Muscle and Back Pain
Back pain can be a huge detriment to the comfort and performance of your horse. Soft tissue and bone can play a role in back soreness, and horses with hind-end issues can also display secondary back soreness, so it is essential to find the source of the problem before determining treatment. At SMVS, the goal of our targeted back therapies is to improve comfort, flexibility and athletic performance. We currently offer multiple options for the treatment of back pain:
Shockwave therapy aims a highly concentrated, powerful acoustical (sound) energy source to a focal area. The intent is to increase activity in bone-producing cells and boost circulation in the focal region, thus, improving the rate and quality of healing. We recommend a course of 3 shockwave treatments, 2 weeks apart. These appointments are very quick and done with standing sedation.
Mesotherapy is a technique targeted at the mesodermal layer of the skin. The goal of Mesotherapy is to break the “pain cycle,” to stop the nerves of the back from transmitting painful information through sensory-pain fibers, to deeper layers of muscle. Constant nerve firing causes back muscles to tense and spasm, sending negative signals back to the spinal cord – which in turn sends out pain-related information back to the muscles – thus creating a pain cycle. With Mesotherapy, a multi-injector is used to deposit medication intradermally (within the skin) along the spinal cord. This procedure is done under standing sedation and typically takes 15-20 minutes. The horse is rested for one week with hand-walking, and may then return to regular work. We provide Mesotherapy for neck, back and gluteal pain and stiffness. Mesotherapy may be used in conjunction with Shockwave Therapy.
Deep muscle back injections:
The goal of deep muscle back injections is to relieve pain and tension in the muscles along either side of the spine. This therapy works similarly to Mesotherapy, however it also has the benefit of targeted relief to the deep muscles of the back. It may be used in conjunction with Mesotherapy and/or Shockwave therapy. We also offer similar treatment for any issues affecting the spinal column directly, such as “Kissing Spines.” This therapy is targeted at the area around the dorsal spinous processes of the vertebrae, and the intraspinous ligaments, rather than the muscles. This procedure is also done under standing sedation and typically takes 15-20 minutes. The horse is rested for one week with hand-walking, and may then return to regular work.
Acupuncture is a great adjunctive therapy for muscle and back pain. Combined with western medicine, this alternative therapy can help "re-wire" the nerves causing the pain cycle while also providing local anti-inflammatory relief. Acupuncture treatments may include dry needle, aqua acupuncture and or electroacupuncture. All 3 treatments can be included in one session. Speak with Dr. Specht for interest in acupuncture therapy.
Dr. Kent Allen of Virginia Equine Imaging is one of the leading experts on back pain in the horse. He has written a very informative article on back pain for the AAEP: Click Here for more information.