As physiotherapists, we utilise a wide range of evidence based treatments to restore problems with range of movement, posture, balance or muscular conditioning. The choice of treatment will depend on the clinical presentation and referral request.
All treatment modalities are evidence based, meaning that clinical research has taken place that identifies their effect in the use in both equine and human practice. We are happy to provide references for all our treatment modalities.
Physiotherapy is covered by most insurance companies ensuring that the provider is a chartered physiotherapist, ACPAT Category A member and referred by a qualified vet.
Reflex/ Reciprocal inhibition
Reciprocal inhibition technique is our most commonly used treatment of choice for restoration of normal muscle tone. Muscle spasm identified during a thorough process of palpation can be effectively reduced by applying this technique. It works by stimulation of the golgi tendon organ of the agonist muscle via a specific movement performed by the physiotherapist. This produces in an involuntary contraction of the muscle, initiating an involuntary relaxation of the opposing antagonist muscle and therefore reducing muscle tone back to resting length.
Acupressure/ Trigger point release technique
Acupressure involves the application of controlled pressure performed by the physiotherapist to areas of increased tone (trigger points) within the muscle belly. This sustained pressure results in a moment of ischemia so that a resurgence of local blood flow will occur upon release, increasing the efficiency of nutritional transportation and cell modulation. When used in combination with reciprocal inhibition, acupressure is extremely effective and produces a noticeable change to muscle tone in one treatment. Horses also tolerate acupressure very well and this may be the treatment of choice for nervous or anxious horses.
In human sports medicine, the management of myofascial is becoming increasingly documented. Adhesions, scarring and tears in fascial connections have been shown to reduce range of movement, increase neural tension, compress vascular structures and cause pain. We offer solutions where fascial restriction may cause pain and reduced range in horses. Using a combination of the above techniques, in addition to mobilisations of supporting joint structures, frictions and stretching we can reduce the viscosity of hyaluronic acid between layers of fascia to break down collagen adhesions and encourage efficiency of cell transportation.
Joint mobility depends on how freely it can move through range, which is crucial for effective movement. Problems occur when joints either become too stiff or too mobile, effecting the balance between joint MOBILITY and joint STABILITY. Following a process of palpation and joint mobilisation the physiotherapist will identify joints that are either too stiff or hypermobile.
Immobile joints can be moved passively according to their angle and location using Maitland mobilisations, a graded series of joint movements that restore joint function. This treatment is used extensively in human physiotherapy.
For joints that are hypermobile we may prescribe suitable corrective exercises to stabilise the joints. If not corrected, joint instabilities can lead to ligamentous strain, poor muscle activation and reduced optimal movement.
We are qualified in the application of Kinesio™ taping for both horse and human KT1 and 2 and KT Equine 1 and 2.
Kinesio™ taping is a recognised method of facilitating muscle activity to allow optimal movement function and circulation for both human and equine athletes. Effective equine application has been used in the prevention of exertional rhabdomyolysis. Multiple applications of tape are required in conjunction with effective exercises for optimal movement facilitation. We offer a package of treatment when using this method following routine assessment.
Neuro Muscular Electro Stimulation (NMES)
Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) is a non-invasive means of muscle rehabilitation after injury, surgery or disease. The device applies customised electrical stimulus to a specific muscle or muscle group to cause contraction. The physiotherapist is able to correctly select a suitable frequency, application time and application location in order to facilitate the action of the muscle.
For orthopaedic problems, NMES is useful for reducing muscle atrophy, restoring joint mobility and pain reduction. NMES is also effective in the process of post-operative rehabilitation when trying to increase proprioception and neuromuscular activity. All functions require variations of applications sourced from well documented, published research in both human and equine practice. NMES is only available as a multiple appointment package and is not available as a single appointment/ treatment.
Transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation (TENS)
TENS is a well-known treatment modality in human practice for pain reduction. We can also use this for pain in the horse. TENS is useful in the early stages of post-operative rehabilitation or when it is too early to use other forms of treatment. The service also offers TENS machine hire following full assessment and owner training.
Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER)
Due to increasing demand for this service the practice will be able to offer LASER from summer 2016 following extended training and equipment delivery.
There have been many advances in the safe and effective use of low level laser treatment for horses. The use of LASER offers a non-invasive method of optimising wound healing, reducing pain and increasing cell modulation. Common problems that can be improved include capped hocks, sarcoids, abscesses, and mud fever. LASER will be offered as a multiple appointment package and is not available as a single appointment/ treatment.
Therapeutic Ultrasound (TUS)
Therapeutic Ultrasound is a widely used method for promoting healing when applied to soft tissues, producing increased circulation and increased cellular response at the target tissue. This is especially useful in the rehabilitation process of tendon and ligament injury in order to enhance natural healing processes to structure that are otherwise poorly vascularised. Ultrasound is only available as a multiple appointment package and is not available as a single appointment/ treatment.
As chartered human physiotherapists, we are skilled in the prescription of graded exercise in appreciation of healing rates and tissue responses. We are able to transfer this skill to our equine clients. This is especially useful in post-operative rehabilitation and also encourages owner responsibility and effective long term management. We offer tailor made programs following referral and assessment that allow the owner to have a structured day to day routine..