I've long believed that both traditional Western medicine (relies on pharmaceuticals and surgery for treatment) and Eastern medicine (uses physical, herbal and mental therapies) are useful in treating injuries and ailments. Each has its limitations, and often they can be used together.? But neither practitioners nor patients use them in a complementary way often enough. Here's a personal example: In May 2010, I was thrown from a horse and knocked unconscious, with four fractured ribs and a fractured occipital bone. I spent three days in intensive care, because only the best of Western medicine?s pain-killing medication and diagnostic tools could help me. But, after the pain subsided, I noticed my right shoulder was painful and markedly lower than my left. X-rays revealed no fracture, so I was given more pain pills and more rest. Not very helpful. I went to my chiropractor, who, over several visits, manipulated my shoulder (and spine) back into place, relieving the pain and helping restore the range of motion I'd lost. Similarly, We've been working with Suzanne Guyton, an equine chiropractor, for about four years, The relief sHe's provided numerous horses has been remarkable. In November, I told her that my four-year-old filly had become crabby about grooming and saddling, and I was concerned about her withers, shoulders and ribs. Suzanne?s exam confirmed soreness in her withers and ribs. We checked saddle fit and found that as the filly?s physically matured, the saddle?s been hitting pressure points behind the scapula. So, Suzanne manipulated her, and I'll use a different saddle. Had I asked our vet, whom we consider the best lameness vet in the area, I suspect he?d have prescribed Robaxin, which would?ve relieved the pain but not the problem. Here's another example: Bill is a two-year-old warmblood gelding who was in training with us this past summer. When I curried his neck the first time, he flew backward and broke out of the crossties. That suggested pain in his neck, and I also noticed he moved stiffly and tentatively on the longe, so the owner had Suzanne examine him. She immediately found severe trauma in his first two cervical vertebrae?she said he probably felt like he had a migraine every day?and went to work on him. Bill?s initial reaction was guarded, but everything she did clearly made him more comfortable, and he became visibly more relaxed as she worked. He moved more calmly and comfortably on the longe line, and we could practically see the muscles grow in his formerly pencil-thin neck. After two treatments, he was?I swear?like a different horse. I'm not criticizing traditional medicine. Chiropractors can't help bowed tendons or gaping wounds, infections or diseases. Only a veterinary arsenal can treat those issues. But precious few vets (or doctors) are willing to combine their digital X-rays, ultrasounds and infra-red scanners with chiropractic, acupuncture or herbal medications. Some do, but I wish more would.