Dog Back Pain

Back Pain in Dogs

It will be no surprise to those humans who suffer back pain to know that dogs may also suffer similar problems. Back pain can be just as disabling for a dog, although the quadruped has different stresses and strains upon the spine and, therefore, special considerations apply.

Back pain or neck pain can arise from injury, from disc degeneration, from spondylosis or from arthritis. When one or other of these has obviously occurred, or can be diagnosed by X-Ray investigation or various scans, the cause of the pain can be identified with relative ease. However, mainstream medicine and holistic veterinary treatment (as practiced by the holistic vet at the AVMC) will have differing views on how to deal with it (see below). We have written information on the specific named conditions at dog diseases.

There is another source of back pain, however, which is much more common, less dramatic and often goes unnoticed by the dog's human companions or veterinary team. As in humans, dogs can suffer spinal misalignments, arising from a great number of possible chronic causes or from unnoticed incidents, which can have an adverse effect on posture, gait, exercise tolerance, athletic capability and welfare. The resulting altered movement and posture will increase the risk of further injury, elsewhere in the musculo-skeletal system.

We believe ‘pelvic misalignment' to result from lumbosacral misalignment (i.e. stress in the joint between the last lumbar vertebra and the sacrum) rather than from sacroiliac joint misalignment. Happily, the former is almost invariably correctible. The latter is probably permanent.

In all cases of back pain, we take steps to ensure that we know what is the source of the pain and we apply a carefully integrated regimen of extremely gentle chiropractic manipulation, along with medical input by homeopathy, acupuncture, LASER therapymagnet therapy or ultrasound therapy, as appropriate. The positive effects on the patient are often dramatic and can be immediate. Disc prolapse with paralysis is usually amenable to treatment. Spondylosis appears to respond in the longer term, in many cases. Arthritis cases also usually appear to respond favourably.

We discuss for each patient appropriate exercise or activity programs, to try to enhance the healing process and to decrease chances of recurrence.

We believe that physiotherapy, bowen therapy, massage or acupuncture should not be performed before skeletal alignment has been properly checked and optimised. At best, it can waste money, since the faulty alignment and consequent muscle spasm can act as a block to treatment. At worst, it can prolong poor welfare and may cause further problems.

See also:

FAQ Chiropractic


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