Serratus muscle and the C7/T1 relationship

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Serratus muscle and the C7/T1 relationship

Postby jmorris » Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:21 am

Hi Madalyn - yet ANOTHER question from me!

I have got a "chicken or the egg" situation and wanted to pick your brain. I will try to be brief but complete.

I have had ongoing problems with my mare, Mingo, regarding the serratus muscle on the right side of her neck. I don't know if this is related, but she is also upright in that right front, but is shod every 4 weeks to stay on top of the heel. I would consider it a VERY mild club.

From time to time, she will aggravate this muscle and will present with a "hopping" step with the right leg at the trot. Worse tracking left as I assume the leg has to make the arc of the outside track, but she also will "hop" on a straight line as well. This hop feels like she is about to generate the first stride of canter, but she does not canter. To me it feels as if she has to "overlift" the right shoulder/leg in order to complete a full stride. Since the serratus is part of the topline muscle group, it is an important muscle in the lifting of the limb.

In the right lead canter, she can maintain the lead all day long on a circle, but if I send her straight, she will swap out the lead only up front. If I try to do just a few strides of right lead counter-canter, she also will swap up front to the left lead.

I work on her neck several times week, pulling her head towards me in order to open up the scapula so I get in there. I do trigger point first until I get a lick and a chew, then I will go to town massaging the area. When I am just about done, I will "grip" the scapula with my left hand and with my right, I will apply pressure with my palm and go up her neck towards her ears. Then I take my thumbs together, right in the middle of the muscle and will drag them away from each other, one up towards the neck and the other goes down to almost the point of her shoulder.

Now here is where the chicken and the egg come in. Yesterday when my holistic vet was out, she found Mingo to be "severly" out in the C7/T1. It had not even crossed my mind that she might be out here. I know this area when out can mimic a shoulder lameness. She has been out there before - the most dramatic being when her filly ran her over a year ago May. (Remember my filly with the Sweeney Shoulder?) The filly connected with Mingo on the right shoulder, neck and head. Mingo was noticeably lame afterwards. I had her chiro'd 10 days after the accident and she was sound as a bell. Her C7/T1 was out.

For a few months now, Mingo has been on again, off again with the muscle. Holistic vet did not pick up a problem with the C7/T1 when she was here 6-7 weeks ago and Mingo was having problems with her neck back then.

Here are my questions: obviously the vet may have missed it the last time or the mis-alignment was minor and therefore not detectable. Could a mis-alignment of the C7/T1 cause the serratus a problem? OR could the muscle problem be the cause of her losing the alignment? From what I have read in my muscle book, it appears the serratus ties in/attaches from the C3 to the C7. I now firmly believe the two are very connected to each other.

For right now, I am supporting with BL Solution 2x a day until tomorrow morning to knock out any inflammation that may be going on with the muscle. I guess I am trying to "calm" everything down in there in hopes of her keeping the alignment so the muscle can improve.

Do you have any thoughts on this? Any other remedies I should consider? I do have arnica (I know I have 30c, but I may have some 1m - have to go look) I ALWAYS forget about arnica and it is sitting right in my remedy kit in the barn :x I also have hypericum, rhus and rhuta grav. Any other thoughts as to why this keeps happening and any exercises you can think of to help support this area? She is not real "keen" on stretching theleg otwards - she tends to pull it back hard and she does not like to have it stretched back either - both I know are good for tis but she is resistant. When working undersaddle, it helps her immensly if I overbend her neck to the right at the walk and then gradually let her out and chew the reins down into a stretch. I also will do some half pass, leg yield along the wall and shoulder-in with her to encourage to open up her chest as her pecs also get a bit sore from all this as well.

I appreciate any advice you can give.

Thanks!

Jill

edited to add - in spite of all this, she continues to try very hard undersaddle and has given me some really beautiful work. We had a trot extension last week that wuold make your jaw drop. She obviously has good days and bad days. She is a Jue Yin Fire/Wood combo, but since doing the hair analysis, Mingo is losing her bad reputation as a difficult horse and is a joy to ride!!
jmorris
 
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Postby mward » Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:48 am

Jill,
I can't say which came first but the C7/T1 certainly do affect the serratus and vice versa. Anytime I see a problem recurring like this I look at internal adhesions. Since the phrenic nerve comes into the spine in the C5 to C7 area then abdominal adhesions are possible. With mares I always check the ovaries as they can get sore after any ovulation and cysts can cause chronic soreness and adhesions.
Also make sure you don't have a first rib that is out as it will over ride the vertebral adjustment. The fact that Mingo does not want to bring her leg out or back makes me suspect the rib.
If I have a horse that tends to tight shoulders I make sure each time before I ride that they can drop the shoulder and rest their toe on the ground comfortably. Small circles with the hoof at the level of the opposite ankle will help relax the shoulder area.
If you have an ovary problem you will want to stretch the hind leg on the same side back and towards the opposite side to stretch the tissues in the flank and release mild adhesions. Another reason I suspect internal adhesions is that Mingo gets better after she warms up. Connective tissue adhesions relax somewhat as the circulation warms the area up. Arthritic horses that improve with exercise are usually more soft tissue around the joint than actual joint damage. Hope this helps. Madalyn
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Postby jmorris » Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:04 am

Thanks Madalyn - some good food for thought. I will be sending in Mingo's new sample to Patsy towards the end of November but I may send it earlier if she is showing signs of discomfort in there. Maybe Patsy can pick up on it in the acute stage. That what is so strange about this as it comes and goes. She can go months without showing signs and she can show months of it bothering her to different degrees. I have thought of adhesions or possibly scar tissue. I am thinking at some point she may have had an injury in there where sacr tissue has built up.

Always a work in progress with this mare :lol:
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Postby mward » Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:09 am

I will be interested to see what Patsy finds. I suspect you have some ovary issues. Madalyn
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Postby jmorris » Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:01 pm

Patsy did find a cyst on her right ovary back in January when I did the original testing. On her re-check 3 months later (she was on an 11 week program), Patsy said the cyst was gone. Her cycles have been VERY regular since dissolving the cyst. Before that, she would cycle erratically. She would come into heat, go out for a few days and come right back in. One heat cycle seemed to go on for over 3 weeks. Now she is cycling right at about 21 days and the heats are very normal. She used to object to the right leg when in heat, now she doesn't. She may have the beginnings of another one though, so I may run her sample out to Patsy sooner than I was going to.
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