McTimoney Animal Practitioner Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Signs and Symptoms of Back & Muscle Pain in Horses

Changes in your horse's performance and behaviour can indicate your horse may be suffering from back and muscle pain and misalignments and could benefit from a McTimoney treatment.  These include:

  • Sudden changes in performance such as reluctance to jump, bucking, rearing etc.
  • Uneven muscle development.
  • Stiffness on one rein or reluctance to bend.
  • Disunited canter.
  • Un-level movement especially behind.
  • Signs of back and muscle pain and discomfort when being saddled and indications of girth pain.
  • Uneven shoe or foot wear.
  • Lack of impulsion and reluctance to round the back and engage hindquarters.
  • High head carriage, head tilting and or shaking.
  • Unexplained intermittent lameness.


Causes of Back and Muscle Pain and Misalignments in Horses

Misalignments, back and muscle pain can be caused by sudden accidents or traumas such as:

  • Slips in the field or when being ridden.
  • Getting cast in the stable.
  • Falls or knocks at fences.
  • Trauma to the pelvis or hip from catching on narrow door spaces or gates.
  • Riders coming off over the head and neck causing wrenching or twisting or falling off sideways pulling on the back.
  • Kicks from other horses.
  • Accidents in the trailer when being loaded, unloaded or transported.
  • Landing badly after a jump.


Misalignments, back and muscle pain can also be caused by chronic long term problems such as:

  • Badly fitting saddle causing misalignments in the saddle region and muscle wastage and pain which can also lead to compensatory problems and pain in the lower back.
  • Infrequent visits from the farrier leading to foot imbalances such as long toes and collapsed heels leading to muscle tension and pain in the muscles of the shoulder and the back.
  • Long term or recurrent lameness causing compensatory muscle tightness and pain.
  • Dental pain causing tension in the jaw and poll which can affect the muscles of the neck and back causing pain.
  • Some horses can be more predisposed to back and muscle pain simply due to their conformational differences or extremes such as long or dipped backs.


You must seek advice and consent from your vet before your horse can be treated.


It is important to maintain regular visits from your farrier and to ensure your horse is up to date with dental checks and has good fitting tack that is regularly checked.