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Testimonial from a horse rider

When I first met RH she was experiencing almost constant pain at the base of her spine which was making riding and other everyday activities uncomfortable. On examination, her thoracic spine (mid back) was relatively flat and stiff and her lumbar spine (low back) had an exaggerated curvature. In the ideal spine, the whole consists of 4 curves which interact with each other and are structured to each take their share of the load. When riding, the forward movement of the horse is translated into the rider moving up and down so the spine has to absorb a lot of compression (downwards pressure). In the case of RH, as her mid back was not very flexible, too much of this force was being absorbed at the base of her spine and had caused irritation.

Over the course of a few months, with treatment and a few simple exercises, the mid back softened and began to move more freely and the pressure was relieved on the lower back. Other areas that came to light and were addressed were: very tight quadriceps (muscles at the front of the thigh), adductors (muscles in the inside of the thigh, used to grip the horse) and a slight rotation in the pelvis. These were possibly subconscious attempts to limit the forces transmitted to the spine.

The effects of all this treatment were that RH was now riding with her whole body working as a unit and could tolerate long rides (currently up to 80km) with few ill effects. Also as we addressed the pelvic rotation RH became more evenly balanced on her horse. RH’s equine physio also noticed that her horse’s musculature was more even on the shoulders where it had previously been asymmetric.

From the point of view of an osteopath, this is an incredibly satisfying outcome which partly stems from identifying the correct issues and removing barriers to their natural healing process, but also from the engagement of the patient. RH was highly motivated to get better; she was always willing to do any exercises and we were able to time treatment to have maximum effect and still fit in her longer rides.

Posted 16-10-15

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Avalon Osteopathic Clinic, Unit 2, Westway Farm, Bishop Sutton, Somerset, BS39 5XP