swelling and inflammation that can develop as a direct result of an increase in lumbar spinal stress and pressure.
  3. Braces and Belts – They actually make devices called SI joint belts that are designed to help take pressure off your SI joints as you ride. Invest in one before you have pain, but they are definitely a great option to consider if you develop lower back pain during or after a ride.
  4. Yoga or Pilates – Yoga, Pilates or other stretching-based exercises can help promote joint health and improve your core, which are important when riding.
  5. Get Professional Help – Finally, get professional help sooner rather than later, especially if you want to continue riding professionally or as a hobby. Don’t let pain get to the point where riding becomes unbearable. Treating the problem earlier allows for better treatment results, ensuring you can continue riding for years to come.

So if you are experiencing back pain after a horseback excursion, or you just want to stay on top of your spine health, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today for more information or to set up an appointment.

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