Who will benefit from spinal manipulation?
- All cats! Every cat is an athlete. The jumping and impact of landing presents repeated stress to their joints. As cats get older many people notice that their cats don’t jump as often or as high as they used to, or that they hesitate to jump. These cats may have restricted motion or osteoarthritis in their joints, and may be in pain.
- Active dogs playing Frisbee, catch, and engaging in rough play with their canine or human friends.
- Performance dogs in agility, fly ball, conformation; herding and hunting dogs.
- Geriatric dogs and cats with decreased mobility, osteoarthritis, and a life-time of wear and tear on their joints.
- Patients with musculoskeletal or neurologic disorders. Any condition (including surgery) that causes pain and/or lameness results in posture and gait changes that may lead to restricted joint movement and further compensatory problems.
- As preventive care for every patient! Maintaining a properly balanced body throughout life will aid in preventing muscle and joint problems.
What is an adjustment?
A spinal adjustment is a very gentle technique used to release joint surfaces that are not moving freely. A small, controlled thrust promotes movement in the normal direction of the joint plane.
I begin my evaluation by gently palpating the contours of the muscles to feel for tension, tone and symmetry. I also palpate the contours of the joints and evaluate range of motion in the limbs. The spine is gently palpated to feel for flexibility and comfort. Specific areas that have decreased flexibility are then adjusted.
What is the goal of therapy?
The goal of therapy is to promote optimal motion in the individual joints of the spine and extremities, and to balance the biomechanics of the entire body. Optimal motion requires peak flexibility and range of motion of all joints, normal muscular function, normal nervous system function, and absence of pain. Restricted motion in any part of the body forces other joints to compensate. The strain on those areas can lead to problems in the joints, nerves, muscles, tendons and ligaments. This can cause reduced joint motion and joint stiffness, muscle tension, muscle atrophy, reduced circulation, reduced nourishment of joint cartilage, pain and development of chronic pain pathways. Cartilage is nourished like a sponge, taking in and releasing joint fluid as the joint is loaded and unloaded. If a limb is not carrying normal weight this process of nourishment will be compromised.
Altered mobility of the spine may also affect range of motion in the extremities resulting in changes in stride length, posture and weight bearing. Chronic alterations in the biomechanics of the spine may contribute to degenerative joint disease when extremities chronically bear weight in abnormal patterns.
Spinal manipulation is a gentle means of preventing problems in active animals, and improving mobility and comfort in those with compromised health.