First we need to understand Fascia and what is Fascia.
Fascia is a connective tissue that is around each and every muscle, bone, nerve, artery, vein and organ. It’s like a 3D networking reaching throughout the body and holding everything in place. It is very strong and mobile and in a normal healthy state moves without restrictions.
When fascia becomes tightened to the skin, this increases nerve & pain sensitivity. Skin should slide and glide smoothly with the superficial layer of fascia. When Myofascial restriction & pain are present, this slide & glide is reduced and inhibited.
Myofascial pain in dogs can happen anywhere in the body, although one of the most common areas is the Thorax, and it requires direct bodywork to help relieve it or resolve it.
Reasons for Myofascial Pain
- Secondary to Osteoarthritis
- Activities of daily living (jumping on / off furniture)
- Anything repetitive e.g. High energy ball chasing
- ‘Body Slamming’ by other dogs
- Dehydration or dogs that don’t drink much water
- Trigger points (knots) cause Myofascial Pain
- Working / Sporting Dogs
- Impact / Trauma
- Natural conformation e.g. Hound types are very prone to Myofascial issues
- Old age
Fascia is entirely continuous a restriction in one part will affect other areas
- Skin twitching or flinching
- Restricted movement in gait or postural in-balance i.e. limping/lameness
- Grimace or have a ‘tickle spot’ around the middle of the back
- Excessively rolling on their backs
- Tenderness to touch
- Tight skin
- Restricted range of motion
- Sore back legs
- Hair flicking up where it hasn’t before
- A nervous or anxious character
- A dog that is reluctant to be handled
- Pain that persists or worsens over time
If left untreated, can progressively worsen causing unrelenting pain & discomfort i.e. postural issues, mood & Behaviour changes.
Massage that encompasses Myofascial release, which is a slow, gentle stretch, can produce significant and profound changes in your dog.
- Breaks down the pain-spasm-pain cycle
- Loosens and lengthens the constricting fascia
- Breaks down scar tissue and adhesions between the skin, muscles and bones
- Correcting muscle imbalance
- Relieves muscle stiffness and joint soreness – improving comfort levels
- Relieves sore & painful Trigger Points (knots) in both muscle and fascia
- Increases mobility & flexibility
- Reduces pain
- Reduces anxiety levels
Helping to ease tension and tone, this in turn can relieve pain arising from physical and emotional trauma by helping the fascia to soften, re-hydrate and thus restore elasticity and decrease compression around other structures in your dog’s body.