How can a vertebral subluxation complex be corrected?

When a chiropractor or veterinarian, professionally trained in animal chiropractic, identifies a subluxation, he or she aims to correct the misalignment of the spine and restore mobility to the facet joints.

Realignment is made via a quick, short thrust along the plane of the joint. This is called an adjustment. The adjustment is a very specific, high speed, low force maneuver that moves the affected joint beyond the normal physiological articular range of movement, without exceeding the boundaries of anatomical integrity. It is done by placing the hands directly on the affected vertebra (previously identified in the examination). Only subluxated vertebrae are adjusted.

Even though horses have a very large, thick muscle mass over the spine, the vertebral joints are flexible and relatively easy to manipulate with minimal force. If the correct technique is used the ligaments are not adversely affected.

“Straightening” the spine by pulling on the legs or tail is “non specific” as it affects a number of joints before reaching the vertebra (i.e. when using the leg as a lever the fetlock, hock, stifle and hip joints will all be affected). Non-specific techniques, if not done properly, can damage the ligaments and joints, so it is important to avoid unspecific procedures in favour of safe methods of treatment.  A complete chiropractic treatment also includes the examination (and if necessary treatment) of limb joints and the temporomandibular joint.