04 Apr 2016

Acupuncture Case – Musculoskeletal Performance

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Musculoskeletal Performance Issues, Improving Blood Flow

By: Dr. Gina Tranquillo


A Musculoskeletal Performance patient – Meet RAISING CANE (AKA – Cane)

Cane is a Paint Gelding that is used a lot for showing at the intermediate level and higher. He is a “steady eddy” and really shines in the show ring in the disciplines of dressage and cross country. Cane knows his job and takes is rider through a successful show each time. He is described by his owner as a very willing horse.

Why are we seeing Cane today for Acupuncture?

His owner says he has “creaking” joints and “clicks” a lot when he walks. He is not currently on a joint supplement. He also has a history of collapsing through his back when the saddle is placed on him and the girth tightened but he remains very willing to do his job.  There has been no obvious lameness noted recently or in the past.

What else do we want to know about Cane?

When the owner was questioned regarding his history there was no teeth grinding or signs of stomach ulcers present, other than when girthing the horse. Cane remains alert and has a very good appetite for grain. Cane does have a history of having a skin hypersensitivity due to UV rays from the sun after he consumes a clover plant species in his field. This was presented to the current veterinarian twice before and he was treated successfully.

Cane’s Eastern Medicine Examination Findings –

He has sensitivity over his back where the left is worse than the right. His right front foot points are sensitive. He has lof of pain on examination over the lumbosacral and sacroiliac regions and along Bladder meridian points 36-40 on both hind limbs. His ears are slightly cool to touch. The owner also describes that his legs are always cooler then the other horses in the barn and this was evident on the exam. His coat is dry and he has been body clipped.


Musculoskeletal Performance Meet Cane

What is his diagnosis?

Musculoskeletal Performance pain, possibly due to arthritis. Body soreness. Yang deficiency (cold limbs and ears) which means he lacks warming energy. Blood deficiency which is a diagnosis made due to the coat being dry and the cold extremities being present therefore blood is not reaching the extremities to warm and nourish. Cane also is diagnosed with local back pain and right front foot sensitivity.

What are the goals of treatment for Cane?

Warm the body. Move blood and energy (called QI) to the periphery and create a more harmonious flow throughout the body. Diminish musculoskeletal pain, increase Wei Qi (a type of energy to protect the body and use it’s natural defenses to fight off disease), and move it to the surface.

Point selection – a combination of Acupuncture points were used to achieve the above treatment for Cane. A combination of dry needle therapy and aquapuncture therapy using Vitamin B12 was used.

What advice was given to the owner after treatment today?

Continue to allow the horse to do his job, movement is good for him to keep his blood flowing and moving. Monitor his limb temperature. A joint supplement is recommended at this stage.  It is recommended to follow up with another acupuncture treatment in 2 weeks and continue at every 2 week intervals for 4 treatments initially. It is recommended that we monitor Cane along the way, and if he shows improvement and does well between treatments, then the treatment intervals can be extended.

What did the owner notice after Cane’s treatment?

The owner was happy with Cane after treatment. She noted he was moving better, he felt more fluid, he was striding out better, and overall she was impressed with his changes, despite him being an already “very good” horse.

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