Electrotherapy has been widely used in both human sport and medicine for decades, not only to treat injuries but also to optimize performance.
Electrotherapy can be used both as a primary treatment or in conjunction with other treatments.
Electrotherapy is a scientifically validated and highly efficient treatment, to optimize nerve, muscles, blood circulation and connective tissues. It applies electrical impulses through the skin of the horse, activating its nerves and muscles. It is not painful for the horse; it feels like a deep tissue massage. The electrical signal mimics the motor neuron signal normally sent by the brain to the muscles to cause muscle contraction.
When working with rehabilitation or injury prevention, muscular function, strength and elasticity are key. Without this, the joints, tendons and ligaments will be at higher risk of injury (and re-injury). Electrotherapy is a very efficient tool to loosen tight muscles. Many horses have tight muscles in the back, lumbosacral, gluteal and neck regions. These tightened muscles will cause a horse to feel “locked” or stiff, and make him move sub-optimally. Loosening these muscles, allows the horse to move more freely. Most horses also have a stronger or stiffer side. A more freely and symmetrically moving horse improves its performance, reduces the risk of injury, and makes it easier to build the correct musculature when training.
Horses can also have muscles that are too weak or small (muscle atrophy). The saying “use it or lose it” applies to the musculature. Horses in training benefit from supplementing their training with electrotherapy to optimize their musculature. Also, horses in rehabilitation greatly benefit from electrotherapy to maintain the musculature without loading the healing injury. Many horses lose muscle mass and topline during recovery as training is reduced. An injury often generates muscular tension and compensational movement patterns, resulting in asymmetric movement and musculature. Hence it is important to manage the musculature of a horse when managing and rehabilitating an injury. Electrotherapy offers a unique and efficient way to optimize both nerves and muscles without loading the injured limb.
Equinetendon collaborates with Equi-tech on muscular aspects including electrotherapy. Equi-tech is based in Scandinavia, but their services are now available through the Equinetendon network.
With our electrotherapy system, we enable you to optimize and treat your horse yourself. We offer online training and advice, so you get as much out of your electrotherapy device as possible. We collaborate with many top riders, who use our systems with great results, complement their training, and/or optimize horses with injuries. We also host clinics and workshops. We also offer treatments for larger groups or stables, with our experts coming out to treat your horses, both using electrotherapy and complementing manual techniques. Contact us to hear more about how we can help you.
Equinetendon is a proud partner of Equi-tech, and offer their services, knowledge and products on muscular aspects of performance enhancement, injury prevention and rehabilitation. This includes electrotherapy, where you can order both treatments (for larger groups) and/or purchasing our high quality, easy to use the device, enabling you to treat and optimize your own horses.
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Publications regarding Electrotherapy
Schils S, Review of Electrotherapy Devices for Use in Veterinary Medicine. In: Proceedings of the 55th Annual Convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Las Vegas, NV, 2009;55:68-73
Schils S, Turner T. Functional electrical stimulation for equine epaxial muscle spasms: retrospective study of 241 clinical cases. Comparative Exercise Physiology, 2014;10:89-97
Banerjee P, Caulfield B, Crowe L, Clark A. Prolonged electrical muscle stimulation exercise improves strength and aerobic capacity in healthy sedentary adults. J Appl Physiol (1985);99:2307-2311
Moore SR, Shurman J. Combined neuromuscular electrical stimulation and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for treatment of chronic back pain: a double-blind, repeated measures comparison. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 1997; 78: 55-60
Bélanger M, Stein RB, Wheeler GD, Gordon T, Leduc B. Electrical stimulation: can it increase muscle strength and reverse osteopenia in spinal cord injured individuals? Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2000;81:1090-1098.
Snyder-Mackler L, Delitto A, Stralka SW, Bailey SL. Use of electrical stimulation to enhance recovery of quadriceps femoris muscle force production in patients following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Phys Ther 1994;74:901-907
Selkowitz DM. Improvement in isometric strength of the quadriceps femoris muscle after training with electrical stimulation. Phys Ther 1985;65:186-196
Eriksson E, Haggmark T. Comparison of isometric muscle training and electrical stimulation supplementing isometric muscle training in the recovery after major knee ligament surgery. Am. J. Sports Med1979;7:169-171