The common understanding of Chiropractic Care is ‘cracking bones’, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
As veterinarians we go through intensive training in veterinary spinal manipulation therapy. Chiropractic certification requires hundreds of hours of classroom instruction, numerous case studies and completion of a certification exams. We are able to recognize pathology that may cause chiropractic care to be contraindicated. In these cases alternative treatments may be appropriate.
The word Chiropractic is a combination of two Greek words. Cheiros, means hand. Praktikos, means practice. Or some interpretations deem it, “done by hand.”
Chiropractic care as a therapeutic modality concerns itself with the nervous system and the proper functioning of the entire body as a result. Just like a computer technician, a good chiropractor works toward optimizing and ‘fixing’ the compromised nerve pathways so that the body can operate as intended. This method of treatment usually involves manipulation of the spinal column and other body structures to restore optimal communication between the brain and the rest of the body.
The nervous system is crucial, because all bodily functions such as balance, movement, heart rhythm, gut peristalsis, bladder function and hormone metabolism to just name a few depend on its proper functioning. Thus it is the goal of chiropractic care to ensure optimal innervation of the body to allow it to function in a health way.
Your pet’s spinal column has over one hundred separate joints. Each of these joints must function correctly for it to perform optimally.
When an animal loses normal range of motion in one or more of these joints, it affects nerve flow in the spinal cord and nerve signaling to the tissues and organs in the periphery. As a result the kidneys for example might not function as well as they could or some of your animal’s muscles become weak and don’t respond in time to prevent injury.
When a joint loses proper motion we call it hypomobility or Vertebral Subluxation Complex. This means that the vertebrae and surrounding soft tissue are not moving correctly.
These subluxations are caused by one of three things: trauma, toxins, or stress.
The trauma could be a major traumatic incident or it could be a series of micro traumas that don’t seem to matter at the time they occur but cumulate longterm.
A gait abnormality due to a problem in one leg causes stress in other joints in the body.
Conformation and postural problems can lead to hypomobility anywhere in the animal’s spine.
Gastrointestinal issues and other organ imbalances can cause muscle imbalances due to nerve reflex pathways. The muscle imbalances in turn then cause hypomobility and sometimes compression of nerves that run beneath them (e.g. sciatic nerve).
Even hormonal abnormalities and body wide inflammation can alter range of motion of joints and nerve flow as a result.
To share a little secret with you: the root cause of an issue is rarely where pain is perceived.
Thus it is very important to resolve these imbalances as they occur in order to avoid compounding changes as your animal ages.
If nothing is done…
Joints that are missing proper stabilization from toned muscles or that are lacking motion start to degenerate and arthritis results down the road. In fact, one study showed that it only takes 3 weeks of immobilizing spinal joints (hypomobility) to cause irreversible damage to the joint.
Your animal may become unable to control the rear end (including incontinence)
Injury is much more likely.
Organs don’t function optimally.
The immune system is weakened.
Your animal will experience pain and suffering.
Who should get Chiropractic Care?
Everyone (including humans) benefit from regular chiropractic care to maintain proper functioning just like the regular care you would give your car. Even if your animals look and move in a healthy way, working in a preventative manner as soon as they’re born has the potential to enhance their quality of life significantly. Not only will it cut down on pain and suffering, but you’ll also save money in the long run.
In other words, you’ll have a furry friend with a big smile on it’s face : )
Signs of chiropractic issues:
- Altered head and tail position
- Poor and or changed top line
- Muscle issues, tension atrophy
- Reduced ability to bend the neck
Behavior and Performance:
- Difficulty standing up or walking
- Uneven gait
- Non-specific decrease in performance and fitness
- Refusing jumping
- Lack of desire for play
- Excessive licking
- Sleep problems
History of other medical problems:
- Previous lameness
- Arthritis Incontinence
- Poor appetite Etc.