Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A look at PSSM - what chronic pain feels like

Pain causes compensation, which leads to muscle atrophy in strange places.  I struggle with muscle and tendon issues, and recognized the patterns in my horse beginning back in late 2015.  While I didn't understand the cause at the time (we didn't get a diagnosis for another full year), I knew something was wrong, even though many around me didn't see it.


Trigger points - pain spots and knots that cause problems for Jax:

PSSM1 horse, trigger points, knotted muscles
3/6/17 - Pain and atrophy in the long back muscles
PSSM1 horse, tight muscles, areas of spasm
4/3/17 - Pain spot and atrophy in front of glute/lumbar connection
PSSM1 horse, trigger points, knotted muscles
4/3/17 - Pain spot and atrophy behind glute muscle
PSSM1 horse, tight muscles, areas of spasm
4/13/17 - Hip muscle - knotted and restricted
PSSM1 horse, trigger points, knotted muscles
4/19/17 - Tight muscle
PSSM1 horse, tight muscles, areas of spasm
4/30/17 - Pain spot behind last rib
PSSM1 horses, tight muscle, areas of restriction
6/1/17 - Lumbar pain and atrophy

These knots and trigger points don't just affect the area immediately surrounding it.  Take a look at this video to see the far-reaching affects of these knots:



Keep in mind the knotted muscles and lumps above, while looking at the muscle atrophy and stress points below:

PSSM1 horses, tight muscle, areas of restriction
7/28/17 - Muscle atrophy along topline, around
tailhead, and over ribs
PSSM horse, compensation pattern, muscle atrophy
8/20/17 - Muscle atrophy along topline - withers look higher
than usual; you can almost count the vertebra
PSSM horse, compensation pattern, muscle atrophy
8/20/17 - muscles behind lumbar are atrophied, causing the
lumbar spine and SI to have a "dip" between them
PSSM horse, compensation pattern, muscle atrophy
8/20/17 - long back muscles beside spine 
are painful and atrophied
PSSM1 horses, compensation patterns, restricted areas
8/20/17 - dip in front of and behind withers
most likely trapezius muscle atrophy
PSSM1 horses, tight muscle, areas of restriction
8/21/17 - Stress line from stomach up to ribs.  Sore spots behind
last rib and sensitive around flanks.  He also has a bit of a heave line.
PSSM1 horses, compensation patterns, restricted areas
8/23/17 - some sort of muscle atrophy behind his elbow.
PSSM1 horses, compensation patterns, restricted areas
9/19/17 - muscles under the stress line bunched and muscle
above line were gone.  A huge sign of compensation and
discomfort.  Saddle fit was not a factor.

Three books that have greatly helped me to not only find these pain spots, but also to alleviate pain and loosen these knots, are:
  • Beating Muscle Injury for Horses by Jack Meagher
  • Beyond Horse Massage by Jim Masterson
  • Stretch Exercises for your Horse by Karin Blignault
I found these books on Amazon, and they've been a life saver.  Beating Muscle Injury for Horses deals with trigger points and cross-fiber massage to loosen up specific knots, and deals with over 20 specific points.  Beyond Horse Massage is a whole-horse method that deals in both touch and gentle stretch/manipulation to help loosen the horse.  Stretch Exercises for you Horse deals specifically with stretches, shows the muscles you are targeting, and also gives ridden exercises to target those muscles.  I also have numerous books on equine fitness, anatomy, and specific exercise genres to help my boy to feel his best.




About the Artist:

horse artist, equine artist, PSSM horse
Since starting my art business in 2004, I have been on a roller coaster ride that's taken me from art, to house flipping, to legal assistant, to horse trainer, and a full 180* back to my artworks.

I'm thankful to get back to my art, and also for the life experiences I've gained.

Things in life that matter the most!  Jen, husband Jared, and Jax








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