Chiropractic is a manual therapy used to diagnose and treat joints within their normal range of motion, for the relief of subluxations and the associated physical problems. Subluxation is a general term for reduced free motion or misalignment of a joint, creating pressure and irritation of the nerves and soft tissues. Subluxated vertebrae in the back and neck cause painful impingement of the spinal nerves, interfering with normal transmission of signals between the brain and body. By applying forceful controlled thrusts with the hands, chiropractic adjustments help to restore normal joint motion and nerve function without forcing the joint outside of a safe range of motion. Chiropractic is used to treat a myriad of problems including neck and back pain, poor performance, uneven gaits, lack of impulsion, and poor attitude. It is also a very useful complement to traditional lameness therapies such as joint and sacroiliac injections, and to assist in the diagnosis of difficult lameness cases. Chiropractic can help to reverse mild physical damage and slow the progression of degenerative conditions, which makes it an excellent part of an ongoing maintenance program for equine athletes.
An adjustment will typically be effective for 6-8 weeks, however horses that are more severely affected or who are in intense competition may require a second adjustment after 2 weeks. Ideally a horse should be assessed and adjusted every two months to maintain a lasting improvement. After treatment, the horse can be handwalked for 15 minutes that day and either have handwalking or turnout on the following day.