Animal chiropractic is not a new treatment modality, but it is one that has seen a recent rise in popularity and refinement of technique.
Chiropractic diagnosis starts by testing the joints of the spine, one by one, for restricted movement. The purpose behind chiropractic is to locate spinal segments that do not have normal range of motion, and to manually assist those motion segments back into a more normal movement pattern. A joint’s ability to move properly is dependant on a vast array of muscles, ligaments, connective tissue, and nerve transmission. The theory behind chiropractic treatment centers on the transmission of nerve signals. If a spinal joint lacks the ability to move properly through its normal range of motion, what might that dysfunction do to the delicate nerves which pass through the spinal canal? Local inflammation around a joint or impingement of nervous tissue may very well alter the nerve cell’s normal ability to respond to signals from the body in a timely and efficient manner. One must also realize that most all the intelligent nervous activity coordinated from the brain to the body runs through the spine, and derangements of nervous system transmission can affect a wide selection of body systems. This can include anything from posture, balance, and coordination to internal organ function. Recent advances in our understanding of the nervous system have uncovered just how mind-bogglingly complicated the system is, and how interdependent and interlinked the “transmission lines” actually are. What this means is that if there is a problem with the nervous system in one area of the spine, it might be affecting tissues that are a quite a distance “downstream”. One unique thing about chiropractic treatment is that it is one of the only modalities out there that attempts to deal with nerve dysfunction directly. There are very few medications that can be given that can help restore normal function to a dysfunctional nerve. The goal of chiropractic care is to locate these dysfunctional areas of the spine, and to help assist them back into more normal movement so that potential stress on the nerve can be reduced.
Equine chiropractic has become increasingly more popular in the last decade. It has found a tremendous niche in the performance equine field. It stands to reason that horses would be at risk for dysfunction since they have such tremendous power and motion being generated through their pelvis and spine as well as carrying a rider. As with human chiropractic, the goal is to reduce current pain and dysfunction in the short term. In the long term, however, the goal is to perform regular examinations and adjustments as a maintenance procedure to try to prevent pain and “crisis” problems of the back as well as to enhance the overall function of the nervous system.
Practitioners who are allowed to perform animal chiropractic have undergone extensive training. In fact, only veterinarians or human chiropractors are admitted to the animal chiropractic schools. There are currently less than a handful of schools in the country and less than a dozen on the world. If you are currently using chiropractic services, please consider giving us a try. Having an equine chiropractic practitioner locally might be a good option for you, as some travelling chiropractic providers require a number of horses be available. Also, we are able to also offer lameness evaluation, joint injection, dentistry, farrier service, or routine services here at our office. If you are interested in learning more about chiropractic care or having your horse evaluated for the first time, please give us a call!