The chiropractic adjustment consists of a short, quick thrust to one specific joint at a time. This restores normal range of motion, alleviates pain, and thus releases local muscle spasms. Due to compensatory movement patterns, the entire spine will always be examined as well as any concerning limbs. Any areas of restriction of motion will be treated.
Skilled spinal manipulation is not normally painful. Sometimes, certain aspects can be momentarily uncomfortable; however, chiropractic treatment is often sought out because of its overall effectiveness in reducing pain. Most animals thoroughly enjoy the treatment: it is quite common for them to become increasingly relaxed as the treatment progresses, even to the point of becoming sleepy!
It is a common misconception that chiropractic adjustments involve bones being ‘out of place’ and the chiropractor ‘puts them back’. This is not the case. A bone actually being out of place would involve a complete or partial dislocation with severe ligament damage and a very unstable joint with detrimental effects on the nervous system. Chiropractic is safe because it only works within the normal anatomic limits of a joint hence ligaments are never being overstretched.
No mallets will ever be used to adjust any animal, including horses. All adjustments are done by hand. If you see someone using a technique that causes you concern, please check their credentials for proper education from an accredited animal chiropractic college.
How many treatments?
Most animals show visible improvement after 1-3 treatments. Acute problems often respond quickly, while longstanding problems may require further sessions. Animals with chronic conditions respond very well to regular supportive treatment every 2-6 months. Working and performance animals can benefit from regular check-ups so that underlying problems can be identified and treated before they begin to impact performance
Most animals feel better right away, however some may be slightly stiff or sore for the next 24-72 hours. They may also be sleepy or off their food for a short time. The animal can usually return to their normal routine but rambunctious play, stall or kennel confinement, and intense training sessions should be avoided for a couple of days, especially after the first treatment. In some cases it is necessary to embark on an exercise and rehabilitation program to try to ensure that the animal has the necessary level of fitness to cope with the demands made upon it and to reduce the risk of further injury. Specific guidelines will be given to you after your animal has been thoroughly assessed.