Positive Body Mapping!
My Reggie suffers with locking stifle – something he’s had since we bought him, that we manage and (touch wood) is getting better as he gets older. I also know, with Reggie, he finds it easier to ignore a area of his body, whether this be because of pain (if he ignores it, he can ignore the pain) or distraction of something more pleasurable (he often tripped as a youngster, as he was almost always too busy looking at something else to care about what his feet where doing!)
He’s been appearing lame in his back legs, and showing reluctance to walk through the deeper mud. He’s had a chiro treatment last week, and she agrees that the stifle and leg is fine, he’s just expecting pain, so is shielding it, making it appear lame.
I’ve used methods before to draw his attention to body parts (nothing negative mind!) like jingle bells round his front fetlocks, to encourage him to pay attention to his feet and not fall over, rather than starring off into the middle distance!
And with the go ahead from our chiro (remember I’m not a body works expert! So don’t take what I say as absolute gospel, I’ve just studied and applied to what works with my horses) and drawing inspiration from @pantherflows (of instagram) Pain Science and Performance course, I’ve started rebuilding Reggies body map, with positive touch and sensation, to draw attention back to the nerves in that area so he doesn’t ignore it for fear of pain, and hopefully be able to introduce wider ranges of motion with it during the winter.
This includes having a long hot water bottle tucked up and under his rug, to warm him up. I then pulled the rug back slightly (careful to keep it as warm as possible!) and used gentle taps with my hand to pull attention to that area. I then used the silicone hammer that goes with my tuning fork, and then finished with the vibrations of my tuning fork. 4 different sensations, that won’t hurt, and some more pleasurable than others, to rebuild positivity to that area. The important thing now is to maintain this work, and do it on the regular, so we don’t revert back to shielding in fear of pain.
In an ideal world, I'd be doing this positive touching all over his body, but with the weather the way it is, I feel it was only fair to keep him warm and tackle the "problem" areas! Though I found he also quite enjoys the tickle of the tuning fork around his ears and face