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Electrotherapy

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) provides pain relief by exciting sensory nerves under the skin and stimulating the release of endogenous opioids in the body. These opioids are the bodys natural painkillers, which block the pain pathways with a long carryover effect. The removal of pain in the area helps to restore normal range of motion, improve quality of movement and improve muscle strengthening, which all result in  reduced risk of injury. 

Indications: 

  • chronic pain

  • acute pain

  • muscle spasms

  • nerve damage

 

 

TENS is tolerated well by most horses, but not by many dogs, so will most frequently be used in the equine patient. Its most common reason for use is chronic pain in the back muscles of the horse, but is also used for acute pain post-operatively.

This electrotherapy is most effective used daily to begin with, reducing to two to three times per week, and then only when necessary in the maintenance period. TENS machines are cheap to buy and can be used by owners in-between physiotherapy sessions, providing that your veterinary physiotherapist has assessed how your animal copes with the electrotherapy and has shown you how to set the device up. 

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMFT)

Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMFT) is non-invasive and has a wide range of effects. An electrical current is passed through a circular coil of wires, inducing a pulsed low-level electromagnetic field. This electromagnetic field  re-establishes the normal voltage across damaged cell membranes and optimises the bodys natural healing capabilities. 

Some of its effects are to block pain signals, regulate blood flow, improve the rate of dispersal of oedema,  promote the removal of waste products, increase delivery of nutrients to cells, accelerate nerve tissue regeneration, increase collagen production and promote bone regeneration processes

Indications: 

  • Acute pain 

  • Chronic pain

  • Oedema

  • Fractures

  • Bruising

  • Soft tissue injury 

  • Wounds

  • Neurological problems

PEMFT is commonly used with horses and dogs and well tolerated by both. It is also safe enough to be used by owners. 

Photobiomodulation (Light therapy)

Light is a form of electromagnetic energy, which is absorbed by the mitochondria in each cell. Once the light energy is absorbed by the cell it is transformed into biochemical energy which results in many cellular functions and the stimulation of tissue repair. 

Light therapy stimulates the immune system, increases cell metabolism, stimulates wound healing, stimulates blood vessel growth, decreases muscle spasm and promotes the release of opioids for pain relief. 

Light therapy is particularly useful for: 

  • Wounds

  • Muscle soreness

  • Pain

  • Nerve regeneration

  • Tendon sheaths

  • Trigger points 

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Acute injuries

  • Trauma to muscle, tendon, ligament

Light therapy is typically used daily for 10 days, reducing to one to three times per week and then when necessary, depending on each case. 

It is important that all veterinary history for each client is obtained since light therapy is a contraindication for any tumours or skin conditions/infections.

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Kinesiology Taping

Kinesiology taping is a technique that has been used in humans for many years, but has now been adapted for use on animals. It has various applications, including alleviating discomfort, helping with postural dysfunction, improving joint range of motion, and reducing oedema. 

Kinesiology tape has a decompressive effect, in that it lifts the skin from the underlying tissue, allowing an improvement in circulation and reduction in pain sensation. It also aids with postural dysfunction by improving proprioceptive feedback and activating necessary muscles that are required to maintain a correct posture

  

Indications: 

  • Muscle strain/tears

  • Oedema

  • Joint instability

  • Prolong the effects of myofascial release

  • Tendonitis or desmopathy

  • Movement abnormalities