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Releasing the tightness in RIDERS back

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  • Releasing the tightness in RIDERS back

    I had a back injury a couple weeks ago (just stressed some muscles cleaning a dog crate of all things...) Its fine now and i'm trying to gear up for a show in a couple weeks, but holy smokes my lower back (right above tail bone) is SOOOO stinking tight that if the horse stops, i fall forward, she moves, i go back, i can not find the balance with it, its like my middle section is just locked and wont give.

    I've been doing every exercise i can think of to help me relax the hip/pelvis, but it seems my lower spine is just stuck in a forward position? I tip forward horrendously. I've always had a tipping problem (tipped pelvis doesnt help matters), but this is to the extreme to the point i cant "lean back" to be upright.

    And for women who understand, i'm getting some really painful things going on in another area with this tipped state.

    Anything you can do to release that area around your pelvic/tail bone/lower spine section? Twisting left/right isnt doing a thing, i wish i had one of those belisimo (sp?) chairs that makes you give in this area to "hit" the 12/6 o-clock position. I sat on one once, found out i was terrible... I'm afraid its not in my budget though.
    Your Horse's Home On The Road!

  • #2
    Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation comes to mind. Have you tried either of those yet?
    Yes, I am crazy. Is that an issue?


    • Original Poster

      I havent, i've got to jump through hoops backwards and blindfolded to succeed getting it covered by my insurance... Was hoping i could just work around it.
      Your Horse's Home On The Road!


      • #4
        In my experience tightness is a sign that you need more strength in an area. The good news is this can be accomplished pretty quickly (in a few weeks) with the right kind of exercise. However it sounds like you have alignment issues that should be addressed first.
        See those flying monkeys? They work for me.


        • #5
          Originally posted by butlerfamilyzoo View Post
          I had a back injury a couple weeks ago (just stressed some muscles cleaning a dog crate of all things...) Its fine now and i'm trying to gear up for a show in a couple weeks, but holy smokes my lower back (right above tail bone) is SOOOO stinking tight that if the horse stops, i fall forward, she moves, i go back, i can not find the balance with it, its like my middle section is just locked and wont give.
          for many years I have had a nasty back and the reality was that when my back was injured, 9 yos ago(actual broken bones mind you)

          it was followed by trunk muscles that slid away to the pain of my backbones not allowing them to move as much....so it was a cycle of lack of work from pain=losing muscle=more lack of work=more pain...

          but the key was always I needed to not focus on my back but rather the trunk muscles that hold the back up...and let my back HEAL which was the hardest for me as I am not slothful by nature so NOT doing something like two 5 gal bucketfuls of H2O going from here to there was something my mind said "of course you can" and my back replied later "oh no we couldn't"

          that was hard...really hard...

          not that I am trying to diagnose you...lord knows I have enough trouble with me only to mention the abs/trunk as something to focus on...

          Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
          I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


          • #6
            After a lower back injury people tend to unconsciously 'guard' how they sit, and it interferes with keeping balance as you described. I don't think the answer is found off the horse unless the injury isn't healed and needs more treatment/medication whatever.

            Keep your back warm while you ride, stretch before you ride, sit down on your seat and try not to worry about your back.

            If it spasmed up while you were doing something minor that you don't feel should have caused it, most likely you need a daily exercise/stretch routine.


            • #7
              I'm back to doing yoga, and it's the balance of the stretch and the movement that seems to help my lower back. I'm having some back troubles right now thanks to an intestinal parasite that I picked up on my last trip to El Salvador, and between treatment for THAT and the fact that I can't keep down my arthritis medicine, my back is in awful shape this week. But the yoga is keeping me moving in a general way - it'll get me through. You have to be careful, of course, and I'm only doing my modified routine since I'm kinda "off," but what a relief!!!!

              I do yoga before I ride, and it feels wonderful. My pelvis is more aligned, and I have better lessons if I do my yoga in the morning right before the lesson, as long as I don't overdo.


              • #8
                oi, I just injured my back recently somehow and seriously aggravated it by an overfences lesson recently (which far exceeded my fitness level!). At first it felt like sciatica, but as of this morning my entire tailbone area is painful and extremely stiff... I'm walking as if I'm wearing a diaper.

                In the next 2-3 days, I'll be doing the following two things which I always finds help me loosen up from lower back pain/injury:

                Lie on your back on the floor, arms near your sides, palms down, legs down slightly spread. Relax and breath for a good minute or two and allow your spine and shoulder blades to settle to the floor and your head and neck to find a neutral position.

                When relaxed, draw your legs up to a bent position by drawing your knees skyward and sliding your heels towards your bum, your feet remain flat on the floor your arms at your sides palms down. Start slowly rocking your knees side to side. A small movement at first, you want to isolate the rocking to your pelvis and lower back by *allowing* the looseness, and keep your head, neck, shoulders, shoulder blades and upper spinal column still without activating muscles to do so. As you get the feel for allowing the looseness, you can let your knees to rock side to side a greater distance..... when you really get going you'll start feeling the round looseness of your hip joints and your pelvis will tilt gently side to side loosening lower back muscles. The key to this is not to try to stretch or force the looseness, its about allowing it to happen.

                When I really get loose my knees can nearly touch the floor to the sides! It feels so wonderful, like your hip sockets are oiled and loose.

                Another nice stretch I love to do, and I make my boyfriend do when his back is sore, is to take a rather large throw blanket and roll it up like a long sausage. Lay it on the floor and then lie on top of it, you position it running right down your spine so your back muscles drape down either side. If your lower back is hurting, you position it so the blanket sausage ends right at your lower back and so your tailbone is gently hanging down. It sounds so simple and it is, but the stretch is so lovely!
                Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                • #9

                  Ouch that sounds painful. If the muscles are really tight or in spasm you will do more harm then good trying to stretch them in that condition. See if you can loosen up a bit by walking, taking a hot bath, applying moist towels that you've nuked in the microwave (careful!) and then gently gently stretch. I would also suggest icing the area afterwards to reduce inflammation.


                  • #10
                    I second heat and yoga. Just do as much as comfortable. Your body will release more as it becomes comfortable letting go- in my personal experience. I had a pretty bad spasm sort of thing last year, and accupuncture was also VERY helpful in suppling my back. I kept it flexable and supple through yoga- until recently. I can tell a difference. I'm pulling the mat out when I get home.


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks guys, i havent done any yoga since i hurt it, so i may need to slowly bring it back. I cant say i'm brilliant with staying consistent with my yoga, i have a few positions that i really like for myself and neglect the rest as being too hard... I need to get back to being good about it and doing more.

                      I have been using heat, and lots of tub soaks. I did feel that after my last two tense rides (my first two rides since i hurt it), it did help to loosen it up with the movement, or trying to move... I think i'm really still "protecting" it.

                      I actually did lay on the floor earlier, previous to reading this. I've had lower back pain before and a physical therapy friend gave me some exercises to do, well, just allowing my spine to "fall" and relax into the floor was quite painful! I'm wondering if i've still got some really deep muscle soreness in there that i didnt realize was still there. SIGH... I'll have to continue going slow with it.

                      But thanks guys, will continue to plug along.
                      Your Horse's Home On The Road!


                      • #12
                        When my back has a flare up, although I love the feeling of heat actually ice is what helps. feels awful but it works.

                        No doubt it DEFINITELY depends on the reason for the back pain but in my case it is muscle spasm and I can make it go away with ice and, if necessary OTC Robaxin Platinum. Works every time so far. Miraculous. Only have to do that for a couple of days and it just stops.

                        Chiropractor can also fix me in one session when I have a flare up but I only do that if I can't fix it myself.

                        if you think there is something else going on with your back, go see your dr.


                        • #13
                          you know, having just finished reading 'beating muscle injuries for horses' by jack meagher (an excellent suggested read from an excellent person! thank you!), maybe treat yourself to a nice massage? you might have a spasm that could be worked free?

                          I have to lol and share this because only horsey people can appreciate... my boyfriend has every right to call me insane... I'm hobbling around like I'm 90, whining like an old fishwife yet refusing help of any kind and actually helped throw my last 100 bales of hay this morning... I'm wrapped in my new "draper equine holo-fiber blanket" (to see if it works), I'm reading "the horse's pain-free back", and I've got sore-no-more rubbed on the top of my bum, and I'm researching online the absolute proper aids for TOF so I can plan my ride tomorrow... pain be dammed for me! but should my pony sneeze the wrong way, well, he gets new pads and saddles and massage books lol! Put a set of BOT hock boots on my ankles and I'll be all set

                          I *am* enjoying a positively lovely oatmeal stout which eases the pain I'd suggest that along with a good massage.
                          Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                          • #14
                            hehe buck22 I know what you mean.

                            I have that olde book,too but I think I need to be Jack M to do that sort of massage. I have not been successful trying it!

                            PS And maybe this needs a new thread, but does BOT really work? I don't see how it can do all that much but I've been eyeing the quartersheets.


                            • #15
                              lol, you know I put my newly found jack m knowledge to work this morning on my horse and I think I agree with you haha, I did my best and my horse was completely unimpressed.

                              re BOT, I got a deal off of TOTD, the quick wraps and polos. The day they arrived I'd suffered a light sprain in my wrist, so I polo wrapped it and slept with it on. Nada.

                              A few months later, my BO's mare gets unexplained stocking up in her hinds, that won't go down for days despite all sorts of efforts. On the verge of calling the vet, I lend her my BOT quickwraps, volia! legs nice & tight in 12 hours.

                              A month later my horse abscesses. For support I put on the BOT quickwraps. 5 days go by, I decide to give the wraps a rest not sure they're doing anything, the next day he's stocked up. I put the wraps on, hours later he's tight.

                              A few days ago, there's a thread on BOT and someone suggests Draper. So I google, buy one of their closeout spectator blankets and it just arrived a few hours ago. I took it out of the package, wrapped it around me like a sarong in the kitchen, took 5 steps and my shooting pain went away... I literally said outloud "get the h-ll out of here!?!" the pain came back a few minutes later though... so, no magic yet... but that was creepy coincidence...

                              I really don't know what to make of all of this fiber technology, but I'm getting awfully close to buying a BOT blanket for my pony....
                              Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                              • Original Poster

                                LOL Buck22, I actually pulled out my BOT pad and wrapped it around my back... It does actually ease some pain due to the warmth, but i cant say its a miracle worker or anything, temporary relief at best, probably similar if i had used a heating pad. But it was so bad that first few days, i tried everything. I did try some vetrolin on it, but its such a deep muscle that it just seemed to be topical "tingles." At least i smelled good.

                                I will say that one of my ponies does seem to go nicer in her back on track pad, has a little more swing in her back... Maybe i shouldnt use that pad for a few weeks... Not sure i could take more movement! The other pony i notice no difference whatsoever. Havent tried any of their other products.
                                Your Horse's Home On The Road!


                                • #17
                                  I'm just going to say this again for good measure.

                                  if IF it's muscle spasm, try ICE rather than heat. feels icky but does work better for that, at least in my experience as someone who deals with this a few times a year.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    I dont think its a spasm, its more like a deep muscle tear feeling, just a soreness, like you've just done exercise for the first time in months and you're sore the next day, this just happens to be deep in around the tail bone/lower spine. It was a constant sore, not just when i moved or used it, i'll relate it to my arthritic knees, kind of that type of pain? Hard to describe there i guess.

                                    Really at this point, i'm not doing anything for it. I did soak in the tub today, but that was partly because it was cold/rainy and it sounded good...
                                    Your Horse's Home On The Road!


                                    • #19
                                      Warmth feels good initially but propagates inflammation in the longer term. I would avoid it.

                                      Stretching before exercise is one of the most common means of injury, I would avoid that too.

                                      Ice is your friend I had my left knee entirely reconstructed 3 years ago. I am allergic to all NSAIDs. My pain management program was; morphine pump for 3 days, Oxycontin for 2 days beyond that. Ice everyday 2x for 6 weeks. Now I crave icing if I hurt.

                                      It is possible that you have alignment probems, nerve pinching or arthritis in your spine/tail bone. Have a Dr check it.

                                      If you are OK, I'd recommend yoga and pilates.
                                      See those flying monkeys? They work for me.


                                      • #20
                                        Not a dressage rider, but definitely have back issues. One thing that I've found that helps when my back is really tight is to get on a horse bareback. I just walk around slowly and let the his movement help my back to swing. It helps to have a real steady-eddy horse to do this on... no spooking!