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Manual Therapies

Massage 

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Massage encompasses many different techniques where the therapist uses their hands to influence the tissues under their fingers;

Effleurage massage encourages the flushing of toxins from within the superficial (top layer) of tissue cells.

 

Petrissage targets the deeper tissues and utilises compression to improve blood circulation, increase recovery, stretch and loosen muscle fibres and increase range of movement.

And finally Tapotement is used as a stimulatory massage to "wake up" the tissue cells and nervous system in areas of weakness encouraging increased cellular recruitment and correct usage of the muscles during movement. 

As a VP i will not use all of these techniques in every session, the use will be dependant on what i am trying to encourage the cells to do in each individual muscle or group of muscles. 

Stretches and Range of Movement 

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If a joint, muscle or connective tissue becomes injured it can easily heal in a shortened pattern due to the constrictive nature of the healing tissues. If left untreated it can cause restricted movement, painful twinges and increase the risk of injuring the affected tissues again. Severe cases of muscle contractures, often related to long term neurological conditions or a direct trauma, can have a pronounce effect on muscle strength.

By lengthening the soft tissues through stretching this can aid the healing and restore correct function of the tissues. This is best carried out following a "warm up" either from targeted massage or gentle exercise of the targeted area.

 

How stretches can help;

  • Increase range of movement and flexibility

  • Decrease muscle tension / tone

  • Increase proprioception, and awareness of body position and limbs.

  • Improve neuromuscular co-ordination

  • Reduces the risk of muscular and soft tissue injury

  • Improves sweep of synovial fluid around joint capsule, supplying nutrients


Where stretches e.g. carrot/treat stretches are prescribed by a VP for home exercise programs i would always suggest carrying them out following a "warm up" and not on cold tissues, for advice on this please ask. 

Ischaemic Pressure

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Ischaemic compression (IC) is a mechanical treatment of myofascial trigger points (often seen as a muscle spasms when the localised area is pressed). IC's consists of application of sustained pressure for a long enough time to inactivate the trigger points. This has to be done in the correct way as if in-correctly applied it can cause muscle soreness, and it is a skill in itself to locate the trigger point within the muscle so please do not try this method without the help of a qualified Veterinary Physiotherapist (VP).
 

This IC effect can also be replicated using the application of Laser at the correct frequency and duration by a VP.

Electrotherapy's

Pulsed Magnetic Frequency Therapy

Pulsed magnetic frequency therapy

Pulsed Magnetic Frequency Therapy uses magnetic fields at different frequencies to treat a variety of conditions.

It can aid in reducing pain and inflammation, repairing ligaments and the healing of bone fractures. 

 

Conditions it is often used to treat include-

  • Arthritis and joint conditions

  • Muscle spasms

  • Fractures

  • Hypotonicity in a muscle

  • Tendon and ligament injuries

Laser & LLLT Therapy

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Class 3B Laser & Low level light Therapy

 is a quick, pain-free treatment that is easy to apply and often very effective. 

Red and Infra Red Laser therapy has proven to be effective at improving the healing of,

  • Wounds

  • Soft tissue injuries

  • Tendons and ligaments

  • Musculoskeletal injuries

  • Fractures

And has also been effective in Arthtitis management;
Laser has been shown to improve cartilage regeneration and act as an effective complimentary pain relief in Osteo-arthritis cases. Its important to remember arthritis is degenerative and laser will not "cure" the arthritis but rather improve the symptoms and increase mobility longevity with less pain. 

Trigger points; 

Laser has also been shown to aid the treatment of trigger points or tight bands of muscle tissue often seen as a "fasciculation" or muscle spasm when pressure is applied to the localised area.

Infection prevention;

Blue light phototherapy can help prevent infection in wounds due to its antibacterial action.

​Laser works through choosing targeted wavelengths and pulsing frequencies of light which are used to stimulate the cells involved in the bodies own natural healing process.

Ultrasound

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Therapeutic ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves through a coupling gel to produce both thermal and non thermal effects in soft tissue structures to improve healing and remodelling of injuries.

Ultrasound is particularly useful for:

  • Increasing circulation

  • Increasing contractility of muscle fibres 

  • Decreasing inflammation and Oedema

  • Decreasing scar tissue formation , and softening and strengthening.

  • Decreasing pain and muscle spasm

  • Decreasing tendon and ligament inflammation 

  • Treating contracted tendons

NMES

Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) is a non-invasive means of muscle rehabilitation after injury, surgery or disease. The device applies customised electrical stimulus to a specific muscle or muscle group to cause contraction .  The adhesive pads are placed on the muscle origin and insertion or across the muscle belly for larger muscles, a setting is then chosen to  stimulate muscle contractions  and the settings are slowly increased until this can be seen - an example of the goal can be seen in the above video. 

NMES is useful for reducing muscle atrophy, restoring joint mobility and pain reduction. NMES is also effective in the process of post operative rehabilitation when trying to increase proprioception and neuromuscular activity.

TENS

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Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is applied in the same way as the NMES with the adhesive pads placed on the muscle insertion and origin, and works by activating sensory and motor neurones to provide pain relief by inhibiting the pain signal, increases blood flow, reduces muscle spasm and improves muscle function.

How does it reduce pain?
The pain gait theory suggests the spinal cord contains a neurological "gate" that either blocks pain signals or allows them to continue on to the brain, only one signal can pass through at a time. Therefore activation of nerves that do not transmit pain signals called nonnociceptive fibers, can temporarily interfere with signals from pain fibers, thereby inhibiting (stopping) the pain signals. These nonnociceptive fibres can be stimulated by TENS application, the effects are short term and will not cure the cause of the pain but rather act as pain relief for Chronic pain. 

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