Many riders struggle with back pain, especially in the lower back. Pain is a sign that something is wrong, and it’s important not to ignore it.
There are many possible causes of back pain while riding. We discuss a few of them below and what you can do. While this post might give you some clues as to the source of your back pain, there’s no substitute for professional medical advice. If you’re struggling with back pain, see your doctor to determine the root cause.
Weak Core Muscles
If your core muscles are weak, they can’t properly support your spine. This leads to too much motion while riding, which puts extra pressure on your spinal discs. Core muscles aren’t just limited to your abs—they stretch all the way around to your back and support your whole torso. Strengthening your core will give you more control while riding and reduce excessive motion in the spine that can lead to chronic back pain.
SI (Sacroiliac) Joint Issues
Another common cause of back pain is SI joint dysfunction. The SI joints connect the ilium bones (the bones in your pelvis that look like “wings”) to your sacrum. When you’re riding you can’t put your feet on a flat surface to absorb the motion—your hips absorb it all. This puts extra pressure on the SI joints, which can then become inflamed. On long rides, this can take its toll. Strengthening your core and keeping your hips flexible with targeted exercises are the best ways to prevent hip and SI joint issues.
Poor Saddle Fit
Saddle issues (addressed below) can reduce hip flexibility while you’re riding, so it’s important to have a well-fitting saddle and to make sure you’re using good form. Female riders especially tend to roll forward toward the pubic bone. This puts too much pressure on the front of the pelvis.
Getting a new saddle pad can make a huge difference in reducing pain during riding. Sedelogic orthopedic saddle pads are designed with shock absorbing layers that conform to your body—and your horse’s. Vitafloor USA offers high-quality Sedelogic horse saddle pads for every riding style, from Western and endurance riding to hunting and jumping.
When you’re stressed, your muscles tighten up. And when your muscles are tight, you don’t move with your horse like you should. If you’re especially tight in the neck, shoulders, and upper back, it could be tension from stress or worry. Sometimes life circumstances lead to worry, other times riding is the cause. If the latter is true for you, it’s worth learning techniques to stay calm and focused while riding.
Everyday activities could also be causing your back pain. If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer or routinely hunch over or lift heavy items without using proper form, you’re bound to develop back pain. Always bend your legs when lifting. Also try using ergonomic equipment at work.
It’s also possible the cause of your back pain is anatomical. Women who have large breasts and people who carry extra weight tend to experience more back pain. Those with spinal conditions, such as kyphosis or scoliosis are also more likely to have back pain since the muscles in one part of the back often must overcompensate when the spine is misaligned. If you suspect it’s your body and not your technique that is causing your back pain, see your doctor.
Get the Right Equipment
If you’re not comfortable in your saddle you’re more likely to use poor form that leads to back pain. It’s worth investing in a quality riding pad to protect your physical health. Vitafloor USA is a leader in equestrian supplies. We offer a complete line of custom pads for every rider and every riding style. Browse our online shop to see our complete line of quality products.