Acupuncture Treatment of Sport Injuries
Acupuncture in sport horses
Sport horses occasionally develop soft tissue injuries limiting their free movement and performance. These injuries are usually characterised by:
- Altered movement and performance
Acupuncture can be highly effective in the management of musculoskeletal injuries and reduced performance in sport horses.
Soft tissue injuries, such as strained muscles and ligaments or irritated peripheral nerves, are the main indications for the use of acupuncture.
Poor response to acupuncture treatment may indicate a more serious underlying problem and guarded prognosis. More advanced veterinary diagnostics carried out at referral veterinary clinics should be considered in these complicated cases.
While some of these injuries can occur in the course of training or competition, horses can also get injured while playing in a paddock, casted in the box or when being loaded to a horse-box.
Pain-relief, release of muscle spasm, as well as improved movement and performance are the main benefits of acupuncture treatment. Additionally, the owners and riders have often noted improved attitude and behaviour of their horses. This can be important not only from the view of the horse's well-being, but also in terms of the rider's safety. This would be true especially in the case of rearing, bucking, stopping or other forms of erratic and unpredictable behaviour interfering with riding practices.
Should the injuries be related to saddle and bridle fitting, hoof and dental care, the relevant action must be taken beforehand to rectify the primary problem. Any acute injuries with suspected fractures, acute arthritis, ruptured or otherwise damaged ligaments and tendons, swelling and bleeding, as well as the presence of infection should first be treated using standard veterinary medicine as a matter of urgency.