Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)
FES is a neuromuscular stimulator that produces a functional muscle contraction of superficial and deep muscle groups, mimicking a real muscle contraction. Following an injury, the pathway that stimulates normal muscle contraction and relaxation can become abnormal. This leads to muscle pain, spasms and muscle atrophy (loss of muscle).
FES can help the muscles learn normal contraction patterns again. By doing this FES can reduce back pain due to muscle spasms, increase range of motion, and improve back muscle symmetry. FES works best when combined with a core rehab program. FES helps to break the pain cycle and re-train the muscle, while the rehab program helps the horse to recruit the muscles and use them properly on their own. FES can also be helpful in maintaining muscle mass in a horse that is out of work for an unrelated injury.
Commonly treated regions include thoracic spine, lumbar spine/ pelvic region, and neck. Other areas are treated on a case by case basis.
We recommend the first two treatments occur within 2-3 days of each other, followed by at least once treatment/ week for the first month. More treatments will depend on the severity of the muscle pain/ weakness and the horse’s clinical progression as determined by your veterinarian. Some horses will need more follow up treatments to maintain the results with FES.
Example of thoracic spine and triceps muscle treatment