Laser therapy uses L.A.S.E.R (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) to repair tissues. The cells in the injured areas use the energy of the laser to aid and speed up their healing. Laser therapy has been shown to relieve pain from muscle and joint soreness, relieve symptoms of arthritis/tendonitis/bursitis, relax muscle spasms and increase blood flow to an area. This in turn helps wounds to heal and takes the body through the stages of healing more quickly. Laser can also be used stimulate acupuncture points.
Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) is the administration of a low level electrical current to stimulate muscle contraction and recruitment. It is used most commonly after orthopedic or neurological injury. The low level current can also decrease swelling and joint effusion. Indications for use of NMES are atrophy (muscle wasting), swelling, pain, muscle spasm and muscle re-education.
Mobilization can be of great benefit to joints. It can allow for greater and more appropriate movement of the joint. Mobilization of the spinal column can provide relief from spasms and pain. Compression and distraction of a joint can also aid in pain relief.
Passive Therapeutic Exercise
Passive exercises consists of passive range of motion (PROM) and stretching exercises. These exercises are performed to help maintain or improve flexion and extension of joints, help with proprioception (the sense of one’s body in space), and improve flexibility of muscles, tendons and ligaments. Passive exercise means movement is not initiated by the patient. PROM exercises are very important if the patient is not using body part or has limited movement of a body part.
Active Therapeutic Exercises
Active exercise involves your pet moving himself (with guidance from a human). The exercises should never cause overuse or strain, but aid in a return to normal, more appropriate function. These exercises are tailored to each animal’s needs and are modified and adjusted throughout rehabilitation.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Transcutaneous Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation (TENS) is similar to NMES, but utilizes different frequencies and is used mostly for pain management. It decreases pain and inflammation by providing a low level electrical current which disrupts the normal pain perception pathways. TENS also can be used to stimulate acupuncture points.
Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into specific designated points on an animal. These specific points are called acupuncture points and are mapped for each species’ body. In veterinary practice, acupuncture has been used to treat musculoskeletal pain among other problems, often in conjunction with other therapies. Traditional Chinese medicine has used acupuncture for over 4000 years.
Massage increases circulation to improve healing, decreases pain and reduces swelling. Massage can be used for acute or chronic problems by varying the pressure and intensity of the massage. It can also promote mental and physical relaxation.
Thermotherapy is the therapeutic use of physical agents or means to heat or cool the body. Superficial heating of an area increases local circulation, reduces pain, increases tissue extensibility, decreases muscle spasm and aids in muscle relaxation. Cold (cryo) therapy provides pain relief, reduces swelling and hemorrhage, and decreases muscle spasm.
Pulsed Magnetic Therapy
Pulsed magnetic field therapy was initially used to treat horses and was soon followed by treatment of racing greyhounds, since they get frequent sprains, ligament injuries and fractures, all of which respond well to pulsed magnetic field therapy. While there are multiple theories as to how it works, it is now used with all types of animals for similar injuries and has also been used to improve metabolism and overall comfort.