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Manual Therapies 

Manual therapies are hands on treatments. They have a wide range of benefits including increased circulation, decreased muscular tension, increased range of motion and increased endorphin release.

Massage – Massage involves applying pressure to the muscles and underlying soft tissue structures. The mechanical pressure applied during massage will help to stretch and soften tissues, helping to release muscle tension. Massage will also help to increase fluid circulation which will help to promote healing by increasing blood flow to damaged areas and removing toxins. Finally massage releases endorphins which will help to reduce pain and help the animal relax.

Stretching – Stretching will help prevent the formation of fibrous restrictions in the muscle. During a stretch, the muscle will relax, elongate and adapt to a new length. Stretching has many benefits such as helping to increase the animals joint range of motion and to align collagen fibres in muscles to help them heal correctly. Stretching can also help to prevent future orthopaedic injuries by increasing the muscles ability to withstand stress.

Joint and soft tissue mobilisation – Mobilisation involves passive rhythmical movements that are used to treat stiffness and/or relive pain. Mobilisation of the joints and soft tissue structures will help to increase strength, improve coordination, increase joint range of motion and increase muscle mass.

Trigger point therapy – Trigger point therapy uses the application of pressure to help breakdown muscular knots and to realign collagen fibres in the muscles so that they can heal correctly. Trigger point therapy can help to reduce pain, relieve tightness and release any nerves that may be compressed. Trigger point therapy has also been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins which will help the animal to relax.

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Electrotherapies are performed using machines and help increase the rate of healing and improve the quality of tissue repair.

LASER therapy – LASER therapy uses the cells response to light to increase cell replication and therefore enhance healing. It also decreases swelling by increasing circulation and activating the mechanism of the cells that helps to fight off infections. Laser therapy can be used for conditions such as wounds, soft tissue injuries, muscle spasms, tendon and ligament injuries and joint pain.

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) – NMES used a small electrical current that can be applied to certain muscles to stimulate movement. It is commonly used on animals suffering with muscle weakness to help retain muscle mass and can also be used to reduce pain. Animals who have a reduced muscle mass from being on crate/box rest may benefit from this treatment.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) – TENS stimulates pain inhibitory neurons and releases endorphins by exciting sensory nerves. This makes TENS particularly useful to use to help relive post-operative or chronic pain.

Thermotherapy (Heat therapy) - Heat therapy has many benefits such as increasing blood flow, muscular relaxation and increasing tissue extensibility. This is especially beneficial in equine athletes as increased muscle elasticity can help prevent muscle injuries. Heat also has analgesic properties, meaning it is commonly used for equine pain reduction.  

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Remedial Exercise Programmes 

Exercise programmes will be carefully considered and take into account your animals needs and owners requirements for example time restraints or things such as upcoming competitions will always be taken into consideration. General management advice can also be given to help you best assist your animals rehabilitation.

Equine specific exercise may include ridden work or ground work dependent on what your animal is capable of. For example, long reining or lunging may be used to help build muscle strength and improve posture or pole work exercises may be used to help improve the horses proprioception.

Canine exercises will include exercises that can be performed in the home or in the garden/on a walk dependant on your animals stage of recovery. For example, slow lead walking may be used to help build muscle strength and straightness. Equipment such as wobble boards (or even a cushion) can also be used to enhance core strength and proprioception.

Remedial exercise programmes can have many benefits including…

Encouraging correct movement patterns

Improving muscular strength

Improve endurance

Enhance suppleness

Increase proprioception (the animals spatial awareness)

Improve balance and stability

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