Alterations in thoracolumbosacral movement when pain causing lameness has been improved by diagnostic analgesia

Vet J. 2017 Jun;224:55-63. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2017.03.009. Epub 2017 May 3.


Lameness, thoracolumbosacral pain and reduced range of motion (ROM) often coexist; better understanding of their relationship is needed. The objectives were to determine if thoracolumbosacral movement of horses changes when pain causing lameness is improved by diagnostic analgesia. We hypothesised that reduction of lameness will increase ROM of the thoracolumbosacral region. Thirteen horses with different types of hind limb lameness were trotted in straight lines and lunged on a 10m diameter circle on left and right reins before and after lameness was subjectively substantially improved by diagnostic analgesia. Inertial sensor data were collected from the withers, thirteenth (T13) and eighteenth thoracic (T18) vertebrae, third lumbar (L3) vertebra, tubera sacrale (TS), left and right tubera coxae. ROM of flexion-extension, axial rotation, lateral bending, dorsoventral, lateral-lateral motion and vertical movement symmetry were quantified at each thoracolumbar site. Hiphike difference (HHD), maximum difference (MaxDiff) and minimum difference (MinDiff) for the pelvic sensors were measured. Percentage changes for before and after diagnostic analgesia were calculated; mean±standard deviation (SD) or median [interquartile range] were determined. Associations between the change in pelvic versus thoracolumbar movement symmetry after each local analgesic technique were tested. After resolution of lameness, HHD decreased by 7% [68%] (P=0.006). The MinDiff decreased significantly by 33% [61%] (P=0.01), 45±13% (P=0.005) and 52±23% (P=0.04), for TS, L3 and T18, respectively. There was significantly increased ROM in flexion-extension at T13, in axial rotation at T13, T18, L3 and in lateral-lateral ROM at L3. Thoracolumbosacral asymmetry and reduced ROM associated with lameness were both altered immediately by improvement in lameness using diagnostic analgesia.

Keywords: Back pain; Equine; Inertial measurement units; Lameness; Laterality.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia / methods
  • Analgesia / veterinary*
  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Horse Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Horse Diseases / physiopathology
  • Horse Diseases / therapy
  • Horses
  • Lameness, Animal / diagnosis*
  • Lameness, Animal / physiopathology
  • Lameness, Animal / therapy
  • Locomotion / physiology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiopathology
  • Pain / complications
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Pain / veterinary*
  • Pain Management / veterinary
  • Prospective Studies
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Sacrum / physiopathology
  • Spine / physiopathology*
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / physiopathology