Q: You worked on my horse with osteopathy last month and it won a race later that day. The results were immediate and now I feel inconsistency in his training sessions a fluctuation where some sessions are like race day and some are really off . It seems if I am stiff or I have missed my stretching sessions it affects him, do you think I need to be treated to enhance his performance?
A: Many injuries for animals or people come from what we perceive as minor incidental occurrences that are easily overlooked. A twist or a kink that we feel will work it's way out. Sometimes after a fender bender or such symptoms are not felt for months.
A very important osteopathic principal can be illustrated here. An injury can occur somewhere in the body and a long period of time later cause symptoms to occur at another area of the body sometimes far away or on the other side. This is due to the properties of the fascia; the underlying connective tissue that is below the surface of the skin. The best way to visualize the fascia is to see it as a body stocking that not only covers the entire surface of the body but dives deep into the body wrapping around every muscle fiber, artery, nerve, muscle group and cell. Lets use an example of an injury you may relate to; Someone is struck on the outside of the left rib cage by accident with a bat goofing around at practice. No broken bones or torn ligaments this injury appears to be an isolated bruise. Ice, rib belt and 6 weeks later all should be well. All seems just fine. Patient however is a cashier rotating often from the conveyor belt to the cash register. Months later the patient is experiencing right groin pain. He sees his family doctor and thank goodness nothing shows up at the right groin. No hip pain with passive ROM, strong muscle strength and lymph nodes are healthy - all is well. Upon osteopathic evaluation with the patient in shorts it is evident that the right rib cage is depressed and the right lateral trunk is shortened. Upon palpation the area is very tight and bound down. The top layer of fascia feels adhered to the lower layers. The patient may or may not remember the initial injury at the time of the evaluation. Usually however upon treating this area the patient will recall the true source of the pain because memories of trauma are stored in the fascia. Fascinating as it is, treating this bound area at the left rib cage may completely resolve the right groin pain. The pain in the right groin may vanish without ever treating that area. The fascia at the right groin will no longer be required to over stretch in order to compensate for the lack of mobility at the left rib cage. The pre-injury original and normal mobility of the rib cage will be restored. Full rotation is allowed because the fascia becomes unbound, unglued; free.
You many have one of these types of injuries because horse trainers take a lot of hits and keep on ticking. Injuries that seem incidental can be causing compensations elsewhere. These compensations translate to the horse who is asked to compensate his stride, his mobility for your restrictions, and filter these to keep you centered and seated while he is trying to accomplish his goals; to be a winner. You increase his chances if you are both Fascially Free.