Sunday, January 8, 2017

Finding Equine Inflammation Management Supplements

By Jessica Wilson

As athletes age, muscles and joints begin to wear out. Exercise, which is essential for good health, also causes wear and tear. When damage begins to overwhelm recovery, pain and inflammation can be troublesome. However, inflammation is a natural response, so suppressing it with chemicals is not the answer. To keep a horse and rider team going, equine inflammation management supplements can be valuable.

Horsemen have practiced pain management for centuries. Today's horse owners use the old ways as well as the results of research into both the causes and the mechanics of muscle and joint pain. We now know that inflammation is a natural response to injury, but it can also be a cause of discomfort. The trick is to allow an inflammatory response to do its restorative work but limit it so pain is reduced.

Herbs are nature's keys to successful treatment. Rather than suppressing the inflammatory response, herbal supplements can keep it within the limits necessary for healing. Inflammation involves increased circulation, which is necessary for soft tissue repair. However, too strong a response causes swelling and tenderness. There are many herbs that promote healing rather than merely suppress symptoms. Although the way herbal preparations work is not always clear to science, their effects have been well documented.

Old and new ideas combine in herbal treatments. People have used Devil's Claw for generations; this tall weed is known to ease the pain and stiffness of rheumatism. For horses, this herb is sold in powders or pellets and helps keep horses flexible. It helps the horse to start out happily under saddle, instead of having to wince along for a while until everything loosens up.

Other proven anti-inflammatory plants are ginger, boswellia, and tumeric. In fact, a mixture of these three herbs in equal parts can be fed daily (one to two tablespoons a day) to keep horses 'working sound'. Look for these plants in the list of ingredients of athletic support preparations on the market and you will see how prevalent they are.

Even if a horse doesn't have soft swelling or a limp, a loss of flexibility is a sign of muscular discomfort and incipient arthritis or other disorders. As people know, aches and pains can take all the fun out of physical activity. Favoring one muscle or joint may put extra stress on another, making further injury probable. Since riding is the point, and exercise is good for almost everything that ails us, free movement is important. Exercise tones muscles, boosts circulation, and increases fitness. Vitamin and mineral-rich herbs can give the horse what it needs to stay healthy, strong, and active.

Horsemen use many methods to keep a horse sound or help it recover. Acupressure, hot and cold poultices, infra-red light treatments, ultra-sound sessions, massage, and rub-downs can be accompanied by herbal supplements to maximize the benefits. Hyaluronic acid, a natural part of joint fluid, can be given orally or injected directly into a joint, where it helps restore mobility and relieve the pain of a 'dry' joint. Glucosamine and chondriotin are used by the body to build cartilage; supplementing them helps with arthritis.

Experts recommend finding a good supplement and feeding it for a while. After a year or so, change to another to make sure your horse is getting what it needs. You can also use herbal supplements topically, like curcumin in a leg rub. This herb heats up tendons and joints and helps promote healing. There are many excellent products formulated to keep your horse active and fit.

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