Last Updated on March 2, 2022 by Allison Price
This is a complementary approach to SIJC or hunter’s bump injuries.
Hunter’s bumpis a common term used in the barn. It is the subluxation or deterioration of one or both of the sacroiliac joint (SI). This is what you might have seen before. It occurs when you look at the croup of a horse and notice a bump or “point”. The sacroiliac joints complex (SIJC) is made up of SI ligaments and tendinous attachments of muscles to the pelvis, sacrum and sacrum. The tuber sacrale, located near the loin/croup junction, is moved forward by torn ligament attachments when there is an articulation problem between the vertebral columns and the pelvis. If one or both SI joint are dislocated, this can lead to the prominence of the tuber Sacrale (or “hunter’s bump”).
What’s the Deal?
Horses can injure the SIJC by falling, being cast or other traumas. SIJC injuries can be caused by excessive strain, repetitive stress, and a lack of fitness. Secondary to saddle fit, dental problems and rider balance issues, damage can also happen. These injuries are common in many horse breeds, including hunters, jumpers, Standardbred trotters, dressage, and reining horses.
Diagnostics and Symptoms
SIJCS (Stiffness, Lameness, Sciatica, Tight Hamstring Muscles, and Pain in the Hindquarters) are some of the clinical signs. SIJCS horses often complain of poor canter quality, refusal to work on the bit and refusal to jump. A local palpation may reveal mild to severe pain in the SI joint and surrounding muscles. SIJCS symptoms can include a shortening or halting of stride, limitations in hind limb movement or back movement, reluctance of jumping, muscle spasms, and severe pain upon palpation.
A lameness exam, chiropractic assessment, or palpation can help to diagnose the condition. Imaging such as ultrasound, bone scans (scintigraphy), and MRI can determine if soft tissue changes are involved in an injury. Radiographs and x-rays are not usually necessary.
Proper rehabilitation is essential
Anti-inflammatory medications and rest are usually used to treat acute injuries. SIJCS symptoms are usually diagnosed in horses who have not experienced them before. A few days to weeks of rest is recommended. Many horse owners and trainers are guilty of resuming exercise too soon, or too hard, due to the fact that many symptoms and signs are similar to minor injuries. Many horses who have suffered a SIJC injury won’t perform well when they are put back on the job. These horses can be described as “off”, “not quite right”, or “naughty”. The injury to muscles, ligaments, and tendons can not be fully healed if it isn’t treated properly. This can lead to pain and other complications. SIJCS is all about proper diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.
An acupuncture session — dry needles, aquapuncture and/or electrostimulation can help reach the deep muscles acting on the pelvis.
SIJCS sufferers can benefit from acupuncture. It reduces pain and relaxes the muscles and ligaments. Trigger point therapy and needling specific points of acupuncture can help reduce inflammation and subluxations. Aquapuncture (injecting vitamin B12 or saline into specific acupuncture point) and/or electrostimulation are some ways to reach deep muscles that affect the pelvis. These therapies can help with relaxation, muscle stimulation, and negative pattern interruption.
There are many ways to reduce SI subluxations using chiropractic techniques. The chiropractor can adjust directly or indirectly by using an activator, which is a small impacting device that makes tiny impacts on the spine. The amount of force or type of stabilization applied to the vertebral segments may differ between adjustments. Because an adjustment can only affect one motor unit at once, SIJC dysfunction may require multiple treatments.
Cold laser treatmentVeterinary Low Level Laser Therapy works well with acupuncture and chiropractic to stimulate healing at the cellular level, alleviating pain and reducing the prominence of the bump.
VLLLT/Cold Laser Therapy/Veterinary Low Level Laser Therapy is, according to me, the “icing on top” for treating SI injuries. VLLLT stimulates cellular healing, as we discussed in an earlier article about tendon and ligament injuries. Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission Rays (or LASER) is a concentrated coherent light that restores health to the injured cells of the SIJC’s tendons, ligaments and muscles. Laser therapy will target the injury site as well as the brain and neck. This helps to balance the horse.
The combination of VLLLT and chiropractic and acupuncture can relieve pain and reduce or eliminate the prominence or bump in the hunter’s eyes. Horses can be restored to their original function and compete at the highest level after multiple treatments and adjustments. Laser therapy stimulates healing and reduces pain, inflammation, scar tissue, and increases the likelihood of re-injury.
The Rehabilitation Process
Rehabilitation and conditioning are crucial to complete recovery after treatment. SIJCS patients will be able to continue receiving massage, physical therapy, and routine stretching. To prevent injury in the future, it is important to have effective warm-ups and do symmetrical exercises. Stress prevention is key. It’s important to avoid fatigue, keep the horse and rider at a moderate weight, and maintain adequate muscle conditioning. The SIJC can be strengthened by exercising over poles, cavalettis, and gentle hills.
Horse owners know that it can be difficult to prevent injuries from accidents. Your horse’s safety can be improved by avoiding slick surfaces and keeping your paddocks clear of rocks and holes. Horses can be prevented from rolling in large stalls that have adequate bedding. More important than that is maintaining your horse’s strength, posture and fitness. A good riding technique, well-fitting equipment, including saddle fit, bit comfort, and girth are key to success. A piece of equipment that causes rubbing, chafing, or pain can have a significant impact on the horse’s ability to move. Injuries and/or poor healing can lead to compensation.
SIJCS can often be caused by underlying conditions. To maintain a proper alignment of the spine, veterinarians might need to treat hock, sti fle and neck injuries. These areas should be addressed if they have not been treated previously and the symptoms are not improving. A complete lameness exam should be performed. To eliminate potential injuries, this may include flexions and radiographs, ultrasound, or MRI. There may be a condition called front limb lameness. This can cause a hind leg to compensate and lead to spinal subluxation. Your veterinarian should be contacted if you suspect your horse may have SIJCS. If VLLLT is combined with chiropractics or acupuncture, it can relieve pain and reduce or eliminate the prominence or bump in the hunter.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!