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How to Avoid Kissing Spines: Lessons from the Old Masters

March 2018 by Dr Sabina Holle, VS, PhD , PGDip VA, SH Acupuncture Integrated Therapies and Training

Adams’ 'Lameness in Horses' (1987)1 describes kissing spines as a condition of the vertebral column in horses caused by overlapping and/or impingement of the dorsal spinous processes (DSP) in the thoracic and/or lumbar vertebrae. 

Kissing spines lead to pain in the back with the associated avoidance behaviour, such as reluctance to be saddled, and inability to perform in the intended sport of equitation or racing. The etiology (origin of the condition) in this edition of Adams' is mainly observed to be due to injury in the back, with some ambiguity as to other causes. As yet, it does not mention training as one of the potential causative factors.