Orthopedic Saddle Pads for Back Pain

There are several different treatments and procedures available to treat and alleviate back pain, a common ailment suffered by many. Depending on the source and type of back pain, some people take anti-inflammatory and pain medications, others use home remedies such as heating pads and ice packs, and some have to resort to surgeries or treatments such as radio frequency ablation. But if home remedies are not enough and you don’t want to seek out more severe solutions like surgery, then an option such as orthopedic saddle pads may be right for you.

Orthopedic saddle pads are simply inserts that fit into a saddle, for riding. There are two different types: one that provides shock absorption while riding, thus cushioning and relieving back pain, and the other type provides memory to make up for any significant discrepancies in the bone structure of the horse, which may interfere with wearing a saddle. The type meant for shock absorption are the most commonly used, typically made of a soft, cushion-y gel-like material. The theory behind using these pads for back pain is to lessen any stress on the spine, and absorbing impact from regular riding, trotting, or running. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this idea, as several researchers and doctors argue against the theory, stating it is simply a placebo affect and that pads do little to actually help back pain. However, many users of saddle pads swear by them and notice a significant change in their pain. It is up to you to decide if it is a method worth trying, and if you feel a difference.


These inserts can be purchased at any saddle or tack retailer, but others can be custom-made for you, though they hold a higher price. Depending on your level of pain and how far you are willing to go to try this treatment, you can decide which route to go, along with any advice from your doctor. When it comes to asymmetrical horse structure, many saddle pads are custom-made, typically through recommendation from a veterinarian. Allowing the saddle to site securely on the back of the horse will keep you from placing undue pressure on your back by constantly leaning one way or another.

Because of the theory behind how saddle pads work, using them for back pain due to problems such as herniated discs or a temporary spinal injury won’t work. They should mainly be used as a preventative measure, to protect your back from unnecessary strain. Remember that saddle pads aren’t necessarily a cure for your pain, but rather a simple solution you yourself can reach to alleviate the pain.

Should you continue to use them and find no change, it is important to continue to consult a doctor to find the source of your pain, and perhaps a stronger treatment. For those who find less back pain due to using them, they can be a wonderful and relieving option.

Filed Under: Back Pain
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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