Recently while riding I've been experiencing some lower back pain. It happens mainly when I do two point at the trot. I can do sitting trot, posting with no stirrups, cantering, etc with no issues but once I start the two point it hurts really bad. I don't know if it is just being tense or also weak ab muscles too. Anyone else ever experience this? Any good exercises/stretches/etc to help strengthen the ab area (other than your crunches and variations of) and/or release back tension? Riding was so much less painful when I was a kid!
From my own experience, I would get a Neurosurgeon to look at your back. You really don't want to damage anything and they'll be able to give you good exercises for your particular problem. It's way too much risk to ignore it.
If it only hurts when you two point and doesn't radiate down your legs at all, you may want to start by focusing on core strength. I had back surgery several years ago and pilates helps me a lot. Make sure you work with a very qualified trainer on core strength exercises because incorrect form can make things much worse. If the pain ever radiates, stop and find a good ortho. asap.
Feldenkrais if you have any practitioners near you. It helps raise body awareness.
Most likely you need to improve core strength and aren't engaging your abs as noted above, but you have to be able to feel it or constantly have someone on the ground telling you what to do. Feldenkrais has changed my riding.
My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.
Originally Posted by katarine
If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed
Just wanted to mention my situation in case it helps.
I own two horses and was riding them in the same saddle. I had back pain during two point the worst, but a bit from posting as well - but only on one of the horses. In my case the saddle was sitting low in the back instead of balanced on the one horse in particular, causing discomfort. The horse is older and his back has dropped a bit and I was working extra to get out of the saddle and probably twisting something.
I second or third getting it checked out. I had terrible musculoskeletal pain on the left side of my lower back for 2 1/2 years. Three doctors, four chiropractors, three PTs and a massage therapist later, I finally found a doctor who said, "You know, this lumbar MRI looks fine, but you're still having pain. I think we should MRI the whole spine." And whadaya know, I had a bulging thoracic disk and, as this doctor so reassuringly tells me "The worst thoracic vertebral arthritis I've ever seen."
He did a temporary block on the nerve a couple weeks ago that worked fabulously, and I'm having a radiofrequency ablation of it next week. I sure hope it works as well as the lidocaine/cortisone block did.
This just started happening in the past year and I don't notice it other than when riding sometimes. Definitely some good ideas. I have been to a chiro who told me to strengthen my abs because I have a lot of "back curvature". I need to fix my posture pronto! Hopefully it is just the abs but I will also get it checked out just to be on the safe side.
Get it checked out just to be safe (dealing with EXTREME disc pain today myself!) but if you're fine, my bet is you are really weak in your core and over-arching your back. Do some ab workouts and when in 2-point think about pulling your bellybutton towards your spine.
Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique
Finding a chiro who did PT helped me greatly. His therapy exercises were based on Pilates; really using the body to guide and resist the body.
There are a lot of Pilates-based warm up stretches that are really good for the lower back/hips. The chi ball is also great, because you really have to use the lower body to stabilise what the upper body is doing with fluid, rhythmic resistance.
Also, something a lot of us don't do enough of- stretch! Before you get on, when you first get on... we warm up the horses, but a lot of people don't warm up themselves!
I had the same problems in summer 2011. Went to the doctor, got an x-ray, came back clean, said take 3 Advil at every meal, and sent me to PT and a back specialist. PT said I had very little core strength and the back specialist said my joints were hyperflexible or something like that. Told the PT and she laughed and said, yeah, you need to be stronger! I only did a few sessions until something happened that kept me from horses and my job anyway and after the two weeks "rest" I was fine. Haven't had trouble with my back since, but I'm also a lot less stressed and I don't ride as often, or as intensely as I did before that summer.
It sounds like you need to work on core strength, but I'd see a doctor too if you can to rule anything out. One exercise the PT gave me, and I've also seen it in a horse book, is lay on your side with your knees towards your chest and open your knee that's on top and hold as long as you can, then do the other side.
I used to have really bad lower back pain (some while riding, really painful after riding) and found out I had a disc problem in my lower back, as well as having a naturally arched back so that didn't make it any better. I've been doing pilates for about 6 months now, and it has helped tremendously. It really strengthens your core muscles and helps with my back soreness, so you may want to try that. I've never been to the classes, either, just got a beginner pilates video that I like and have been doing that.
Be careful! Keep up your core strength. Do not go without consulting some doctors (especially a neurosurgeon). I ended up having to have my spine fused and herniated disk removed. Still riding though ...
core strength, the common term in all above posts, will help minimize/reduce that pain. Do stretch after you ride? how are are you two pointing before it happens?
If the pain continues or occurs when you arent doing those specific things, Id get it looked at. But if its ONLY in those 2 things youre feeling it, try working on your core a bit more and see if it goes away.
As a singer and equestrian, let me strongly recommend Alexander Technique along with the Feldenkrais. It really only struck me a year and a half ago how many of my singing and riding faults are tied together--and ultimately tied to posture. I did intensive AT along with yoga for the summer, and after my singing benefited vastly, I applied it to riding--oh whodathunk, less struggle, better posture, no more "stick the boobies out" and having bad back pain.
That all said, if you have continuing pain, DO get it looked at. Recently I rode and sang stoically for a few weeks in pain because I couldn't get a full breath without pain in my back ribs. Thought I was just tight and that chiro and yoga would clear it up. Wrong. Laughed so hard one day I had severe back spasms and had to get it xrayed--thoracic vertebrae were scrunched together on the left side, and I literally had a hump rising out of my back from all the muscle spasming and swelling. Steroids and frequent massage therapy are helping me get on the mend asap (to an MRI to make sure nothing else is pinched...), but I am kicking myself I just didn't get it looked at in the first place.
Also make sure you're stretching your psoas muscles. So much lowerback and hip pain (and menstrual pain) comes from too-tight (or torn) psoas muscles.
I had the same problem for quite awhile, and the problem stemmed from arching my back. So I stopped arching my back, worked on having proper posture, and strengthened my core and it has made an amazing difference. If you can get into yoga or Pilates and work on correct posture you will probably feel a difference. It also won't hurt to go to a doctor/chiro/physio and get it checked out just in case it's something more serious.
Please get it checked out. Don't be afraid to get out the big guns. I had what seemed like a little nagging issue and 6 months later, 2 MRIS, 2 SI injections and you name it I'm still trying to figure it out. I mean, start with the chiro and if that works, fabulous, but if it persists, please don't let it go. Allow yourself to say it might be a bigger issue and take the time to investigate it, because back pain can progress into something that rules your life.
Best of luck to you.
IF it is only when you 2 point and does not bother you the rest of the ride???
Two point gets improperly done so often, usually heaving the shoulders forward and standing on the toes is involved. It's really just lightening the seat and closing the hip angle-not the throwing up and out of the saddle I see way too many trainers tolerating and even encouraging.
An improper position can get you hurt by overstressing the lower back. Lack of flexibility in the hamstrings and heel accompanied by poor core strength can thrive with no stirrup work becase they never have to really support the rider-but Two Point forces it and reveals the weakness.
Just think about that. I found relief via a chiro who also rode and physical therapy. And STRETCHING before riding and stretching the hamstrings daily...plus the ab work of course. Via Pilates so they are forced to work properly in a proper position that supports and protects the back.
If your lower back hurts when you do something? STOP doing it. Thats important, solve that, preferably not with enough Advil to blow your liver.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.