Do you have sore spots in your muscles when they are massaged? Do your muscles cause you stiffness, inflexibility and pain? Very often this is due to what are called Myofascial Trigger Points. Dogs and cats also get these muscle knots and they can cause the animal to limp, appear stiff or sore.
 
Trigger points are localised areas of muscle spasm that develop after injury, with repetitive strain or they may develop secondary to arthritis or an underlying problem with conformation. Once they develop, they can persist for months or years. Trigger point pain is often worse in cold weather or after strenuous exercise. Trigger points can be diagnosed by careful palpation of the muscles and by working out which muscles are tight.
 
There is usually little or no response to medication (unless they are a consequence of arthritis and the medication helps that) and they require some type of physical therapy for treatment.
 
At Gladesville, Pam Short and Mark Hocking offer trigger point treatment for dogs and cats.
 
What treatment is given depends on the individual problem and animal but may involve massage and stretching or acupuncture. Treatment will generally need to be repeated weekly for a few weeks, then as necessary. Each treatment takes about thirty minutes. Often you will be shown how to warm, massage and stretch the affected areas and be given an exercise regimen for your animal to help reduce the recurrence of trigger points.
 
Things that can be done to prevent the development of Trigger points include:
 
Avoid repetitive activity – any action repeated over and again will cause fatigue of the muscles involved (minimise very repetitive ball, stick and Frisbee chasing).
Avoid exercise to the point of exhaustion
Avoid running on soft sand, very hard surfaces or on uneven ground.
Keep the dog warm – a coat is useful
Avoid very hard or saggy beds
Arthritic animals or those with bone or joint malformations should be exercised within their own functional limits.
Try to give a uniform amount of exercise each day rather than strenuous exercise occasionally.
For further information on Trigger points click here or you can speak to Mark Hocking or Pam Short.