Back pain is an issue that can plague horse and human alike. Though back problems in the horse can be difficult to assess and get a handle on at times, new and ongoing research is lending itself to a better understanding of equine back pain and what we might be able to do to help prevent it.
Understanding Back Pain
“Our current model of equine back pain is based on the back pain model in people,” says Dr. Hilary Clayton, equine biomechanics researcher and McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University.
“One of the key underlying principles is that the inter-vertebral joints of the spine, like many other joints in the body, have a set of muscles that move the joint and a set of muscles that stabilize the joint. Although mobility and flexibility of the spine are desirable when we are talking about riding and training the horse, the ability to stabilize the inter-vertebral joints is especially important. Without proper stabilization you get a subtle micro-motion of the joint with weight-bearing, which can set the horse up for developing arthritis of the joint.”
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