The quality of manual therapy is dependent on the background and skills of the therapist's hands. Manual therapy skills will be the greatest tools a skilled Physical Therapist can offer your animal.
With the use of the physical therapist's hands manipulation, traction, joint mobilization, soft tissue massage, myofascial release and stretching can be successfully performed. The goal behind manual therapy is to not only restore joint function but to balance this with proper tissue range of motion and strength. In addition, muscle timing and motor control must be retrained.
Manual Therapy has been successful in treating:
Muscles: weakness, sprains, trigger points/spasms
Tendons: contractures (decreased range of motion), calcifications, tedonitis, strains
Joints: arthritis, bursitis, stiffness, capsulitis restrictions
Spine: back/neck pain, pelvic misalignment, spondylosis, disc problems, spinal conditions, facet joint dysfunction, rib issues
Gait abnormalities: lameness or changes in the soundness of movement
Athletic performance/sporting problems: difficulty with staying in weave poles, missing jumps, inadequate stride lengths, refusal for sharp turns, etc.
Individual exercise programs can be implemented with goal specific results in mind. These programs are developed with an integral approach to strength, endurance, proprioception, fine motor control and injury prevention.
A wide range of conditions/stages are included:
- healthy, deconditioned, geriatric, end stage rehab
- young adolescent (puppies)
Specific programs are designed for the individual needs of the patient.
Each care giver will receive a personally designed program to perform with their pet at home.
Splinting and Assistive Devices
Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER)
Occasionally in the field of rehabilitation, there is the need to create, source, or fit for splints or other assistive devices.
Authorized dealer of HuggieCart®
Laser therapy is the use of laser light to stimulate biological processes that lead to faster healing and pain relief. Lasers used for therapy are less powerful than surgical lasers, and the beneficial effects come not from heat, but from the stimulation of the body's natural healing processes. Like plants absorbing sunlight through photosynthesis, the cells in the body absorb laser energy. This stimulates the body to release its own pain relieving chemical compounds.
Your pet will likely not feel the laser treatment as the therapy causes no heating or burning. Soon after the first treatment, your pet may move with less pain or have a more relaxed stride/better range of motion. Often, a series of treatments will be necessary, but the healing process being rights away. Most treatments take from 3 to 8 minutes and are frequently conducted in conjunction with other forms of rehabilitation therapy.
The most effective and economical treatment for trigger points in dogs is a procedure called dry needling. An acupuncture needle is used to locate the trigger point. When contact is made with the trigger point, an involuntary twitch occurs that involves a spinal reflex loop, which is a pathway in the spinal cord that allows sensory information to be processed without having to travel all the way to the brain for a response.
The short distance the signal has to travel makes the body’s reaction much quicker, protecting it from injury. A reflex loop or arc is in play when your hand touches a hot surface and you unconsciously move it to avoid a burn.
In a dog with trigger points, the contraction is released as a result of the spinal reflex loop, and the relief the dog gets is almost immediate. Some dogs require sedation during the procedure depending on the level of pain and also the animal’s temperament.
Length of treatment depends on the patient and the muscle(s) involved. Dry needling sessions typically last around 20 minutes and are done weekly until the dog shows improvement and feels comfortable.
Cindy with Jan Dommerholt, PT, DPT, MPS, DAAPM, Program Director for Myopain Seminars. Jan is a leading international expert on dry needling and was teaching a class on new needling techniques that Cindy was attending.