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Back Pain

This is an excerpt from my dissertation and the reasons for doing it.

The Objectives of the Trial.

For the purpose of this study I looked at the muscles of the back, trunk and pelvis that provide stability, flexion and extension of the vertebral column and why they are important to the biomechanics of the horse and its soundness.


My motivation for this study was to see how back pain manifests itself as an inability to perform and whether dynamic in hand stretches could produce a change in the shape of the horses’ thoracolumbar spine and musculature. The exercise routine is based on human research exercises for back pain and sport injuries. I will discuss which muscles work as stabilisers or shock absorbers, create flexion and extension or work antagonistically in order to provide therapeutic stretches that target the correct muscles. I will look at the effect poor posture has on muscles and fascia.  I also look in detail at the thoraco lumbar region of the spine in order to establish the function of the joints in relation to movement, rotation and locomotion.  The exercise routine is based on human and equine research exercises for back pain and sport injuries and to provide visual results of the exercises. Having collected information on the muscle groups and considered the role of the horse and its purpose, I chose muscle specific baited stretches.


This study is to provide visual evidence that the effect simple, regular stretches has on the length or drop of the thoracolumbar spine. This study will offer full explanations of the back/spinal muscles, hip flexors and abdominals that all improve equine posture and reduce pain. “Instability of the spine may play an important role in the development of back pain in humans (Panjabi, 2003), and it has been shown that spinal stability is related to recruitment and control of the paraspinal muscle stiffness (Moorhouse 2005).” 


This intends to be user friendly for horse and pony owners by interpreting science-based evidence into easy to understand explanations and provide the reasons why these dynamic stretches can have such a huge impact on the horse’s movement and rehabilitation of painful backs.

The muscles I will target are the Epaxial muscles: Longissimus Dorsi, Illiocostalis, Multifidus.

Hip flexors: Psoas major, Illiacus, Psoas Minor and the abdominals: Rectus abdominus, Transvers abdominus and external oblique.

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