Thursday, May 18, 2017

Stick a Needle In It

I am not a hippy dippy woo woo person. You start talking about vibes and energy and my eyes have crossed if I'm even still in the room. 
I R BITE THE THING
But the vet said acupuncture might really help C and since dumping bushels of money down a rabbit hole is basically the description of me owning a horse as an adult, I figured what the hell.

Full disclosure: many years ago I rode a horse that someone paid for acupuncture on. The horse fell asleep with the needles in, but I noticed zero change in performance. That is my entire history with acupuncture.
that purple padding tho
This is the same vet who did Courage's chiropractic appointment a couple weeks ago. She rechecked him and said that his previous pain hotspots already felt much better and that he just looked better generally since his shoeing changes and injections. Then she asked what I expected out of an acupuncture appointment.

I managed to leave "hippy dippy woo woo" out of my response and said I wanted to try and change muscle memory of pain and help Courage realize he felt better. She came back with two things that were very interesting.

1) Horses in general are very honest about what hurts and doesn't, which is why we can do nerve blocks on them. They don't just sit around thinking about pain.

2) She doesn't really buy in to the "energy" stuff around acupuncture. She said that more and more, they are finding out that the meridians through the body actually follow fascia lines and very little is understood about them. In her mind, the acupuncture is more about stimulating the fascia and the resulting electrical response, which is why it helps the horse.
needles!
Then it was time to stick needles in him! She used points that were correlated with his various pain issues--a couple in his neck, his coronet band, lots in his SI area, and some down through his stifle. She also stuck one in his head. I thought probably there should be a couple more there, but I was trying to pay attention and be non-distracting instead of turning it to the SB show.

When I say "stuck needles in", I do mean she carefully felt for correct points and had a very deliberate process and everything was symmetrical--one in this side means a matching one in that side.
IS LAPTOP COOKEE
Then she let him "cook" for a while while she made notes on what she'd done in his file for future reference.
pokey needles

Courage stood quietly for part of it, then got restless and started moving around, so she carefully pulled the needles out. Per her instructions, he gets the next day off, then back to work. She warned me he might be fine and he might feel REALLY GOOD, so be alert, haha.

The vet mentioned she gave me a slight discount (for reasons?), so I paid the same as a regular chiropractic adjustment, which wasn't horrible.
so wet

And that was kind of that. It wasn't all magical and woo woo and I don't really know what I think of it. I'm excited to see how he comes back in to work and if I notice any changes.

33 comments:

  1. What a good little patient. I definitely flinched every time the needle went in when I had acupuncture done on myself. Keep us posted!

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    1. Haha I have paid for so many things on horses that I've never done for myself.

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  2. Very curious to see if you notice anything different! I'm an acupuncture skeptic myself, but reading your acupuncturist's take on it (that it's more to do with stimulating an electrical response in the fascia) makes a lot of sense to me. It's something I'd be open to trying, for sure!

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    1. I definitely like when there's a reason why things work that actually makes sense to my non-hippy-dippy-woo-woo brain.

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  3. The acupuncture vet is actually the vet that I use for basically everything for Charmer. I am a big fan of her work. Charmer always feels a lot better after chiro with her. The acupuncture has been about 50/50 on results with him, but I also watched another horse at the barn get acupuncture for a while, and there was a significant difference in his way of going. All depends on the horse I guess. Hopefully it does some good for C!

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    1. I've really liked her so far. Glad you've had good results.

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  4. Can't wait to hear how this goes...

    Wish we had more horse chiro/acu around here. I'm really interested in trying it after 1 - seeing some horses that had receive it TOTALLY change in REALLY good ways and 2 - my own personal results with it. My parents are a doc and nurse. Dad is very anti hippy dippy woo woo and mom has a skeptical, but open mind. I was skeptical and kinda closed but after hurting for awhile (despite all my normal go-tos to feel better) a few years ago finally gave chiro a go. OMG AMAZING. Then, last year when I was having issues chiro and therapeutic massage couldn't help, I finally tried acu. OMG AMAZING. So yeah. Good results here. Helps that my insurance covers it, too.

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    1. What? Insurance actually does something helpful?? Color me surprised.

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  5. You know, what your vet said lines up very closely with what my experiences have been. Once pain is removed, my horses have immediately gone better. Like drastic and immediate. I don't really buy into the "memory of pain" thing.

    I do think horses have go-to responses which don't really change. Crimson is a mini-bolter. His default setting is not to buck, rear or balk. He will still occasionally offer a mini-bolt when he has a tantrum, but it is usually due to a specific reason ("That horse is leaving the ring and I have to work all by myself - WAH") versus multiple bolts per ride for no external environmental reason (pain)which have entirely resolved now that we have removed the pain.

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    1. I probably phrased that poorly--it's more that once a body has learned to compensate for pain and hold itself in a certain way, it doesn't just magically revert to healthier movement patterns when the pain is removed.

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  6. I didn't really feel a lot of changes but I did start seeing changes in his muscles. He is slowly getting more even and willing to release his tension. It took about three tries to get things figured out (read he stopped having meltdowns)

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    1. Ooooooh anything I can get to release tension lol.

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  7. Hoping it is magically woo woo for C!

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  8. I'm definitely interested in hearing if you notice a difference!

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  9. Interesting! Looking forward to the follow up.

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  10. I'll be interested to see what/if any effects it has. I've thought about trying it with Nilla, but I just can't wrap my head around it.

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    1. I keep reminding myself that what we've been doing isn't working, so it's time to try new things.

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  11. I really like your acupuncturist's (is that a word?) take on it. Seems like a very fact based approach.

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  12. I've heard from both woo-woo people (*cough* my mom) and from super left brained people that acupuncture has made a pretty big positive difference for them so here's hoping it does the same for Courage!

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    1. Haha he definitely has his own ideas about things, that's for sure.

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  13. Like everyone else I am standing by to hear how it works.

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    1. Jury is out. Tentatively positive, but out.

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  14. I've been getting dry needling (which is my Physical Therapist's word for acupuncture) for some issues with my back and I've found it for one session very helpful and one session not really much of anything. The time it did help though was when my back was super flared up - it helped the big knot let right go by about 12 hours after. So hopefully that translates to your dude.

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    1. I always laugh at the PT words for things.

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  15. As a skeptic for whom acupuncture actually works, I am hopeful for Courage. It's not a problem solver, but can definitely be a helper!

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    1. I'm hoping it builds on what we've already done. Not expecting magic in a vacuum here.

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  16. One of the most old school, straight-laced vets I know got certified in acupuncture so he could better help his neurology patients. It helps most of the time, does miracles every once in awhile, and sometimes it doesn't help at all.

    I didn't believe in it. My regular doctor offered it when I fucked up my right knee and couldn't walk on it; imaging showed it was fine but my knee said otherwise. I said, "Sure, whatever." I stepped out of that office walking normally and never looked back. Another believer here. My insurance covered it too.

    I hope it helps Courage!

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