I am pretty sure most people who are regularly riding has some form of back pain. Any tips with dealing with it? I have found a heating pad helpful but sitting for more that 30 mins and long car trips really aggrevate it.
Most back pain comes from inadequate tummy muscles. The old chestnut sit ups works but is boring and hard to keep a regular schedule.
Yoga puts you in balance positions that you hold for a breath or two to strengthen. No weights, no impact and actually, good for your mental state too. Fit TV offers Namaste Yoga (<30 min) several times a day. I participate every day at 6pm just before dinner.
Ibuprofen, sit ups and a good bed. I agree with TS. Core muscles are key to a strong back. I have an "ab-lounger" haha. I'm terrified of hurting my back doing sit ups on the floor. The ab lounger is easy and correct. But for myself, it is cyclic. If my back is hurting, I use it regularly. Then my back stops hurting...then I forget to use it...then my back starts hurting again and I remember that I haven't done my sit ups!
Don't forget stretching. I find that is one of the biggest keys to my back happiness . I make sure I stretch out my back as well as my hamstrings (and other leg and hip muscles). Tight hamstrings can also put a strain on your lower back, so keeping those stretched can help with the back.
I've had a broken back and multiple herniated disks over the years. That being said, I've learned that ice (not heat), stretching, Aleve (or whatever), and specific back exercises keep me in the saddle.
One of my favorites that keep my back strong and help to settle spasms is the push up. Leave your pelvis on the floor and raise your upper body up, arching your back, and hold it for 10 seconds. I do this 20-30 times. Also, be sure your stomach muscles are STRONG. They are the work horses to support your back.
I have a certain degree of back pain that varies throughout the year (it definitely ramped up around the time that I had each of the 2 babies I had in the last 3 1/2 years.....I can sure tell when my core muscles are "gone"!). I have a fabulous chiropractor who I'm terrible about actually going to, but if I get my act together and get in to him it makes my back pain completely go away.
Unless, of course, one of my greenies has a bucking fit or something else unexpected (then my car's heated seats and tylenol are my friends!)
I completely agree with all those who have suggested strengthening and stretching exercises, but until you've built up those muscles, I recommend massage therapy. Over the course of the last 6 months, I've been to an MD, 2 chiropractors (and I LOVE the one I'm currently with), physical therapy, a neurologist, and a massage therapist. The 3 massages I've had have done more than anything else. I highly recommend it!!!
I'm also over 50, ride 2-3 horses a day and am (touch wood) back pain free.
The key is core strength. I work out 5 mornings a week, and do LOTs of core strength exercises.
A few weeks a go I got a bad bug and was sick for a week including severe muscle weakness, as I recovered from that I had back pain, quite severe back pain by the end of the day.
As soon as I was well enough to get back into the gym, the back pain went away.
Yoga, pilates, core strength exercises stick at em and the back pain will go.
Oh and Hycel for humans helps as well esp on the days I have done too much and are muscle sore. www.nutrelief.com check out the Hycel.
Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
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For seven years I've been living in excruciating(sp?) back pain from a broken tail bone and fractured hip. I've tried heating pads, exercising, stretching, muscle rubs, ibruprofen, everything expcept pain pills. I finally went to the chiropractor this past week and for the first time in 7 years I'm basically pain free!! I went again today, he said I need about 6 sessions and I should be back to my oldself. I rode yeseterday on a long trailride and for the first time afterwards I wasn't in pain. It was GREAT!
I have broken my back and had a horrible hip injury as well as breaking my tailbone several times...talk about back pain....I have found keeping my core strong and riding helps the most. As long as I keep my core strong and keep the extra ppounds off, my back never ever hurts (unless i have had a fall or something). I have a great saddle that puts everything in the right place. If I go for a few days with out riding, I do start to get sore and pinchy. If I have a bad pain attack (like i fall) I go to the indoor pool (which is heated) and walk laps. It loosenes everything back out. I am soo affraid to go to a chiro. I still have little fragments floating around and am even carefull about geting massages that are rough. Good luck, I know how anouying back pain is.
This subject keeps coming up over & over again. Do some searches on the subject and you'll get LOTS of suggestions. We horsepeople are cursed with this problem. You can try: losing weight, wearing abdominal support, avoiding sitting trots, use a high density foam cushion under your saddle, try foam stirrup iron inserts to absorb shock, ride a lot in 2 point or half point, doing lots of long walking rides when it's sore or acting up, using nsaids before & after you ride, ice the area after riding, exercise, exercise, exercise, avoid prolonged sitting, use a back pillow when sitting, wear flat shoes that have good shock absorbing soles wherever possible. It's all about avoiding concussion. Seeing a good equestrian oriented doctor & physical therapist. Avoid chiropractors - they can make it worse.