Oregon Horseback Riders: Stop the Stress/Pain Yo-Yo of Hip Pain and Low Back Pain with the Alexander Technique

3 Tips to Stop the Stress/Pain Yo-Yo

As a horseback rider, you may have had an injury or two in your time. Whether it’s a knee problem, sciatica or low back pain, have you ever noticed that tension in the area makes your pain worse?

Stress/Pain Yo-Yo

yoyoguycropped-Image © Guy Cochrane, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image © Guy Cochrane, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I call this negative feedback loop the stress/pain yo-yo, because pain, tension and stress feed on each other.

  • Pain leads to emotional, and mental stress
  • Emotional and mental stress leads to physical tension
  • Repeated tension leads to pain
  • and vice-versa

For example, my client Amy had hip tightness and pain whenever she got on her horse. She suffered with sciatica and low back pain for years.

It got bad enough that she was considering giving up riding. As you can imagine, that was the last thing Amy wanted to do.

During a series of Alexander Technique lessons, Amy learned to recognize where exactly she was tensing, and to let the tension dissolve.

Whenever she released the tension in her hips, she had a better connection with her saddle and clearer communication with her horse. Her rides went from painful tug-of-war sessions to fluid, connected rides.

Alexander Technique Tools

All she had to do was remember the awareness tools she learned in her Alexander lessons:

  1. Recognize your habit (in Amy’s case, clenching her butt muscles and tightening her hips
  2. Say no to the habit (with an Alexander Technique instructor’s gentle hands-on & verbal guidance)
  3. Make friends with gravity (stop clenching and release downward into the saddle in order for your torso to lengthen up)

Amy learned that when she could release tension in painful situations, the pain greatly lessened or went away completely.

To let go of unconscious tension so you can release pain, check out the Secrets of Pain-Free Horseback Riders Workshop on Thursday, March 6, from 6:30 – 8:00 pm in SW Portland.

More info here. Hope to see you there!

About Emily Clark

Feel free to use this article in your newsletter or on your website or blog. Just make sure to include the bio and link below at the end of the article.

Emily Clark, of TheSuppleRider.com, is an Alexander Technique Certified Instructor who teaches horseback riders of all disciplines to eliminate pain and improve their posture so they can ride as one every ride.

She’s worked with equestrians for over 11 years. She loves working with riders because they’re so passionate about what they do.

Comments & Feedback:

  1. Nice Post.We are also in same field.For more information contact us at our website.http://bit.ly/1JG8EwU

  2. Thanks for informative website. I was just having a conversation with a client of mine who is seeing a physical therapist and me (an Alexander Technique teacher) to reduce her back pain while riding. The PT and I are giving her conflicting information and I told her to look for AT teachers who teach horseback riders and she found your site and feels hopeful that she can reduce pain by releasing rather than tucking and squeezing her butt!! I’m so glad she found your site you were the tie breaker we needed to begin moving forward.

    That being said do you ever do workshops for horseback riders? I would love to bring you to Cincinnati to do a workshop with our Community of Alexander teachers and local horse people to show us your approach with riders.

    • Emily Clark says:

      Kristen, thanks so much for visiting the site. Glad it was helpful. I know it’s easy for folks to get lots of conflicting information!

      I take it you’re an Alexander teacher as well? Nice to meet you. :) Yes, I do do workshops for horseback riders! Coming to Cincinnati would be fun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share Your Comments: