The purpose of physical therapy is to help patients to regain strength, coordination and a full range of motion, thus restoring their functional ability which will improve their quality of life. It has also been proven to be a valuable source of pain management, helping to decrease inflammation and expedite the healing process for those patients with chronic conditions and who are recovering from injury or specific illnesses.
Physical therapy has shown to be just as effective in animals as it is in humans and today, it is one of the fastest-growing specialisms within veterinary medicine. There are lots of different forms of physical therapy, and a variety of different pieces of equipment that can be used to support your pet in their treatment. Two of the pieces of equipment that we find very valuable in supporting your pet in their physical therapy are balance boards and physioballs.
A balance board is a flat surface that is able to tip in different directions depending on where weight is placed onto it. The purpose of a balance board is to help your pet to maintain their balance when the board tips with their movement. To do this, your furbaby will need to activate their muscles, and over time, this activity will help to strengthen your pet’s muscles so that they have overall control over their movement. Activities such as using a balance board can help provide your pet with pain relief since they stimulate the release of your pet’s own pain-killing chemicals like endorphins.
Physioballs are the equivalent of human gym balls. These large, usually inflatable, pieces of equipment provide a non-stable surface for your pet to be placed onto or over. Exactly what positions are assumed will depend on the condition of your furbaby. For example, a peanut-shaped physioball can be used to support the abdomen of a pet who is unable to bear much or any weight on one or more of their limbs but enables your furbaby to be in their natural upright position. This can reduce the pain that your pet may feel when trying to bear weight, enables better blood flow around their body which expedites healing and reduces pain, and is a real mood-booster since it is very depressing for pets to be unable to stand.
If your pet is able to bear weight fine but is having problems with their balance or coordination, a physioball may be recommended. With or without your help, they will be able to stand on the ball and strengthen their core and limb muscles to rebuild their balance skills.
Physical therapy can be a very valuable resource for lots of different types of animals with a variety of different ailments. These include those pets with:
Acute/chronic pain and inflammation
Abnormal gaits caused by a medical condition or injury
Orthopedic conditions such as hip dysplasia
Weight management problems (obesity)
Behavioral problems such as hyperactivity or anxiety
This type of physical therapy could also benefit those animals who:
Are suffering from mobility issues
Are healing from an injury
Are recovering from an orthopedic or surgical procedure
Are in need of additional support with their balance and coordination
If you think that your pet might benefit from pain management solutions, our dedicated veterinary team would be happy to assess them. Please contact Elizabeth Veterinary Clinic in Roselle, NJ today by calling (908) 245-7853.