Physical methods used to alleviate pain: complementary therapies

image of Physical methods used to alleviate pain: complementary therapies
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The use of physical therapies in veterinary pain management is increasingly popular with clients. This chapter discusses the efficacy of, and describes methods for, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, massage and touch therapies. The second half of the chapter covers various causes of pain, and recommends appropriate physical methods to alleviate each.

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6.14 General location of needling points. Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and reproduced with her permission.
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6.15 Underwater treadmills help to achieve better flexion and extension of joints than a pool.
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6.16 Touch can release neurotransmitters associated with pain relief.
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6.17 Flat hand massage is the safest form of massage to teach an owner.
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6.18 Yintang is an acupuncture point between the eyes (the Chinese name is only used here because the point is an extra one to the normal numbering system).
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6.19 Electroacupuncture is the most potent form of stimulation with acupuncture needles.
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6.20 Acupuncture around the stifle and hip girdle muscles for cruciate and other stifle pain.
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6.21 ST36 is a point in the cranial tibial muscle just lateral to the tibial crest.
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6.22 Acupuncture paraspinally in L2–L5 and over the sacrum for pain and functional bladder problems in the cat.
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6.23 Acupuncture in the temporal muscles around the eye is often well tolerated.
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6.24 Sit to stand exercises use and strengthen the hindlimb muscles.
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6.25 Sequential steps for stretching the hindlimbs.
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6.26 Some dogs can be taught to perform a ‘play bow’ or stretch and hold the position to stretch the front legs.
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6.27 Sequential steps for stretching the forelimbs.
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6.28 Weaving poles to encourage lateral spine flexibility.
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6.29 Cavaletti poles to encourage lifting the legs, balance and proprioception.
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6.30 Wound healing is promoted by acupuncture. (Courtesy of Vicky Emmott)
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6.31 The trigger points in the thoracolumbar epaxial muscles of this lurcher appeared to maintain daily ‘classical’ signs of pancreatitis (lip licking, ‘praying’, excessive yawning, ‘swan’ posture) in the absence of a positive canine pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity (cPLI) test. Treatment of these points appeared to resolve the signs completely.
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