Horse Exercises For Back Pain In Humans


Experts have suggested that through short-term physiotherapeutic exercise, prevention of back pain may be obtained. This involves strengthening the multifidus muscles nestled around the vertebral columns, which controls and supports the movement of the spine. This program intended to strengthen the multifidus muscles of a horse; therefore, these horse exercises for back pain in humans are recommended in the following article. The results obtained after muscle-targeted exercises involving racehorses have prompted physicians to propose this method in humans.

Horse exercises for humans? Now that's an interesting concept



Horse Exercises For Back Pain In Humans

Common sense says it’s better to prevent back pain than to treat the back after it starts to hurt. Now it appears there could be an effective way to do this for our horses through simple, but specific, exercises.


Chartered equine physical therapist and equitation scientist Gillian Tabor, MSc, ResM candidate, presented the results of recent supporting research at the 8th International Society of Equitation Science conference, held July 18-20 in Edinburgh, Scotland.


According to Tabor, who completed the research with Hayley Randle, PhD, equitation science researcher at Duchy College in Cornwall, U.K., strengthening a horse’s multifidus muscle through a short-term physiotherapeutic exercise program could yield long-term benefits in preventing equine back pain. Nestled around the vertebral column, the multifidus muscle controls and supports spinal movement and protects it from injury.


“Given that back pain is relatively common in riding horses, affecting a varying percent of horses in each discipline–including up to 40% of dressage horses–we have to really consider not only the welfare but also the economic implications of having a horse that can’t race or compete,” Tabor said.


To investigate multifidus muscle development through her exercise regimen in active horses, Tabor and colleagues studied 12 Thoroughbred racehorses (at least 3 years old) over a period of 12 weeks. Half the horses received multifidus muscle-targeted exercise five days each week in addition to their regular training schedule, whereas the other half received their regular training only. The researchers monitored the size of the horses’ multifidus muscles via ultrasound regularly, from before the exercise program began until after it ended.


After reviewing the results of the study, the team found that the additional exercise increased the size of the multifidus muscles significantly, whereas the control group’s multifidus muscles remained the same size throughout the course of the study. Furthermore, the muscle growth reached its maximum only six weeks into the study, after which it remained stable, Tabor said.


Acupuncture has become more widely accepted as an alternative therapy for horses. Learn more about the history of this ancient Eastern medical technique and its application to horses in Understanding Equine Acupuncture.


“In the first two weeks the riders also noticed a difference in the horses in the experimental group, saying they found them more supple,” she added.


Tabor cautioned that although the current research doesn’t confirm that the exercises actually help prevent back pain in horses, previous research shows that similar exercises are capable of preventing or reducing back pain in humans. And because the multifidus muscle is often reduced in horses with back pain, developing the muscle would likely have the opposite effect of preventing or reducing back pain, she said.


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Horsing around has a new meaning when it comes to exercises oriented at developing and strengthening the multifidus muscles nestled around the spinal column, as it has been found to produce positive results in horses. Extensive research has been carried out on subjecting racehorses to exercises aimed at strengthening the multifidus muscles, but this does not confirm that it would be effective for humans. However, horse exercises for back pain in humans may be worth a try, as when you have severe lower back pain you are desperate to try anything that might work.



 Dr Scot Gray of Good Back Bad Back teaches women how to eliminate neck pain with simple back stretches and back exercises.




Staying fit and being healthy is all about what exercises you’re doing and how you’re doing them. Learn about the basics of fitness and put together a routine that works for you with help from health and fitness expert Jeremy Shore of Live Strong.





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