Pain Management & Rehabilitation Services

Pain management is a complicated process that utilizes an array of therapies to achieve pain control and comfort. We call this the multi-modal management of pain which is really just another way of saying we use every tool we have available to provide analgesia and a good quality of life. The tools include pain medications from various pharmacologic families to attack pain from different physiologic angles. It also includes nutritional support with various supplements that can reduce pain. Further pain relief can often be achieved with non-pharmaceutical therapies such as therapeutic laser, acupuncture, therapeutic ultrasound and rehabilitation therapies. Regenerative medicine (stem cell therapy) is the newest therapeutic treatment option for some situations.

Some Indications for Pain Management:

  • Post-operative or post-injury pain management (the presence of pain actually delays healing!)
  • Arthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease (hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, spondylosis of the back)
  • Cancer Pain – many cancers are especially painful even when the pet feels good otherwise
  • Disease or injury of the eye, ear, pancreas, spine, bone and bladder can be particularly painful

Rehabilitation is the veterinary form of physical therapy or physiotherapy as is frequently utilized in people. There are many modifications for animal rehabilitation, but the principles are much the same. Although we tend to think of physical therapy as treatment that follows injury or surgery, many of these techniques are also useful in managing disability from other causes such as arthritis.

Indications for Rehabilitation:

  • Neurological conditions such as intervertebral disc disease, degenerative myelopathy
  • Post- operative recovery following orthopedic injury and surgery
  • As an alternative to orthopedic surgery
  • Chronic Arthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Medial Shoulder Instability
  • Weight Management
  • Conditioning to enhance performance in working or sporting dogs

The overlap between these two disciplines is huge as many patients with pain can also be aided with rehabilitation to rebuild weakened muscles and patients needing rehabilitation often have pain issues that have to be controlled for physical therapy to move forward. Ultimately, the two become closely intertwined in the management of patients with primary problems with pain and those with disabilities that need rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation typically includes therapies provided onsite as well as a home exercise program to continue at home to supplement the therapy occurring at the rehab center. Onsite treatment programs often include a mixture of non-pharmaceutical treatments such as therapeutic laser, transcutaneous electrical neuromuscular stimulation (TENS), neuromuscular electrical stimulations (NMES), soft tissue manipulation, acupuncture, therapeutic ultrasound and an array of therapeutic exercises.

Positive Responses to Rehabilitation:

  • Facilitate healing and reduce pain
  • Less muscle loss during recovery from surgery or injury
  • Maintain range of motion of joints and muscle flexibility
  • Improve strength and function
  • Faster recovery and return to full function
  • Helps patients psychologically
  • Decreases risk of serious post-operative or post-injury disability