Equine Sports Therapy
with Dr Nicole Rombach APM, MEEBW, CCBW, PG AM, MSc., PhD
Dr. Nicole Rombach is available for:
- Sports therapy sessions including sports massage, myofascial release, spinal functional assessment and therapy, functional movement retraining, neuromuscular and core strength conditioning, saddle fit evaluation and laser therapy (Class 3) (with veterinary referral and/or approval)
- Canine sports therapy (with veterinary referral and/or approval)
- Neurokinetic Therapy for horse, dog and rider
- Lectures/short courses (theory, practical, whole-horse dissection)
- Long-distance consultation
- Attendance at competitions
- Collaborative research with academic institutions
Nicole is an FEI Permitted Equine Therapist (PET)
Contact email@example.com with enquiries
VETERINARY LIAISON ESSENTIAL
The initial intake session lasts around 2 hours. During this time, the horse is evaluated statically for muscular symmetry, reactions to soft-tissue palpation and assessment of spinal and limb joint mobility. Evaluation of conformation, dental health and saddle fit are included.
Dynamic evaluation includes in-hand gait assessment on hard and soft surfaces, as well as lungeing and/or riding. Evaluations may be filmed with a high-speed camera for later play-back in slow-motion for refined gait assessment.
Asymmetry of muscle development and/or gait is noted, as these observations form a key part of the actual sports therapy session and follow-up exercise programme design. Through NKT (NeuroKinetic Therapy) testing, specific muscle (dys)function is identified, which is addressed in the sports therapy session.
Static and dynamic evaluations are followed by the actual sports therapy session, which addresses areas of restricted motion (muscular and articular). Different soft-tissue and joint mobilization techniques are used to release musculoskeletal restrictions. Where appropriate, pulsed laser therapy (MR4ActiVet) is included in the session, for promotion of healing or pain inhibition.
The session is completed with the design of an individualised programme of specific ground-based exercises with the aim of re-training activation of muscles or muscle groups, and to promote normalisation of joint function/range of motion. Muscle or joint function can be affected by primary musculoskeletal, neurological or other clinical conditions, or as a normal result of general neuromuscular adaptation to increased athletic exertion.
Clinical veterinary diagnosis/veterinary approval, and owner/rider/trainer input are essential components of the whole-horse assessment and sports therapy session.
NEUROMUSCULAR FACILITATION AND CORE STRENGTH CONDITIONING: THE CONCEPT
Core muscles mobilize and stabilize the horse’s back. Core strength helps to prevent the development of back pain and injuries. Specific muscle groups involved in core strength activation are deep neck, deep back, abdominal and sublumbar muscles. These muscles raise and round the back and engage the hindquarters. Optimal function of this core musculature is essential for the horse to work in a round outline and to reduce the risk of pain and injury due to hollowing or instability of the joints in the neck and the back.
Degenerative joint disease processes such as osteoarthritis also affect normal function of the stabilizing musculature that surround affected joints. Muscle atrophy and altered neuromuscular functioning of this stabilizing musculature results in ‘dynamic instability’ of arthritic joints. This can be a very focal process, but as muscular (or myofascial) chains are interconnected throughout the body, the effect of a focal clinical issue is often reflected as a global pattern of adapted movement or ‘functional dynamic instability’. This is a normal response of the body to pain and inflammation. Dynamic instability is coupled with loss of ‘motor control’, or normal muscular function under central nervous system (brain) control.
The key aim of the sports therapy sessions is to identify asymmetrical muscle development/muscle function, adapted movement patterns, evidence of dynamic instability and inefficient motor control. Specific exercises are incorporated into the horse’s conditioning programme to re-activate specific muscles or muscle groups to prevent further degeneration (in arthritic conditions) and/or to retrain normal muscle function (in neurological or other clinical conditions). Symmetrical muscle activation and strengthening is essential to promote normal movement.
NEUROKINETIC THERAPY (NKT) – the link between the brain and the body
The brain controls motor function, which is also known as functional movement. Functional movement is compromised with injury, and altered with conditions of chronic pain. Long term, this compensatory movement pattern is detrimental to the body.
Through specific testing techniques, NKT identifies combinations of muscles that are either over- or underactive in a specific motor function. With a combination of various soft-tissue and joint mobilisation techniques and muscle activation exercises, motor function can be restored.
Low level laser therapy stimulates tissue repair and offers pain control through red and infrared light stimulation to tissues including muscle, tendons, ligaments and bone/joints. The application of the laser increases circulation (vasodilation) and cellular synthesis which promotes cellular regeneration and collagen production in tissue repair. In addition, laser therapy stimulates the release of endorphins (natural pain relievers of the body). Laser therapy can be used to enhance healing or for pain management, and can be applied over joints, tendons, ligaments, entire muscles or specifically over trigger and/or acunpuncture points. It is an excellent adjunct in support of the athletic horse during sports therapy sessions and at competitions.
DID YOU KNOW?
Once pain and inflammation have resolved, compensatory muscular function does not automatically revert to normal function. In osteoarthritis of the spine, atrophy and altered neural function of the adjacent core stabilizing muscles leave vertebral segments susceptible to excessive micro-motion, suboptimal joint stability and the potential for further degeneration. Specific muscle retraining/reactivation exercises are essential to promote dynamic stability for the spine. Movement retraining is achieved by specific motor-control exercises (ground-based) and dynamic neuromuscular facilitation techniques, such as taping techniques or work with proprioceptive exercise tools such as the Equiband™ system.
CORE STRENGTHENING EXERCISE FOR THE HORSE’S BACK
We offer recognised certification courses in equine complementary healthcare modalities that maintain and improve the well-being and performance of the horse. In addition, CANINENERGY Ltd. offers a full curriculum of recognized certification courses in canine complementary healthcare science.
Equinenergy™ and Writtle University College – in exclusive partnership since 2003 to produce excellence in equine and canine complementary health care education
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