Applied Posture Riding - disc injury and horse riding

  • A Disc Herniation And What Not To Do As A Horse Rider

    Do You Have A Disc Hernia In Your Lower Back?

    Is Back Pain Affecting Your Riding?

    Have You Been Told To Give Up Riding?

    Doctors and medical professionals will always err on the conservative side and the uninformed will always view horse riding as a high-risk sport, especially with a back injury.

    leanne liftingWell, I have written extensively on this topic, I have suffered a  disc prolapse myself and was told to never ride a horse again. I was also given many stretches by my treating therapist that increased my pain and pressure on my spinal nerves.

    Many horse riders suffer from a lower back injury of some description. The disc is the most common structure injured. The advice and rehab programs that are given to many horse riders do not come from a therapist who knows about horse riding. This is devastating for those who are told to give it away.

    Time to heal is very important and understanding the biomechanics of the injury and movement patterns used in riding is essential.

    If you want more information in this area then look at my Applied Posture Riding program

    Stretches You Need To Avoid With A  Disc Hernia Injury.

    You must avoid any stretch or exercise that pushes the lower spine into flexion.

    Lumbar flexion will increase the pressure through the disc and cause it to bulge or herniate further into the spinal structures.

    This increases the risk of a full-blown prolapse.

    Never stretch toward the floor with a disc injury. Sitting increases the pressure through the discs. Stretching your head towards your knees puts enormous pressure on the disc. Stretches that increase the disc pressure are very dangerous, especially in the early stages of recovery.

    All stretches for a disc hernia must be carefully set up and the patient must know what structure they are stretching and at what level do you push it. No pain No gain is only good if you know what the pain is.

     Be safe, learn about your injury, and return to riding with good healing, good strength, and confidence you are recovering well.

     Certain stretches may well be increasing the injury or increasing the nerve damage...be aware!  

    Twisting and Sitting is extremely stressful on your disc. Avoid this type of stretching.

    All stretches for a disc hernia must be carefully set up and the patient must know what structure they are stretching and how much pain can be induced. No pain, No gain is only good if you know what the pain is.

    Back bending is a great stretch if done correctly.

    If you want more information, contact me, and if you wish to purchase my Applied Posture Riding Program.

     

     

  • Common Injuries Suffered By Horse Riders

    bruise by horse websizeBelieve it or not! Horseback riding carries a higher injury rate than motorcycle riding. On average, motorcyclists suffer an injury once every 7000 hours of riding. By contrast, an equestrian (horseback rider) may have a serious accident once every 350 hours.

    Locations and types of injury

    shoulder injury websizeInjuries commonly occur in the upper extremities,  the wrist, elbow, and shoulder are easy targets for being pinned or caught or flung around causing an injury. The lower extremity injuries, involving the knee, ankle, and foot, are more frequent in rodeos and less common in other equestrian activities.

    Although most accidents occur while riding a horse, some take place in the stable while handling, grooming, or feeding the horse. The stable is a dangerous area for repetitive type injuries. The lower back is susceptible to strains and trauma from lifting. The horse is in close proximity and always at risk of kicking or biting or fleeing another horse.

    People can be kicked, crushed, pushed over at any time. Serious injuries, such as an injury to the spinal region, can leave permanent impairment, possibly resulting in paralysis. 

    15932304 back acheA herniated disc is the most common injury. Others may cause long-term side effects, such as seizures from a head injury. Even a simple mild injury can result in permanent loss of range and or strength on various body parts. The most frequent types of injuries are bruises, strains, and sprains, which affect the soft tissues (skin, ligaments, tendons, and muscles).

    Other types of injuries include fractures (broken bones), dislocations, and concussions. The seriousness of the injury will determine the time away from the horse and from work. Many injuries can be healed with rest, however, many require surgery and a lengthy rehab period. Deaths resulting from horseback riding injuries are not very common. Most deaths are a result of a traumatic injury to the head.

    Safety

    Approved safety standard hardshell helmets should be worn at all times when you are mounted on the horse. The helmet must always be securely fastened and should be replaced after any significant impact. Many riding and pony clubs have very strict rules regarding the use of helmets. However, many trail riding and pleasure riding clubs choose not to wear a helmet leaving them vulnerable to severe injury.

    Numerous injuries are related to being caught in the stirrup and dragged by the horse. A properly matched boot-stirrup combination is very important. The size of the boot must be 2cm smaller than the stirrup width. Release catches are available on some saddles to prevent dragging if your foot is caught in the stirrup.

    stock photo 7007831 riding boot Correct positioning of the foot in the stirrup is also important. This is taught at all registered riding and pony clubs. Riders should wear properly fitted boots and nonskid gloves. Do not wear loose-fitting or baggy clothing. All riding equipment should be maintained and inspected thoroughly before venturing out.

    Body-protecting gear can be used to prevent soft tissue injuries and rib fractures; however, it does not protect the spine from injury and does not protect against a massive crushing blow to the chest. Some horses are safer than others, but no horse is 100% safe. 

    The medical community has a responsibility to educate the horse riding public and to participate in investigations requested by the horse organizations. If you want to improve your Rider skill, balance confidence and ride better and safer then have a look at my program

    For Information on The Applied Posture Riding Membership Programuse this link

    Be safe everyone.
     
     
  • Managing Injuries In Horse Riders

    We all know riding is our passion and we all know the general public, health professionals in particular label horse riding dangerous. Well everybody is right but to be fair more money is spent on contact sports to rehabilitate injuries than in horse riding.

    Horse riding produces more repetitive inflammatory injuries rather than high impact traumas. Although my injury is an impact injury from a direct fall many riders suffer ongoing pain, stiffness, and soreness in many parts of their body on a daily basis. Shoulders are a primary target for sprains, strains, and minor trauma injuries.

    Lifting, throwing, pulling, tugging, dragging, rails around the tail ramp on a float, etc all cause pain. All these objects including throwing rugs and lifting feed buckets, even grooming horses regularly all affect the shoulder and or upper limb joints. The lower back is another common and painful area to affect horse riders.

    So How Do We Manage Injuries In Horse Riders?

    I believe and state "horse riding is good for your body" I state "horse riding is not bad for your back". The job of caring for your horse is the damaging part of the sport. Also, obviously, I have to say falling off IS bad for you, but if you don't fall off and ride to your own level then horse riding is one of the best sports for fitness, tone, and happiness.

    Managing Skill level

    ben and rusty 2A strong lower leg is essential for confidence and skills. Horse riders seem to spend so much money on lessons. Well, not all instructors will teach you good skills. If you are progressing and your strength, confidence, and performance improve then your instructor is of good value. If your instructor begins to reproduce the same lesson over and over and repeats the same instruction then.

    1. You have reached the limit of that instructor and time to change, or

    2. You have a block in yourself you need another approach or more professional instruction, or

    3. You need more time between lessons to establish the skills you are learning.

    Re point 1. Many instructors are great with the initial basics and great to a certain level. This is a good thing but if you are advancing beyond the skills of your instructor then don't be held back and move on.

    Re point 2. Many instructors are able to identify rider problems but don't have the skill or knowledge to fix them. Eg. commonly I hear from riders who are told over and over "You're crooked..straighten up", repeated every lesson. Yes, the instructor can identify the problem but the solution requires much more insight than just "Straighten Up"! This is one of the most common problems I hear about from riders. This is a problem that requires much more knowledge from a professional.

    The Applied Posture Riding program has detailed information about this. Gymkhana Clare 2012 068 websizeA rider will never be straight in the saddle if they can't sit straight on a chair, walk straight or lie straight. It may be their spine, it may be their hips, it may be their pelvis.  In many cases,  long term bad habits and lack of stretching can affect your riding posture.

    Without knowledge of the musculoskeletal system, a riding instructor will not be able to instruct a rider on HOW to fix their riding posture. Good skills lead to better and safer riding.

    Managing Minor Injuries and Pain.

     It seems a good idea to manage minor aches and pains before they become major aches and pains. We all manage pain... we don't manage NO pain. So if you have minor aches then learn to deal with them every day before they develop into serious problems that will require months of rehab, money, and time away from horses not just riding.

    A broken shoulder cannot even feed a horse let alone rug or, ride a horse. Minor shoulder pain can lead to a complete spontaneous rupture over time as it decays away slowly. Bang one day it is fine the next day it is ruptured! It happens!! Learn to stretch and exercise properly every day, don't assume riding is enough.! I have a great program to manage NO pain as well as manage existing injury.

    Managing Major Injury as a Horse Rider.

    stock photo 4145745 impromptu exit Lower back pain doesn't mean stop horse riding!  Of course, when you have a major injury you need to seek local professional medical advice and you need to follow it. Having scans and seeing specialists in their field is essential. If you break a bone and it takes six weeks to heal then it takes six weeks to heal, you or I cannot speed time up. If you try, it usually ends up needing more time because you wreck it. A CT scan or an MRI scan tell the truth, it is what it is. Healing time is real as well.

    I look at the cause of pain and deal with why you have pain as well as how to manage and fix it. I look at the state of the injury and give advice about the mechanism that will harm and help. It may be as simple as changing the way you do what you do not stop what you do. EG. I stand on a bench to brush my horse to protect my shoulders. I use a sack trolley to move feed around. I have gaps in my fence to walk through rather than climb under or over. I use a back brace for pain control in my back.

    My passion is horses and I also love seeing riders return to their passion after injury and most of all love seeing riders achieve what they have been told to stay away from If you have a problem with your riding and have reached a block in your progress and have a look at the Applied Posture Riding program. 

    If you want to follow my way of training join my, follow Applied Posture Riding Membership Program

  • Preventing and Managing Headaches and the Horse Rider

      Headaches are a common problem in the general population but especially prevalent in horse riders. There are numerous causes for headaches, but one of the most common and easy to fix, causes is poor posture and poor movement patterns.

    The upper three neck joints C1, C2, C3  are associated with the nerves that supply the brain and the head.

    If these nerves are squeezed or irritated in any way they may well cause a headache.  A migraine is a further squeezing of these nerves and results in symptoms like an aura, nausea, vomiting, and severe head pain.

    A migraine is a severe headache. Slumped and Upright Standing Posture Headaches that are caused by poor posture and the movement or lack of movement in the first 3 vertebrae can be fixed or at least managed. 

    The poking chin posture (see the photo on the left) causes stress on the upper neck joints and this squeezes the nerves to the brain and head and results in a headache.

    As a Physiotherapist, I see many patients with a headache. Many of these have recurring neck pain and stiffness as well as headaches. Many have a pattern to their headache and can cope until one day the headache escalates and then becomes a problem. Horse riders start to notice their headaches are more frequent after riding or after a competition or a lesson.

    This is most likely due to poor riding posture and the vibration and movement of the horse. Unless there is a medical cause, most headaches are what we call 'cervicogenicc' (cervico means neck and genic means the origin of). 

    Poor neck posture and poor general posture will nearly always result in a headache, given enough time. Repetitive behaviors and postures resulting in the neck being in a poor posture will result in headaches. These postures are the positions we use in our daily work and in our riding posture.

    So what is the Relationship between the Horse Rider and Headaches?

    DSC 0036The ultimate poor neck posture comes from the round shoulder posture. In this photo, the position is exaggerated for you to see the problem. A person with round shoulders on the ground will have round shoulders in the saddle. When the shoulders are forward and so-called round then the neck will be in a forward poking chin posture. This posture puts the upper neck in an extended position and this squeezes the joints, nerves, and muscles.

    The chin is up and the abdomen is closed down, so the core muscle does not work either. Over a period of time, the joints become stiff and painful the muscles shorten and the nerves become inflamed. The nerve then refers the pain into the head as a headache. The increased pressure of riding in a round shoulder posture will increase the pressure and hence nerve pain.

    Horse riding is a major cause of headaches. All other activities associated with horses can put pressure on the neck as well. Many do not use any of their postural muscles and are just hanging off their joints. Many people spend many hours in this posture. Driving, computer work, housework, are just a few of the activities that reproduce this posture. As horse riders, we then adapt the same posture in the saddle. Horse riders get told to sit up and put your shoulders back.

    How do you fix it?

    DSC 0035The easy quick answer is to straighten up, correct your posture, and manage your mobility. The long answer is to educate yourself and manage it with knowledge. It is important to learn how and why you adopt the postures you do and then become educated on how to fix yourself and manage your pain with posture management.

    Not many therapists will be able to relate your headaches to horse riding unless they know about the horse riding posture. 

    Managing Headaches as a Rider can be easy.

    The control of headaches in horse riders is the same as for all people; however, I put an increased emphasis on particular features of treatment because I am a horse rider. 

    To control headaches your upper neck joints must have mobility. Your muscles must have strength and endurance. You must have strong core stability as well. The deep core muscle strength will reinforce the correct upper neck posture. I start with the core muscles of every patient I treat for headaches.

    The success of management without this knowledge is always limited. I give simple but effective stretching exercises and I educate patients about their posture. I advise all my horse riding pupils to follow the Applied Posture Riding program.

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    If you would like to learn more please join my Applied Posture Riding Membership Program. 

    cheers Annette Willson