Noninvasive therapies are becoming increasingly desirable especially in the pre-performance setting of equine sports medicine. Regenerative laser therapy encompasses the technology and outcomes that allow your horse to feel and perform their best on show day. Often, we prescribe regenerative laser therapy to patients as an adjunct (or primary) treatment for various lesions. The most common are suspensory ligament, tendon, and musculoskeletal injuries. However, regenerative laser therapy can be just as therapeutic for horses preparing to compete without injuries.
Which horses are candidates for pre-performance laser therapy?
The short answer to this question is all horses in competition susceptible to injury from sport. We use our regenerative laser in horses that are preparing to show just before competition (if your organization allows). This can be extremely beneficial to aid in the prevention of musculoskeletal, tendon, or ligament injuries during competition. The laser is applied to the area of interest which is determined on a case-by-case basis hours to days before a show.
What are some examples of cases that would benefit from pre-performance laser therapy?
For example, horses with sacroiliac or back pain may benefit more from laser therapy of the epaxial muscles and topline region. Another example of a case that would benefit from pre-performance laser therapy is a horse with a previous superficial digital flexor tendon tear (SDFT) or a “high-bowed tendon.” Horses with pervious high bow tendon injuries are more susceptible to injuring the contralateral SDF tendon when returning to competition. These cases benefit from the therapeutic effects of laser of BOTH tendons before competition. A final example of a horse that would benefit from laser therapy is a show jumper without previous injury. Show jumpers experience an extreme amount of stress and strain to the forelimbs and fetlock region when landing. This makes them susceptible to hyperextension injuries, degenerative joint disease, collateral ligament injuries, suspensory ligament injuries, and more.
In most cases a horse will have a combination of risks for injury or pain depending on their sport, previous injuries (if any), or musculoskeletal palpation that benefit from laser therapy sessions before competition.
How does laser therapy work?
We use the regenerative laser therapy from Sound which is the best on the equine market. Our laser creates short, high-energy pulses from light to create photo-acoustic sound waves. These photoacoustic sound waves are produced in all directions to agitate the extracellular matrix and release growth factors. This is the only equine-marketed laser that creates photoacoustic sound waves which are required to stimulate tissue regeneration.
Here are some of the benefits of laser prior to competition:
• Anti-inflammatory effects: by causing vasodilation and activating lymphatic drainage which reduces swelling in the limbs
• Reduced fibrous scar tissue formation
• Anti-pain: laser has a beneficial effect on nerve cells which block pain transmitted to the brain thereby decreasing nerve sensitivity. There is also the production of endorphin and enkephalins release which is pain relieving
• Improved vascular activity: laser causes a significant increase in new capillary formation, especially at injured sites.
• Increased oxygen and energy (ATP) for red blood cells
• Trigger points and acupuncture points: Stimulation of muscle trigger points (“knots”) and acupuncture points on a non-invasive basis providing musculoskeletal pain relief
• Increased permeability of cells so they can take on nutrients and remove waste products which allow for faster tissue repair
• Improved nerve function: The photoacoustic light produced accelerates nerve cell reconnection and increases the amplitude of action potentials to optimize muscle action
Overall, the benefits of laser therapy aid in the prevention of injuries during sport, decrease pain and decrease inflammation at the sites of treatment.
If you would like to schedule your horse for a consultation or pre-performance laser session, please text or call 561-515-2685. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.