Altered thoracolumbar position during application of craniocaudal spinal mobilisation in clinically sound leisure horses

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article

    38 Downloads (Pure)


    Manual therapy techniques are commonly used by physiotherapists in the management of back pain to restore a pain-free range of motion and function in humans. However, there is a lack of research to support the proposed kinematic effects of manual therapy in the horse. This study investigated the kinematic effects of craniocaudal spinal mobilisation (CCSM) on the thoracolumbar spine in asymptomatic leisure horses. Markers were fixed to T10, T13, T17, L1, L3, the highest point of the wither and the tuber sacrale on thirteen horses that were positioned squarely. The CCSM technique consisted of two parts: 1) carpal flexion of either forelimb to 90° to maintain the horse in a tripod position, and, 2) the application of a cranial to caudal force to the forehand via the ipsilateral point of the shoulder. Movement changes of the thoracolumbar markers from baseline to maximum flexion when the CCSM was applied was recorded as ‘depth’ (mm) relative to a fixed line drawn from the tuber sacrale to the maximal point of the withers. The change in angle (°) of each marker relative to the same markers was also recorded. Data were collected via video and analysed with Dartfish™ software. Increases in maximum thoracolumbar angle (P<0.05) and reductions in thoracolumbar depth (P<0.05) were found with CCSM. These results indicate CCSM induced flexion in the thoracolumbar spine, supporting its potential to improve range of motion and function in horses. Further studies to understand whether the changes observed during CCSM translate to treatment of back pain are warranted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)49-53
    Number of pages5
    JournalComparative Exercise Physiology
    Issue number1
    Early online date29 Jan 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2019


    Cite this