A subluxation is a condition of the spinal column (or extremity joint) in which one or more joints are not aligned correctly and hence, not moving properly. This intersegmental joint dysfunction can lead to global range of motion, muscle coordination and flexibility problems.
Correct detection by a trained animal chiropractor is the first step to correction. Subluxations in the animal's spine are then corrected by a controlled adjustment. - which is a low force, high speed thrust in a specific direction to restore the movement of a restricted joint. Large dogs and horses will frequently be adjusted manually but small dogs and cats may be adjusted using an adjusting instrument. With more chronic condition the animal may also have significant muscular involvement and may require soft tissue work (specific muscular massage) to allow the adjustment to hold. I often perform soft tissue work as part of my treatment before the adjustment on both dogs and horses.
How many adjustments are needed to correct subluxations?
Just as with humans, long standing chronic conditions usually take more time to resolve with chiropractic treatment. Newer minor injuries usually respond rapidly to treatment, and require fewer visits.
Most animals will receive significant improvement in 1-6 treatments over the course of 2-6 weeks. Age, conditioning, general health and intervening factors determine the ability for full recovery.
- Inability to flex, collect or "travel" symmetrically
- Lameness due to musculoskeletal problems
- Being "OFF", not really lame, but traveling not right
- Decreased range of motion, ie horse cannot flex neck or hang head (horse throws head when asked to drop head)
- Horse tires to buck rider off, may be a sign of discomfort
- Observable tension or muscle spasms
- Horse stands in position of discomfort, ie: leg cocked, back hunched
- Horses posture is "off" - neck turned to one side, or hip higher than the other and animal seems uncomfortable
- Difficulty maintaining gait especially canter
- Dog flinches along neck/spine when petted or groomed
- Difficulty going up and down stairs, climbing into car, up on couch or onto bed
- Pain or crying out with getting up from lying or with trying to lie down
- Difficulty running, runs lopsided or off center
- Bowel and bladder dysfunction
- Early stages of hip dysplasia
- Spinal arthritis and early stages of spinal stenosis
- Digestive problems