Above is a microscopic image of healthy fascia. Notice the organized, smooth appearance= functional.
Fascia is a connective tissue that connects everything in the body together. It connects the head to the tail/feet and everything in between including the organs. It is made up of collagen (stability), elastin (flexibility) and a gel matrix (cushion & nerve conduction). You need to have a healthy fascial system to maintain the balance of your horse's nervous system and musculoskeletal system.
It's stabilizes the body, allows it to be flexible, helps with cushioning soft tissue and organs, helps with nerve conduction and when it comes to your horse's performance it most importantly helps with PROPRIOCEPTION! Proprioception is the sense of balance and coordination at rest and during movement.
Above is a microscopic image of unhealthy fascia. Notice the disorganized messy appearance. When fascia gets like this from stress/injury it will be weak, tight and imbalanced= dysfunctional.
The Response of the Fascial System to Trauma As in humans, the tightening of the fascial system is a protective mechanism that is a response to trauma. This trauma may arise from an acute injury like a tendon strain, chronic compensatory muscular work, or repetitive injury from poor training techniques. The fascia loses its pliability, becomes restricted and is a source of tension for the rest of the body. The gel substance solidifies, the collagen becomes dense and fibrous, and the elastin loses its resiliency. These fascial restrictions slowly affect the quality of motion available to the horse causing postural and gait deviations, loss of flexibility and compression of pain sensitive structures in the body. When left untreated, fascial restrictions will cause compensations which lead to decreased performance and lameness. This is why it's very important to have your horse treated periodically to prevent injuries and performance issues before it's too late. All too often we treat a horse that has been healthy for its whole life and now it just came up lame before your big event. Bad timing? Yes, but proper evaluation and treatment most likely could have prevented it.
Fascial restrictions cause of many problems that limit the performance of the equine athlete, including poor collection, balance problems, lack of flexibility, lead change problems, behavioral issues, sore muscles, back pain, and tendon and ligament injuries. Many times a lameness issue has been because of multiple compensations over the years. These changes will take proper treatment, time, and a change in your training techniques to overcome.
Myofascial Release Treatment
Myofascial release has been used for many years to successfully treat musculoskeletal dysfunction in humans. It has proven to be extremely effective in releasing restricted connective tissue and restoring functional movement.
Just like the professional athlete, the performance horse sustains injuries that have resultant soft tissue tightening and compensatory movement patterns.
Myofascial release is a hands-on technique that facilitates a stretch/release into restricted soft tissue layers. This is “beyond massage therapy”! Dr. Hal also utilizes a tool to assist in breaking up adhesions and scar tissue. The treatment will allow the tissue to become soft and pliable. This restoration of length and health to the myofascial tissues will reduce the pain and spasm and improve strength and stability. It will assist with restoring alignment and mobility to the joints. This is why Dr. Hal's chiropractic treatments are more effective than others and your horse will recover faster and can go longer between treatments. Dr. Hal's balancing treatment restores the natural abilities of coordination, strength and power to the horse. We have had a great success with this treatment approach especially when utilized with chiropractic adjustments. The combination of these techniques are beneficial in creating pain free performance.
Dr. Hal utilizes Rocktape therapeutic tape to assist in myofascial release, circulation, and re-training proper movement patterns. See the other page on this site titled "Rocktape Therapeutic Tape" for more information.
info coming soon