Equine chiropractic care is an essential part of any athletic program. Back pain is common in all disciplines of horses. Dr. Carl Juul-Nielsen and Dr. Allison Williges are our resident chiropractors, and they have had much success in alleviating back pain and lameness in all types of sport horses.
The spinal column is seen in both horses and humans as the primary framework that helps the body to function properly and to function without aches and pains. Thus, a misaligned spinal column may be responsible for a lack of flexibility of the neck and back as well as pinched nerves and painful spasms. The spine itself is comprised of a number of vertebrae, which are joined together to foster movement. If the spine becomes improperly aligned, the joints will not move in the manner they were designed to move, leading to stiffness, pain, and other problems associated with movement.
A chiropractor refers to a misalignment of the spine as a subluxation. Horse owners will usually call on our services when they notice that their horse is less amicable to being saddled, to working or jumping, or if they realize that the animal’s head is tilted at an odd angle, that there appears to be body stiffness, and of course if the animal’s back is sore. The causes for such a subluxation may vary. The horse may be continuously saddled with a poor fitting saddle. Or, perhaps the animal was involved in an accident, such as a fall or being cast in a stall. An inexperienced rider may have caused such an injury, as may improper shoeing or even performance work that is inappropriate for an individual horse.
Generally speaking, chiropractic adjustments will most likely have to be repeated within a couple of weeks or a month to ensure that the spine remains properly aligned. If the original subluxation occurred because of an accident or injury, the odds are good that the chiropractic treatment will need to be repeated, as the problem may have become chronic. Many of our clients have regularly scheduled chiropractic appointments with us on a monthly basis.
If you’ve ever wondered how a person can adjust the spine of a strong, large animal, such as a horse, consider that many modes of treatment for humans have been successfully adapted for the use on horses. While it is possible to force the adjustment, many practitioners have chosen to generate the kind of motion for the horse that will make the adjustment occur. This avoids the use of restraints and greatly diminishes any discomfort the animal might experience. Seasoned chiropractors such as ours will actually elicit something akin to visible relaxation and enjoyment in the animals due to the release of endorphins. It is an amazing sight to see!
After your horse’s chiropractic adjustment, there are no work restrictions. You can go back to your normal work schedule and let your horse enjoy his new flexibility!