A preliminary study to investigate the prevalence of pain in competitive showjumping equestrian athletes

Victoria Lewis, Lucy Dumbell, Francesca Magnoni

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    The aim of the study was to investigate the prevalence of equestrian showjumping riders competing with pain, the location of their pain, factors affecting their pain and whether they perceived this pain to have an effect on their performance. Eighty questionnaires, containing thirty-four questions, were competed by competitive showjumping riders. There was no association between age and reporting of pain (X21 = -0.165, p = 0.114).
    Participants were 1.42 times more likely to experience pain than to be pain free. Those riders that competed solely in the discipline of showjumping were 2.2 times more likely to be experiencing chronic pain than acute pain. A highly significant association was found between years of riding and pain (X21 = -294, p = 0.004,). Eighty-five percent of participants reported experiencing neck and back pain, with the majority experiencing lower back pain. Sixty-six percent of participants reported experiencing pain in other regions of the body, with the knee being the most common. Sixty-seven percent used over the counter medication with only 9 % using prescription medication to manage their pain. Eighty-five percent of riders perceived their pain to impact on their riding performance. Most commonly they believed that it affected their postural asymmetry (45 %) and reduced their range of motion (36 %). Only 14 % of participants directly reported it affecting the horse by causing asymmetry. The high incidence of showjumping riders who compete with pain, particularly back pain, could be problematic given the longevity of a rider’s career, which can span over four decades. This research reports rider’s perceptions and self-reported pain and management options, which may affect the data. Further research is needed to establish the causes of back pain and appropriate management strategies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number555637
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of physical fitness, medicine and treatment in sport
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2018


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