Overcompensation and why it’s a problem

Never under-estimate the impact of protective muscle splinting and overcompensation on the Canine musculature.

As owner of Born to Run Canine Massage I travel around to various dog shows or events offering free muscular health checks.  Owners frequently say they ‘had no idea’ that a Canine Massage Practitioner could help their Hip Dysplastic or Arthritic dog as these are degenerative conditions ‘there’s nothing you can do surely’?

Wrong!   Although, your dog may have been diagnosed with these and other painful and very often debilitating orthopaedic conditions it doesn’t mean that the only choice you have is to stand back and watch your beloved pet slowly seize up or even accept that they can have no respite from pain.

When you have back pain immediately you will ‘hold taught’ the affected area.  This is called protective muscle splinting.  Your body will always try to figure out a way to continue to function ‘normally’.  This results in joints and muscles over working in other areas.  Within a few hours this begins to hurt right?  Of course it does.  You are overcompensating.

Physiologically it is exactly the same for dogs.  Our canine companions overcompensate most commonly, but not always, asymmetrically.  For example, right forelimb lameness may actually be a left hind limb issue.

Overcompensation by it’s very nature is not the primary issue (eg arthritis, inter vertebral disc disease (IVDD), luxating patella, elbow displaysia  etc.,) but if not addressed it is extremely likely to lead to further muscular complications such as:-

  • the formation of painful trigger points/knots in the muscle which is brought about by a few bunched up muscle fibres causing oxygen and nutrient deficiency (ischemia)
  • the localised build-up of toxins
  • myofascial pain
  • muscle spasms
  • hyper tonicity
  • irreversible strain
  • the formation of scar tissue if not dealt with.  Scar tissue alone can inhibit movement within an affected muscle by up to 50%.

Your dog will strive to remain mobile to enjoy day-to-day life.  However, they will do their utmost to hide any discomfort from you.  Basic functions such as walking, eating, running, playing, jumping, tail wagging and even toileting can be impacted by muscular malfunction and can leave your dog depressed and withdrawn.

Let me ask you ……

Is your dog lame or limping, do they have Arthritis, Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease), Spondylosis, Hip or Elbow Dysplasia, Luxating Patella?

Have they been diagnosed with degeneration of inter vertebral discs or a neurological condition affecting normal range of motion and balance such as CDRM?

Has your dog recently undergone surgery such as cruciate surgery?  If the answers is Yes to any of these – then your dog is overcompensating right now and by taking your pet to a professionally trained Canine Massage Practitioner you can put your dog back on the road to a better quality of life.  This short list of conditions listed above most commonly leading to overcompensation is by no means exclusive.  However, these are the most common conditions I see.

Release Work for Skye Post Cruciate Surgery

Using in depth knowledge of the canine anatomy, biomechanics and by performing a combination of 4 modalities of massage:-   Swedish, Deep Tissue, Sports and Myofascial release (Direct and Indirect) Canine Massage Therapists/Practitioners and only Canine Massage Therapists/Practitioners have these specific and very powerful tools at our disposal.  Not only do we seek to identify and treat the muscular issue/s and overcompensation but also pinpoint from a list of your dogs daily activities (ADL’s) the most likely contributor.

Using this natural, non-invasive therapy my role in a nutshell is to get your dog moving more freely with much reduced pain levels.  I do this by releasing tight, painful muscles and fascia, by removing trigger points, by softening and helping to mobilise scar tissue and by treating the whole dog including these areas of overcompensation.  This creates a better, more balanced environment for your dogs’ muscles to move in and with far greater freedom.

Every therapy has it’s place – the key as an owner is to think about how your dogs’ basic anatomy works and to recognise which specialist to use and in which order.

As owner of Born to Run Canine massage I’m not looking for grandiose miracles – although some results I’ve witnessed first-hand have been nothing short of astounding.

Small changes can significantly improve your dogs’ quality of life.

To hear….

WOW 2 sessions and my dog is so much more mobile and fluent in her movement! I finally feel confident in letting my dog off lead again for a run around without the worry that she may be too stiff or lame afterwards. Thank you Angela.

had 2 sessions with Angela and it made a big difference. She is enjoying her cani-cross runs again and has a lovely swing in her back again and is moving much more freely now.’

After one treatment he seemed much more comfortable and was almost smiling as he zoomed around the room!  ……He held his head higher and no longer had a robotic stiffness when he walked.  He no longer seems to be ‘protecting’ himself when near to other dogs.  I can’t thank Angela enough as the treatment really has transformed his quality of life.

my dog ‘no longer avoids human touch’,

my dog ‘is acting like a puppy again’,

she’s like a different dog

my dogs ‘tail is wagging for the first time in weeks’,

my dog ‘is more settled and sleeps more soundly’,

my dog ‘looks so much happier’.

Oh look! She can hold her head up

I could make this as technical as you like but in reality these are the results which matter and which give me the deepest sense of satisfaction in what I do.

Call today to book :  07730 133134

e-mail: enquiries@borntorunmassage.com 

Angela Day

Born To Run Canine Massage 

‘The Freedom of Movement’

Member of the Canine Massage Guild and Pet Welfare Alliance





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