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:
|3/6/17 - Pain and atrophy in the long back muscles|
|4/3/17 - Pain spot and atrophy in front of glute/lumbar connection|
|4/3/17 - Pain spot and atrophy behind glute muscle|
|4/13/17 - Hip muscle - knotted and restricted|
|4/19/17 - Tight muscle|
|4/30/17 - Pain spot behind last rib|
|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:
|7/28/17 - Muscle atrophy along topline, around|
tailhead, and over ribs
|8/20/17 - Muscle atrophy along topline - withers look higher|
than usual; you can almost count the vertebra
|8/20/17 - muscles behind lumbar are atrophied, causing the |
lumbar spine and SI to have a "dip" between them
|8/20/17 - long back muscles beside spine |
are painful and atrophied
|8/20/17 - dip in front of and behind withers|
most likely trapezius muscle atrophy
|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.
|8/23/17 - some sort of muscle atrophy behind his elbow.|
|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.