Can Soft tissue therapy and sports massage help horse riders?
Whatever your discipline, horse riding is an excellent exercise that allows you to enjoy spending time outdoors. There are various physical and mental benefits.
Research commissioned by the British Horse Society (BHS) and published in 2011 examined the psychological and social benefits of horse riding when it was undertaken for 30 minutes, three times a week.
Unsurprisingly results showed that physical exercise encouraged positive changes in mood, social interactions and personal emotions including anxiety and confidence. (I wonder if this was conducted by the ministry of the blinking obvious!)
Horse riding requires sustained exertion of the body’s main muscle groups. Which unfortunately means many chances for injury. Despite all of its benefits, horse riding is still a sport and can cause pain, aches and trauma to the body. It can be a dangerous sport and riders are always susceptible to various injuries.
From minor injuries such as bruising, aches and strains to ligament tearing and fractures, there are many risks. Being thrown or falling from a horse can lead to extreme injuries like spinal cord injuries and bone fractures.
Shoulder injuries (collar bone breaks, rotator cuff tears) and soft tissue damage are very common and the joints in the lower body.
Particularly the hips, knees and ankles can take some serious impact while riding. This can place pressure on the intervertebral discs in the spine and this can cause degeneration later down the line.
The tendons that connect the bones to the muscles can also suffer. Over time, the stress can lead to repetitive strain injuries or tendonitis. The most common injuries are pulled or strained muscles, especially in the adductor muscles in the thigh.
Adductors are used to bring the thighs together, horse riders can suffer from tears or ruptures in the adductors — a condition typically known as a groin strain.
There are five muscles in the adductor group and a groin strain can involve any of these muscles. The strain is graded 1, 2 or 3 based on its severity.
Back to the yard
Equestrians may also suffer from lower back pain, caused by heavy lifting and repetitive yard tasks. Upper body injuries from handling young or untrained, energetic horses that pull away from the equestrian or stand up and kick.
However it’s not all extreme action. On more than one occasion I’ve treated knees that have tendonitis form repeated shovelling and raking!
There are so many muscle groups and opportunities for injury. The good news is there are various preparation and aftercare methods recommended by medical professionals and therapists that can help.
Most equestrians understand the need to adhere to a regular exercise and recovery program in order to improve their strength and stamina.
This has a direct impact on their riding skills. Regular treatment sessions will help keep their muscles in good condition and improve flexibility. It also makes for a more relaxed rider.
Equestrians commonly suffer from overworked core muscles and this can cause imbalance in the lower back. Simply stretching cannot properly warm these muscle up.
Your massage therapist can help identify, address and relieve the issues that might be affecting your ride. Stiff, tight muscles often lead to injuries.
A set of stretches and warm up exercises tailored to you can help you achieve better balance, boost control and a more relaxed seat as a rider.
Countless studies have shown that massage and its stretching techniques and abilities to warm muscles up, help to prevent injuries.
It will also encourage and speed up the recovery process ensuring that injured muscles repair in the correct way. This is a practical, hands on approach to solving your issues.
Soft tissue work and sports massage has a positive effect on muscle recovery and boosting athletic performance.
By improving body awareness, it can help improve your concentration and bond with the horse, which results in a more enjoyable ride for both of you.
Of course massage therapy is also known for its therapeutic, stress relieving nature which is always a bonus!
To discuss your needs or issues give me a call or drop me a message on 07980 339 864 or email [email protected]