The Sacro-iliac Joint and why it is important!
Using my skills to treat horses with Bowen Therapy has been very rewarding. Every horse that I have treated along the way improves after every visit and feedback from owners assures me that the horse's are responding well. My aim in what I do is to help the horse have a healthy MIND, BODY and SPIRIT. By achieving this I also know that the horse's owners will also thrive from knowing that their horses are HAPPY!
After treating a variety of horses; different shapes, breeds, sizes and ages, I have found a common area in their body that can be sore or tight. The area that I want to share some more information about is the Sacro-iliac Joint (S.I.J). This joint is where the spine attaches to the pelvis. By looking at the picture below it shows where this joint is located on the horse! The S.I.J is responsible for the movement of the hindquarter. If tight and restricted it can significantly restrict the horse's movement. A horse stepping short in the hindquarter could be seen when the horse is being exercised and even simple handling of the horse can be difficult if this area is sore. Show jumpers and race horses are just two examples of types of disciplines that can S.I.J pain can be common.
Anything you ask your horse to do whether it is clearing a jump, doing lateral work, collecting to work on the bit, turning or simply working forward in a straight line all affects the joint. We need the hindquarter to function properly because this is the area for power and movement.
How to determine S.I.J pain!
- Reluctant to work on the bit
- Not moving forward
- Refusing to jump
- Bucking or kicking out
- Disengaging in the hindquarter
- Not picking up the correct canter lead
- Holds the back tight and rigid with no suppleness
- Reactive when being saddled
This joint also has many muscles surrounding it that aid in supporting the joint as well as assisting in the horse's movement. The muscles that are related to the joint are the gluteals, hamstrings (biceps femoris), thoracic-lumbar fascia and tensor fascia lata. If any of these muscles are tight or sore the joint is restricted and can cause lameness or an uneven/short gait. The spine also can become restricted creating back problems and saddling issues.
More ways to identify...
- Muscle wastage over the hindquarter
- Hunters Bump (seen in the picture)
- Back dips when touched
A Hunter's bump is a bony crest at the top of the horses hindquarter. It can be on one side or present on both. If this is prominent than it can indicate that the horse may have sacro-iliac problems. Placing a flat hand on the highest point of the horses hindquarter and pushing down can cause a reactive response, if this occurs there could be discomfort in the joint.
There are many ways you can improve pain in this area. It is always important to seek a veterinarians advice first as they can treat the area with an injection and determine that the surrounding ligaments are not damaged. This area can also be treated with natural therapies such as Bowen Therapy, massage and acupuncture. These therapies target the body as a whole, treating all the surrounding structures for the S.I.J.
Bowen therapy is great for this area because the treatments target the muscles surrounding the joint to create suppleness and more movement. It releases the fascia surrounding the muscles allowing for the muscles to move freely and work together with the joint to produce the power for the hindquarter.