Anthea Gunner, Para Equestrian Paralympian


Blog - Journey to London

The Power of PEMF

Posted by Anthea Gunner on October 12, 2016 at 3:15 AM

It’s been a long frustrating winter, after breaking my leg at the end of May. What started as a little spook escalated quickly when my rubber band on my foot snapped and whacked Brian in the side, causing him to jump sideways and an already slightly off balance Anthea had nowhere to go but off the side! Worse luck my foot got caught in the (safety!) stirrup and I ended up hanging off the side, where I was very pleased to have a sensible horse who stopped and stood still! However the damage was done which I discovered 2 days later when my leg was swollen and bruised…. Spiral fracture of the tibia… 6-8 weeks in cast they said.

And so the recovery began, typically the weather was still stunning if cold for May in NZ. We had just worked through a tricky patch starting to ask for canter and losing the ability for everything else in the process! Brian had 6 weeks on holiday which he had deserved and I dutifully visited the hospital every 2 weeks for a skin check and xray. The healing started well but at 6 weeks everything stalled and by 10 weeks I was becoming extremely frustrated with everything!

‘Let’s give it 4 more week’s’ the surgeon said, reluctant to have to do surgery but it was 50/50 as to whether my leg would get started healing or not. I was also reluctant to have surgery as I had hoped to be back riding by 10 weeks, not facing more uncertainty. After a facebook rant a friend said ‘come try my PEMF blanket’ and with nothing to lose off I went, taking over Sally & John’s living room 2-3 times a week for 4 weeks. Pulse Electro Magnetic Field Therapy  was originally used in the USA for healing ‘non-union’ fractures (so bones that won’t heal themselves), and amongst other things promotes circulation throughout the body. Since my spinal injury circulation is not my strong point!

In the meantime Brian was now back in very light work being lunged, now that my cast was below the knee instead of mid thigh and after many nights watching cavaletti clips on you tube I set up some poles and Aaron made me a couple of cavaletti to use in the hopes of keeping Brian from dying of boredom on the lunge. He was a little excited to start with, especially when I made the cavaletti into a jump for fun at the end, talk about overachiever!

I went back for another xray at 12 weeks, still no visible change ‘surgery looks likely’ they said and I grew ever frustrated, but dutifully continued the PEMF and taking various supplements to assist healing. With dread building I returned at 14 weeks, prepared for the worst and wondering if I would be riding before Christmas!

When the doctor came in and said it looks great and unlikely that I would need a cast anymore you could have knocked me down with a feather! Looking at the xray there was only a very faint line and lots of blurriness which they told me was great. So I was sent home in a moon boot for 4 weeks and with a 6-8 week timeline for riding. So 6 weeks is this weekend so I’m getting back on rain or shine even if it’s just for a walk around!

I’ve continued with the PEMF treatments (and I really enjoy Sally & John’s company!) just to ensure that the healing is complete and am convinced that it is what has made the difference to my healing. I wouldn’t hesitate to use it again, and I am sure Brian’s turn will also come. If you want to try it Sally also has a PEMF horse rug and offers treatments, you can check out her website I really appreciate Sally’s support and hospitality throughout this frustrating time.

Now Brian is ready to go having been massaged, had his chiropractic check up with my lovely sponsor Dr Joy White which I was very pleased to see how much better his body and posture is, no longer is the wither a touchy area, it’s now his favourite place for a scratch! It has cemented that the slow and steady approach to his training is paying off and that he is more comfortable and building strength in the right places. His feet have also been done and he is almost fit to go out in public - 5 months of mane growing is quite impressive – thanks Jo for tidying it up! The lunging has really paid off with much better movement and range coming from his hind quarters and now I just need to get on and go!

Looking forward to next weekend!


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