Spinal Manipulation is a newer term used for “chiropractic” care provided by a licensed veterinarian. Legally, the term “chiropractor” can only be used by someone who has received a Doctorate in Chiropractic in human medicine. Spinal manipulation is performed by a veterinarian who has received both additional training and certification. The terms are different, but the treatment is same. Both chiropractors and spinal manipulation practitioners are trained to treat joints and soft tissues that have lost their normal range of motion and normal function.
By palpating the horse, the lesions and restrictions are isolated and treated using an HVLA (high velocity low amplitude) thrust. This means that strength and force are NOT needed, only speed and specificity. Restrictions are caused by a number of things including trauma, muscle spasms, ill-fitting tack, and normal everyday life of the equine athlete. If left unaddressed these restrictions can cause cartilage degeneration, adhesions, poor circulation, pain, compensation and decreased nerve function.
At Evans Equine, we incorporate spinal manipulation into our integrative approach to sport horse medicine. By watching the horse move as well as palpating the joints and soft tissues we are able to assess if issues are coming from the axial skeleton (spine), appendicular skeleton (limbs), or both. Spinal manipulation is often used in a preventative manner to treat restrictions and discomfort before they become injuries.