What happens when your horse gets injured? There is the initial pain and then reduced blood carrying oxygen to the injury site. The reduced circulation then causes an involuntary spasm or contraction. The spasm helps create a protective splint, which is natures’ way of immobilizing the injured area. The spasm, while in some ways protecting the area, creates more pain, and therefore more spasms. Quite a system, right?
In the beginning of recovery, there is inflammation. There is a purpose to inflammation: it helps the body clear out damaged tissue and muscle fibers. Icing will keep the inflammation from becoming extreme.
New muscle fibers will form as the injury heals. It is crucial, once the body is healed, to keep all tissue, new and old, flexible and pliable with massage and gentle exercise. Cold laser therapy can help with healing damaged tissue, but spasms formed during the injury must be manually removed. I never massage a newly injured horse, or work on any area that is inflamed. Once time has passed, massage is essential to keep the muscles pliable and encourage circulation.