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Your experiences with shockwave and mesotherapy for back pain

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    Your experiences with shockwave and mesotherapy for back pain

    So has anyone had great results with these treatments for their horse? I am cautiously pessimistic right now because this is yet another treatment my vet recommended after a number of others have not had significant improvements. He did the SW and Meso yesterday and he wants me to just lunge her for 2 weeks and see where we are at. Have already tried injections in the back and SI (90 days ago now). Have tried a number of other things with no results (chiro, acupuncture, ulcer treatment, repro exam/regumate, changed diet, robaxin, recently changed saddles, time off with lunging only)

    Quick background, horse is backsore but we don't really have a diagnosis (have done full workup/lameness exam, radiographs and U/S of spine) Vet suspected Kissing Spine but that was not confirmed once we did more radiographs (T13-15 are close but not touching) This vets equipment is limited and I am pushing for a bone scan. However, he wants me to wait and see if this treatment works prior to doing a bone scan.

    Has anyone had a good experience with this after other efforts had failed? I am pretty much ready to call and schedule a bone scan . . . . .

    DD's pony and another mare in our barn were diagnosed with kissing spine. Did the robaxin, Tildren and shockwave, no response. Sent both of them to the clinic for a bone scan. Neither of them lit up on the kissing spines. However, the vet we are working with told us that when she finds radiographic kissing spine she goes looking further back to the lumbar region and usually finds facets with arthritic changes. These facets lit up on the bone scan on both mares. She is thinking that maybe the impaired mobility of the kissing spine area helps create the arthritic changes in the facets. She has also found that just injecting the ks area doesn't work but when she injects the facets in the lumbar she gets a good response.

    Pony is now back in work and is 100% improved (she had been at the point that she was at times unrideable - wouldn't go forward, bucking and kicking out like crazy). The other mare goes back to work this Weds and we hope to see the same wonderful results.


      I've had great results with both, though, they're usually where I would start. I've used mesotherapy on many, many horses, and they have all found a good amount of relief with it (with the exception of my current horse who had a horrible allergic reaction that went on for ages. No clue if it helped him because his skin was on fire for weeks afterward ).

      I've used shockwave less often on backs, occasionally in conjunction with another treatment (Tildren, meso, injections), or alone (my horse has gotten alone). I would say all results have been positive, but to varying degrees. Some only seem to get minor relief, others (like mine) are almost instantly improved.

      I think lungeing is a good plan, because movement helps A LOT. I have had a couple of vets have me lunge the horse long and low (using a Pessoa rig or something else) to encourage them to lift and use their back and get some strength in the muscles, which should help.

      Hope you get some relief!


        Did 3 treatments of this about 1 month apart for my gelding with KS. That combined with rehabbing back muscles did the trick. The meso/SW helped break up the muscle spasms so he could use the muscles in his back.
        Good luck,


          My horse with kissing spines did not respond at all to shockwave and back injections. We only did it once, hit him with "everything" to see if there was any improvement, planning to do less the next time ... But no change at all. He was a difficult case as it really wasn't certain that the KS was his primary issue. Vets were stumped, and this was after two bone scans (year apart), tons of diagnostics and treatments, and pow wows between pretty much every lameness vet in the area plus all their friends and colleagues from around the country. The only thing we did not try was exorcism. He was nicknamed Diablo for a reason.

          Since you've already treated, I'd give it the suggested time and see where you are. Bone scans are useful, but not always the clear picture we want them to be. We did two because the first showed a few hot spots, including the back where radiographs showed pretty significant KS. After first, lots of treatments were done, including the SW and injections, with no real change. So "hope" with the 2nd bone scan was that it might reveal some changes, like we helped one area so now we are left with this other one. Nope. Looked the same.

          Good luck. I know your frustration, as I've been there.


            my gelding was almost unchanged about the first treatment and adjustment to saddle. It may take more txtmts than just one, in my case 3 plus months of rehab. But you need a trainer who can really help you do the rehab. I could not have done it on my own, because he REALLY didn't want to use those muscles. I spent 4 months walking him 5-6 days a week. He was so sore initially, he wouldn't go downhill unmounted!


              One other comment...not my horse, but one I knew that my vet treated with mesotherapy did make a huge turnaround. I believe his issue was in the neck, and they saw a big improvement. I do not, however, know how it went in the long run.
              Horse went from unrideable to rideable (and showing, I think?), but I haven't seen him in awhile to know how he is now.


                Original Poster

                Thanks for your responses. Really helps to hear these stories. Horsepoor--wow, sorry about your horse--I feel like we are starting down your path. It sounds like my low expectations are pretty realistic. It may or may not work for her--or it may take multiple treatments and months of rehab.

                Yellowbritches, I am lunging the horse in a chambon de gogue and I've done some long lining with her as well. The annoying thing is that she looks great, works happily in all 3 gaits. . . . on_the_lunge. It's only when we add weight that she is obviously in pain. She's been on that program for a while now and her back is building muscle (although it was never atrophied) This stumps my vet as well--he says her back looks to be in great shape. Arghhh.

                So, the vets claim that she doesn't have KS--only that the vertebrae are "close".

                I found this great article that made me more certain that I would like a diagnosis before we start applying more "treatments".



                  My student's horse has a history of back pain, LONG story short, tried shockwave last year for the first time. I was skeptical to be honest. The results were just short of a miracle. I cannot describe how much better he got, it was amazing.


                    Shock wave is better, but I usually start with Miso anyway for some reason. Maybe because it is cheaper. But it is not covered by insurance, whereas shock wave perhaps is-


                      A horse at the barn that I'm at had been treated for KS with Mesotherapy and it worked great for her. I think doing that and along with doing belly lifts, carrot stretches and exercises to strengthen the back is also useful in the long run.


                        I finally went to a bone scan for my horse with mystery lameness, and we did not get a conclusive diagnosis or treatment plan from that. Just be prepared for there to be a lot of seemingly unrelated little tiny things on the bone scan that do not give you a focused idea of what to do next.
                        Somewhere in the world, Jason Miraz is Goodling himself and wondering why "the chronicle of the horse" is a top hit. CaitlinAndTheBay


                          Having gone through a few bone scans with different horses (I am horsePOOR for a reason ), you do have to be prepared to find nothing much. They might light up all over, so you have lots of things to chase, or not much at all, or something in between. In all cases, I had to keep the horse in work in the time preceding so they have something to show on the bone scan. You don't want to lay them up, have their issue go quiet, and then the scan picks up nothing. For two of mine, the bone scan was pretty conclusive and led us to the right place to do further diagnostics and later treatment. The two scans on the KS horse were not terrifically helpful. I guess they did rule out some stuff, but never gave us an aha! moment and that can be very frustrating, but I was well prepared for that possibility.


                            I've had shockwave done on my two top horses (both in the SI region) in conjunction with chiro/acupuncture and it made a big difference in their ability to "hold" the adjustments my vet/chiro was making. But I wouldn't expect it to make a big difference without supporting therapies, though. Maybe lunging and getting the horse really swinging through the back would do it, but I would want a body worker of some sort working on the back with the SWT. It's certainly where I've seen the biggest differences on mine.

                            Best of luck to you. Nothing worse than something you can't quite put your finger on.
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