Chiropractic philosophy is based on the principle of Innate Intelligence, that the body is a self-regulating, self-healing system. It is the theory as to why a cut on the body heals without the individual's conscious involvement in the healing process. The nervous system (brain and spinal cord) is the master regulator within the body and directs the daily activities of every cell in the body. Spinal fixations (locked up joints), regardless of cause, can impede nervous system communications. When communications breakdown and normal bodily function is disrupted, the body will employ physical or biochemical changes elsewhere to stay balanced. These compensatory changes ultimately create abnormal stresses on tissues and organs. These abnormal stresses eventually show up as symptoms such as a limp or unexplained diarrhea. Symptoms can be subtle or obvious depending on what tissues or organs are affected by the changes.
Parts are Parts:
Every joint in the body must move freely for optimal body function. It takes a lot of small movement in every spinal joint (there are a lot of them) to culminate in a larger movement of bending to the side or turning one’s head and neck. Animals experience restrictions in the neck or back that often go unnoticed due to compensation. These compensatory changes typically involve a change in movement or posture from what is normal to alleviate or minimize pain. People do it too. These compensatory changes create abnormal stresses in other parts of the body and ultimately create pain. It is often the pain of the compensatory changes that we first notice. An example might be the horse or dog that has low back pain due to painful stifles (knees). Since most animals, including domestic animals, are thought to have the ability to "turn down" pain signals, most conditions are quite chronic by the time they are showing overt signs such as back pain or limping.
A point of clarification: things like ribs and necks do not really go "out." That is a slang term for a chiropractic fixation. With chiropractic fixations, the rib (or neck segment or whatever) is stuck somewhere in its normal range of motion (meaning anatomically the bones involved are in their proper positions). If a rib is truly "out," meaning the joint is disrupted either partially or completely, that most certainly is not a chiropractic problem.
The Nitty Gritty:
Chiropractic technique employs the use of an adjustment (small, fast thrust) over a joint to restore motion. Adjustments can be made either manually or with a specialized instrument called an activator. Restoring joint motion often gives instantaneous relief to an affected area. The nervous system receives new signals from the body after every adjustment. Those signals create changes throughout the body such as increased blood flow to injured areas, improved digestion and muscle spasm release. It is a “reboot” of sorts to open the lines of communication and help the body re-evaluate what changes need to take place for healing (remember Teamwork and Parts are Parts).
Another point of clarification: not all practitioners are created equally. Everyone has their own unique variation on approach and technique. It is important to find a practitioner that your animal is comfortable with. Your animal should be reasonably relaxed during and most certainly more relaxed after treatment than before. Most owners (large and small animals) will notice a more relaxed facial expression after treatment. Dogs will tend to "smile" a bit and generally everyone has clearer, brighter looking eyes.
Animal Chiropractic is generally a painless and safe treatment modality when performed by a trained, certified practitioner. One of the most important things to know is when NOT to adjust. If an area is too tender for a typical thrust-type of adjustment, other techniques can be employed to help release the vertebral fixation. You will be referred back to your general practitioner for further diagnostics if any area appears more painful than is "typical" for a chiropractic problem.
The Fine Print:
It is recommended that your animal first be evaluated by your general practitioner for any new symptoms or problems, especially painful conditions. It is important to address pain management concerns for any animal quickly. There is no value in allowing an animal to be painful just to avoid "stressing the system" with drugs. Once evaluated or diagnosed by your regular veterinarian it is reasonable to discuss what beneficial role chiropractic may provide in your animal’s recovery process (remember Safety First). Dr. Davis is a licensed veterinarian with years of general practice experience but does not provide primary care services such as initial/lameness examination, x-rays, nerve blocks, blood work, vaccines or prescription medications.
There is no single healing modality that will completely address every condition. Chiropractic is no exception. It is all about taking the best that each modality has to offer, complementary or conventional, and using them synergistically to support the body’s healing capabilities.
Please contact Dr. Davis by phone or email if you have further questions about chiropractic for your animal.
Here is a short list of the more common symptoms that benefit from chiropractic work:
-Ear pinning or teeth grinding when saddle girth is tightened
-Dropping or unable to hold leads
-Throwing head for transitions, unable to collect properly
-Stiffness/resistance performing one direction versus the other
-Crabby, resistant demeanor in a normally compliant animal
-Back (or neck) painful to the touch, arched back posture, painful when picked up
-Non-specific lameness or limp with no localized pain
-Lick granulomas, recurrent ear infections, recurrent anal gland problems
-Grumpy, uncharacteristic behavior (depressed, avoids petting)
Yes, the chicken (her name is Ruth) is really enjoying her chiropractic treatment. Notice how she is more relaxed (head down in 2nd pic) after treatment? She almost fell asleep.