Physical Rehabilitation

posted: by: Dr. Timothy Walker Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

In human medicine it has become standard of care that after injury, or many types of surgery, you receive physical therapy. Well guess what, pets need PT too. While in most states physical therapy for animals is called physical rehabilitation, the same techniques and tools are used, reaping the same benefits. At Somers Animal Hospital we have everything your pet needs to recover from orthopedic surgery, a bulging disc in the back, a stroke, or many other neurologic and orthopedic problems. While a lot of therapy is hands on, the best results come with a combination of physical exercises and the use of advanced modalities. At Somers Animal Hospital we use these techniques on a daily basis.

Electrical Nerve Stimulation can reduce pain by releasing endogenous opioids (the body's own pain relievers) or by creating a large amount of neural input to trick the brain into not noticing the pain. The latter is called gait theory. This theory explains why, when you bump your elbow, you don't just look at it, instead you rub it vigorously and this masks the pain. We also use nerve stimulation to help minimize muscle loss after some type of injuries.

Therapeutic Laser can provide many benefits. There continues to be a great deal of research into this form of light therapy. Our class IV laser increases blood flow and reduces pain and swelling. It stimulates healing at the cellular level by providing energy to mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell.

Acupuncture has a wealth of research supporting its benefits and is recognized as an effective pain relieving therapy in human medicine. We take a western medicine approach to this therapy. We approach it based on our understanding of the nervous system, and how it interacts with muscles and connective tissues, not invisible meridians or Chi in the body. Acupuncture relaxes muscles, stimulates nerves, increases blood flow, and triggers the release of natural endorphins in the body.

Underwater Treadmill therapy provides a unique benefit to our patients. Walking in water challenges their sense of balance and coordination. The water provides resistance but also buoyancy, which supports the patients weight. There's no substitute for pets with neurologic or orthopedic problems that make it challenging for them to walk or stand, never mind exercise. It's also great for older arthritic or overweight pets, or ones that just need more exercise.

Regenerative medicine provides an exciting way to treat many injuries as well as osteoarthritis. It can help the patient heal, as opposed to just using drugs that mask pain. With stem cell therapy we use the patient's own stem cells, harvested from their fat cells, and then inject back into the patient, most commonly into a joint or tendon. These mesenchymal stem cells are rich in substances called cytokines which promote healing and reduce inflammation. We also use platelet rich plasma which is processed from the pets own blood. It is used alone or in conjunction with stem cells. Platelets are an amazing source of growth factors that turn off inflammation and allow the body to heal.
It is truly an exciting time in veterinary medicine, and the advances in physical rehabilitation for animals are nothing short of amazing. Demand more for your pet. Demand physical rehabilitation!