Manual Therapy Techniques for Canine Rehabilitation

Performing manual therapy techniques is an essential component of advancing tissue healing after an injury or surgery. Here at Canine Rehabilitation and Arthritis Center our staff has over thirty years of experience using hands on techniques in human physical therapy and canine rehabilitation. Our knowledgeable staff uses several manual therapy techniques such as massage, joint mobilization, stretching and range of motion exercises to reach the desired goals for each of our special dogs.


Canine Massage

Range of Motion Exercises

Canine Massage
Massage is an important technique that has many benefits for dogs including:

  • Increased circulation to help reduce swelling
  • Decreased muscle soreness and overall pain
  • Decreased muscle tension or spasm
  • Increased muscle flexibility
  • Reduced adhesions, scar tissue formation and muscle contracture

Massage is essential to perform after your dog's surgery to help with pain and swelling. Geriatric dogs with osteoarthritis love massage as it helps to decrease pain and improve mobility at sore joints. Massage can also help athletic and performance dogs recover quickly after a competition.

Stretching and Passive Range of Motion
Stretching and passive range of motion techniques are critical to restore muscle flexibility and joint mobility following surgery, trauma or injury. During the hands on stretching technique, the therapist focuses on comfortably elongating the targeted muscle to decrease pain, spasm and encourage normal muscle flexibility. Stretching in combination with massage is valuable for soft tissue injuries like iliopsoas strains, which are common in sporting dogs. Passive range of motion techniques are used to enhance your dog's joint nutrition and lubrication as well as reduce joint inflammation or pain.

Joint Mobilization
Joint mobilization is a hands on technique that is indicated for dogs with a stiff or hypomobile joint to increase joint capsule mobility, decrease pain and restore normal joint mechanics. Joint mobilization techniques help to work the stiffness out of joints that have had surgery like knees, hips and elbows. Additionally, geriatric and arthritic dogs love mobilization techniques that decrease pain and help them move more freely. If Joint Mobilization is not performed, the hypomobile joint will create a hypermobile segment in a different part of the kinematic chain, creating a much more difficult injury to rehabilitate. Joint mobilization is performed before stretching the soft tissues structures like muscle and fascia to enhance soft tissue flexibility. Without performing joint mobilizations, the soft tissues are more likely to experience re-injury.