The goal of chiropractic treatment is to restore normal joint motion and reduce pain and muscle spasm. Imbalances or “subluxations” are caused by a single traumatic event, or more commonly, through repetitive stress injuries from daily activities. An imbalance can start at the level of the spine, or may start with one leg and cause secondary or compensatory pain elsewhere in the body. For this reason, we commonly adjust the horse from nose to tail so as not to miss anything.
Will my horse benefit from a chiropractic adjustment?
- Performance horses – chiropractic care addresses subclinical conditions or abnormal biomechanics or conformation issues that can cause future debilitating injuries and impede peak performance.
- Rehabilitation – Regular adjustments are helpful for horses who have to be confined due to injury or surgery, and enhance healing.
- Older horses – senior equines are susceptible to loss of spinal column flexibility, joint degeneration, and loss of muscle strength. Their healing times are generally slower. Regular adjusting keeps them more comfortable.
- Foals – the strains of the birthing process can be greatly lessened by adjusting the babies. Mom can also be evaluated for pelvic issues at this time.
- Behavioral issues – positive effects are often seen on horses who:
- hollow out when ridden
- have abnormal posture when standing
- experience tail wringing, head tossing, bucking
- refuse jumps, lateral work, or collection
- have discomfort when saddling or riding
- show muscle atrophy or asymmetry
I’ve never had this done to my horse. What can I expect?
We usually start by watching your horse move on a lunge or a straight line trot in hand to check their overall movement and possible restrictions. Then we literally start at the nose and check the entire horse for areas of restricted motion all the way back through the pelvis, adjusting as we go. Almost every horse loves chiropractic work. They often sigh, chew, or show other signs of release during a treatment. The cost depends on how long the treatment takes. First time often takes 30 to 45 minutes. Subsequent visits generally require less time. Acute problems respond rapidly and have a good prognosis. More chronic conditions may require several treatments. Each horse is unique, and a program of care will be discussed during the initial evaluation.
This is to let you know that the chiro work on Rose, my Friesian mare, has made a notable difference. Not only is she looser, softer, more supple, but also seems more willing to try the next stages of collection and lateral work. A very nice difference, and I think much of the change is in the back, where you worked on her pelvis. The bends are even both ways (no funny chin tilts instead of neck bends), and she’s just been a real pleasure to ride. Woo-hoo! Thanks.
Laser therapy is a type of light therapy that stimulates healing. We use the Erchonia low level laser which operates at 5 mW and does not burn tissue and does not require the use of goggles. The light from the laser penetrates the skin and moves like a wave through the body. It stimulates the DNA in the mitochondria of the cells back to normal function. In short, the laser triggers the body’s innate ability to heal itself. Its effects are cumulative, so generally more than one treatment is required. There is no discomfort to the horse during or after treatment. I regularly use this laser on myself and my family with positive results. A single treatment takes less than 5 minutes.
In an equine acupuncture treatment we insert very fine needles into specific points on the body where larger nerves and vessels are close to the skin. The needles cause a release of neurotransmitter chemicals and hormones that help alleviate pain and modify disease states. Most horses do not object to the needles and relax during the treatment. Acupuncture cannot treat every condition, particularly surgical diseases such as colics with a twisted bowel. However, it can be a valuable treatment for many conditions used alone or combined with Western Medicine or chiropractic.