Applied Posture Riding - hamstring stretch

  • Age Injury Pain Fear The Damaged Horse Rider

     

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    The older rider just needs a little bit of help in certain areas.

    Age affects our strength, our flexibility, our physical endurance. Age gives us experience, hindsight, knowledge, and drives our passion. The older person takes less physical stress, less impact to create more damage, poorer healing, and a longer rehab and then, of course, a loss of confidence.  When I was young, I was strong, confident, and skilled.

    I had very few falls, I broke a few bones and they healed. I never suffered fear or a loss of confidence. Now I am old...er. Injury is affecting me as a rider. Shoulder tendon tears, lumbar herniated discs, and broken limbs in the past affect me now.

    Age Injury Pain Fear, A New Experience For Me?

    I did not expect old age symptoms to affect until I was old. It has snuck up on me, though. In 2013 my horse got bogged in the dam and struggled his way out. I grabbed for the neck strap but he went one way and I went the other way as I was flung out of the saddle. I landed next to him but I had ripped my shoulder apart.

    This was a simple bad luck fall. My age was the problem, my tendons just tore apart. Maybe 10 years younger they may have just stretched???

     I had surgery repaired my shoulder did all my own exercises and fully recovered, the fall was not a confidence hitter,...... just bad luck. I returned to riding, after 3 months of rehab, strength was good, confidence was good, all was good, then bang! The horse hit a bank, hit the deck, and rammed me into the ground, shoulder first. I suffered a grade 3 rupture of my AC joint in the same shoulder.

    Just bad luck really! Age or bad riding? 6 weeks in a sling more rehab but to no avail more surgery needed.

    Well, while planning surgery dates protecting my shoulders I did ride, gentle safe riding, I didn't lift anything just kept riding while waiting for a surgery date. Bang the other shoulder is ripped apart lunging a horse....2 shoulders needing surgery now. The right one to re-repair the torn cuff and the ruptured AC joint and the left one needing a cuff repair.

    Well, the left has been done and soon the right shoulder is to be done.

    I still have another repair on the right shoulder to look forward to.....Time off work, many $1000 for medical expenses, pain, time to heal, time to think, time to plan. Time to worry about what else may happen, and of course everybody suggesting it is time I gave up horses!!! I now have experience of age, injury, pain, and fear. I also have others telling me to give it all up.

    This is a scenario I get emails about nearly every day. Riders returning to the sport after a long time away.....scared. Riders returning to riding after having children..scared. Riders returning from a major injury..scared! Riders new to the sport, taking it up at a later time in their life..scared. Well as you can read the history is similar, that is, an injury, trauma, older bodies, pain, weakness, and a loss of confidence. Me at the moment.

    Recovering From Injury and Fear

    shoulder injury websizeI am physically accepting time for healing. As a Physio I have knowledge. I will start a range of movement stretches soon, once I have the range I will start gravity-free exercises. From there I will add strength and movement pattern exercises. Core exercises have never been stopped as well as posture movement pattern exercises. I  will then pick up all the Applied Posture Riding Movement Patterns and plan to get back in the saddle within the next 6 weeks.

    I have to address my fear, though.

    The past  18 months have been filled with bad luck, pain, expense, and time healing. Before my first fall in the dam, I was a strong confident, skilled, and very safe rider. I practice safe procedures, I wear a helmet, chaps, a neck strap, my gear is always well fitted and safe.

    I understand the horse I am riding and the stage of training he is at. I warm up correctly and don't take chances on anything. I have been in this industry for a long time.

    Well, my bad luck continued and I had to put my horse down due to a bad luck injury, so now I am in the position do I start again or do I retire and just teach. Well, I still face one more surgery on my right shoulder, I have to buy another horse. I am recovering physically I am suffering financially and psychologically. I don't want to just be a trail rider. I want to ride and train and compete at a low level and teach.

    I revisit 18 months ago and focus on my skills, my strength, and talents as a rider. I respect my age and luck. I plan to buy another horse and start again. I still have passion and time to enjoy. If fear is going to inhibit me I will look internally and gain confidence from knowing I am skilled and ready. I have given this advice, so now I will use it. The Applied Posture Riding Movement Patterns are still my principal routines to follow.  

    I don't want to just be a trail rider (no offense to those who do). I want to ride and train and compete at a low level and teach. I respect my age and luck. I plan to buy another horse and start again. I still have passion and time to enjoy. If fear is going to inhibit me I will look internally and gain confidence from knowing I am skilled and ready. I have given this advice, so now I will use it. 

     

  • 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