Physiotherapy Assessment & Treatments
Physiotherapy is used to alleviate pain, improve mobility and improve the animal's quality of life.
We aim to promote and enhance recovery, following injury or illness, to a good level of independent function and minimise the risks of potential secondary complications.
At the initial consult the animal would be assessed to see how well they are, their behaviour, how they move and to get an insight into their normal routine to see if physiotherapy is suitable. Before the initial consult we would need to obtain a veterinary referral to ensure that the animal is fit to go ahead with physiotherapy which we get directly from your vet.
We use various techniques to ensure we get the best multimodal approach to treatment so that the animal gets the right rehabilitation programme for their condition. Below are some of the techniques that we utilise and how they work:
Laser Therapy, or “photobiomodulation”, is the use of specific wavelengths of light (red and near-infrared) to create therapeutic effects. These effects include improved healing time, pain reduction, increased circulation and decreased swelling.
There is no patient sedation or restraint required and the experience is usually pleasant and comforting to them. Although improvement is often seen after the first visit, most patients require several treatments for greatest benefit. For most conditions, we recommend a multi-visit treatment plan.
During each painless treatment, laser energy increases circulation, drawing water, oxygen, and nutrients to the damaged area. This creates an optimal healing environment that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain. As the injured area returns to normal, function is restored and pain is relieved.
Numerous Studies show that laser therapy can help with:
Oedema and Congestion
Neck and Back Pain
Massage and Manual Therapies
Massage is used in physiotherapy to warm up muscles before exercises and mobilisations, and also to help cool down muscles after exercising, as it accelerates muscle recovery. It is beneficial for easing muscle tension, endorphin release, increasing blood flow and lymphatic drainage. By increasing blood flow it improves the elasticity in the soft tissues, such as ligaments and tendons, and it also improves muscle and joint function. It is used a lot in neurological patients as it improves muscle tone and sensory awareness. It is very good for promoting mental and physical relaxation and is something that can be taught to owners for you to do for your pets at home. It can be performed with trigger point therapy, passive range of motion, stretch and flexion exercises.
Electrotherapies & Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy
Electrical therapies are used commonly in physiotherapy as they can enhance muscle contraction, and either increase or decrease muscle tone depending on the condition and the modality used. They can be used to stimulate sensory input when the patient may have reduced nerve function. Some therapies can enhance pain relief post operatively and be used for muscle strengthening, which prevents muscle atrophy. Muscle atrophy is a common side effect following orthopaedic and neurological surgery, as the patient may be recumbent post operatively or on strict cage rest. There are some machines that can be used at home with proper training but the physiotherapist would advise if this is necessary depending on the animals condition. These therapies are beneficial as they can penetrate deeper into the tissues than manual therapy can. Electromagnetic Field Therapy can also be used to aid in the bony union of fractures, hasten recovery and alter blood flow dependant on the needs of the animal.
Home Care Plans
Following on from the initial consultation the physiotherapist will design a specific home care plan for you and your pet. This will include treatments such as massage, range of motion exercises and active movements. the home care plan would be modified depending on your animals progress. Performing exercises at home, in addition to the physiotherapy sessions, is vital to achieve the best results. You would be shown how to do these exercises within the sessions to ensure that you and the animal are comfortable with the exercises.
Hydrotherapy can be used alongside physiotherapy in some cases as it helps with muscle building, weight loss, improving range of motion and mobility. It is a low impact exercise that reduces the load through joints allowing more movement for animals with painful conditions, such as hip dysplasia. Depending on your animals condition they may be more suited for under water treadmill or the swimming pool and this would be discussed by your hydrotherapist. The Hydrotherapy we recommend is Essex Canine Hydrotherapy.
Thermotherapy consists of the application of heat or cold to a body area. Heat application is useful for loosening tension in soft tissues and promoting blood flow to the area, which allows the release of endorphins helping the animal to feel better. Cold therapies, such as ice packing, help to reduce localised inflammation, have pain relieving properties and help with vasoconstriction. Heat therapies are very good for using with chronic conditions, such as arthritis, and cold therapies are used for more acute conditions, such as post operatively or for a recent injury to reduce swelling and pain.