Dr Rose Parsons has been a member of the Animal Biomechanical Professionals Australia (formely Australian Veterinarian Chiropractic Association) for 15 years. To become a Veterinary Chiropractic Dr Rose undertook a 2 year post-graduate diploma is Animal Chiropractic which is only open to veterinarians, osteopaths and chiropractitioners.
What is chiropractic care?
Chiropractic care involves maintaining a healthy happy body. To keep the body's control system - the nervous system - running smoothly, normal joint movement is required. This is because spinal nerves leave the spinal cord through gaps between vertebrae below joints. The spinal nerves control the function of internal organs, mascles and skin. If a trauma around a joint occurs, muscle spasm, swelling (odema) and pain result. Spinal nerves and general movement are affected. Often this protactive "splinting" mechanism is not required and actually causes problems. A painful, rigid area is produced which may or may not slowly improve over time. However, any further "damage" will cause more muscle spasm and pain. This "damage" could inslude jumping up onto a couch, turning suddenly or over-exercising. By "re-normalising" joint motion, chiropractic adjustments can return the body's central nervous system reactions to normal. The result is a happy, healthy body.
What is an adjustment?
To return a fixed joint to normal motion, a short fast thrust is directed into the problem area. This is a short lever technique manipulations can affect whole areas a.g legs lifts in horses.
The most common misconception involving chiropractic are:
1. Huge forces are used to "move bones back into place"
2. Most problems are due to pinched nerves.
As alreday discussed, large forces are rarely required. In most cases, bones are only moved very small amounts. The ultimate aim is to restore motion to joint. As problems occur where no bone displacement has occured but there is significant pain, it is obvious that spinal nerve piching is only one of the causes of pain. The joint itself has receptors and sends pain signals when it is fixed in position. Muscle spasm, ligament stretching and inflammation causing odema(fluid in the tissue) will all cause pain.
How many visits will be needed?
The number of visits required will depend on many factors. Generally between 2 and 12 sessions will be necessary. A chronic problem will naturally take longer to correct than a single acute episode. Some problems may need occassional repeat visits e.g where arthritic changes are present. Often, the owner can help with recovery by using massage techniques or other therapies suggested.