This is a saying I picked up along the way at some point during my physical therapist education. The idea is, when you pick up on a sign or symptom, to first hypothesize it’s cause has a more common origin (a horse)…rather than immediately jumping to some kind of rare condition (a zebra).
The thing is, EVERY DAY horses walk into my clinic. Or at least they’re what I would consider horses…but they’re things that are flying under the radar in the medical system in general to the point that they seem like zebras to the patients bringing them in, or the medical providers they’ve seen before me. At first, patients are surprised that nobody had recognized their hoof beats as horses before, despite their intuition that they’re not alone in their suffering. The worst part is, often because those hoof beats and the patients reporting them have been ignored or dismissed, or ineffectively treated, the hoof beats persist….way longer than they should before patients get the help they need.
- frequent urination often precedes or accompanies other issues worth investigating.
- continence matters for back pain (and vice versa).
- prolapse and diastasis matter with respect to function.
- pelvic floor health involves SO MUCH MORE than kegels.
- your pelvic floor could use some professional TLC after birth.
- you can and deserve to have enjoyable pain-free sex.
- how you breathe matters for all of the above and more.
- the hip matters with respect to the pelvic floor.
- movement, nourishment, hormones, gut health, sleep, stress, and mind-body-spirit factors matter with respect to healing.
You should never be made to feel like what you are going through is not a big deal, or there’s nothing that can be done. You should also not have to walk away from an encounter with a medical provider feeling MORE worried or afraid than when you walked in.
Your hoof beats matter – horses, zebras….or neither.
Thank you for sharing.
I’m sorry for your suffering.
I love you.
You can do this.
I can help.