COMMON CONDITIONS & MASSAGE

Clinical massage - effective, results driven, complementary and holistic therapy for dogs

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Strains & Sprains

STRAINS

Have a look at my video on you tube for a visual description, here

Strains are muscular tears, commonly called a pulled muscle. They usually occur at the point where muscle blends into tendons.  Commonly seen as lameness and limping.  They can either be acute i.e. occur suddenly when a muscle in use suddenly contracts when the dog turns suddenly for example or there is a violent pull on an already stretched muscle (e.g. lumbar back strains are often caused by over enthusiastic tugging play). Any dog is liable to this type of strain but the more active types such as agility dogs have a higher likelihood of getting an acute strain.

The other type is a repetitive strain and is less obvious and is a chronic condition that comes on over time.  An example of this is a dog that lives predominantly on slippery flooring e.g. laminate, could be constantly micro tearing their superficial pectoral muscles when they get up or just by trying not to do the “splits” when they walk on these surfaces


I will evaluate your dogs for these often hidden muscular and soft tissue injuries and conditions that may not show up on X rays or MRI scans.

BENEFITS OF MASSAGE


  • Partially realigning scar tissue caused by strains with healthy muscle fibres.

  • Increasing flexibility and elasticity in the muscles

  • Promoting blood flow to the muscles

  • Addressing areas of compensation.

  • Enhancing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles.

  • Warms and mobilises muscles. Warm muscles are less likely to injure.

  • Natural form of pain relief

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Sprains

SPRAINS are damage to the ligaments which attach bone to bone. One of the most common examples in dogs is damage to the cruciate ligament in the knee. Damage to this is usually caused by the dogs leg twisting suddenly, maybe the foot gets caught in a hole and the dog turns.  Ligaments also become worn and weakened over time.  Ligament damage is usually characterised by dogs unable to weight bear and severe lameness.

There are 4 grades of SPRAIN

Grade 1  - up to 10% of fibres are torn

Grade 2 – up to 50% of fibres are torn

Grade 3 – complete rupture

Grade 4 – complete rupture and a piece of bone is also torn away.

BENEFITS OF MASSAGE

  • Releases Endorphins which are the feel good hormones into the body, this helps manage pain

  • Promotes recovery post surgery and after injury

  • Relieves tension in sore tight muscles thus increasing flexibility

  • Allows muscles to slide and glide

  • Enhances performance in sporting dogs

  • Identifies hidden injuries or muscular issues that may be causing problem behaviours

  • Speeds up the elimination of toxins and waste products from the muscles. Especially for active and sporting dogs, e.g agility

  • Allows for greater freedom of movement

  • Relieves tension in muscles that are splinting joints affected by arthritis or other orthopaedic conditions e.g. cruciate problems

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POST OP

Massage helps post operatively (after 6 weeks) but I can use a special type of massage called Manual Lymphatic Drainage to reduce odema (swelling) and encourage the flow of Lymph (vital for healing) whilst your dog is immobile. This can be done as soon as 72 hours post op.

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TRIGGER POINTS, ADHESIONS & MYOFASCIAL PAIN SYNDRONE

Most commonly known as “knots”, trigger points are in fact hyperirritable nodules in a band of muscle fibres. They are areas of “sick” muscle that aren’t getting the oxygen, nutrients and certain chemicals that allow them to “switch off”. They are areas in the muscle where waste products get trapped and irritate pain receptors. Massage encourages the body to send the GOOD elements to these areas and remove the WASTE products.

Feeling for Trigger points is part of my initial assessment and is ongoing during the massage

too. Your dog may react when I find one of these trigger points.

Trigger points can also refer pain to other parts of the body.


ADHESIONS

When scar tissue forms in muscle it can stick to other structures around it including fascia which is then disrupted and means muscles are unable to slide and glide properly against other muscles. These adhesions affect mobility which can lead to muscular and skeletal pain, which in turn creates more adhesions….


MYOFASCIAL PAIN SYNDROME

Fascia is a fascinating 3 dimensional web of connective tissue that covers all the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones of the body.  It is this that allows them to slide and glide over each other minimising friction. If  there is insufficient movement or stretching of a muscle the fascial layers between the muscles can become stuck to one another restricting muscle movement and pain when pressure is applied.

 Fascia can also be damaged by a trauma such as a knock or blow, overuse and not having sufficient rest time, or simply the ageing process.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome is pain and inflammation in the muscles and soft tissue caused by restrictions in the fascia leading to reduced flow of nutrients going to the muscle and causing a build up of toxins that irritate the nerve endings. This in turn causes the formation of painful wide radiating myofascial trigger points.

MFP often results in areas that are hypersensitive to touch so for example dogs that cannot even tolerate light stroking.

You may also see localised twitching, especially down a dogs back when you stroke them.

BENEFITS OF MASSAGE

  • Promotes the body’s natural healing process

  • Breaks down adhesions and helps prevent them forming.

  • Sends oxygen, nutrients and necessary chemicals to areas affected by trigger points.

  • Removes metabolic waste products to prevent formation of trigger points.

  • Releases “bound “ fascia so reducing formation of trigger points

  • Increases plasticity in the fascia allowing for greater freedom of movement.

  • Desensitises overtly sensitive areas of fascia

  • Releases Endorphins which are the feel good hormones into the body

  • Relieves tension in sore tight muscles

  • Releases restrictions in tight fascia

  • Breaks down adhesions.

  • Allows muscles to slide and glide

  • Addresses Trigger Points (“Knots”)

  • Sports massage Identifies hidden injuries or muscular issues that may be causing problem behaviours. Ask yourself, Is it a training problem or a muscular issue that is causing unwanted or unusual behaviour?