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The Back is the Linchpin

December 2016 by Naomi Miller, Equinox Balance

Riders sometimes feel that something just ‘isn’t right’ in their horse’s movement. Subtle performance problems are often the reasons I’m called to treat horses. These issues are the most difficult to diagnose1 and treat with biomedicine, but tend to respond very well to acupuncture2.

A common culprit is back pain, which is generally a diagnosis of exclusion3. Techniques, such as nerve blocks and flexion tests, can pinpoint lameness in the lower limbs and joints, but are inadequate when diagnosing pain in the back and upper limbs2. Partly for this reason, back pain tends to be under-diagnosed and poorly treated4.