Compensatory Movement Patterns

Surgical intervention is the very start of the journey to recovery and ‘fixes’ the mechanical problem within the body. The body then needs to do its thing and start the healing process. During this process the brain is very good at knowing how to avoid any unnecessary pain as a result of the injury or surgery so it develops a way in which the body can move with the least pain possible. Obviously this is a natural process to avoid further degeneration… HOWEVER… there will come a time when the body no longer hurts anymore but those compensating movement patterns which have occurred then start to become a bit pesky themselves. The good news is that once the pain element has been removed, we can start reprogramming the muscle memory to form new neurological connections to break the motor control pattern which is causing the unwanted movement to occur so that the body can move in the most optimal way, it also helps to overcome the animals fear associated with pain by using activation exercises.

These activation exercises are used to initiate muscle memory retraining and need to be based on repetition consistently before exercise whether it’s in the dog or the horse so that the brain identifies it as a normal neural pathway by helping to switch on the muscle groups which are not firing properly.

This can also be applied to chronic ongoing issues where the body has been moving in a way which is not helpful to its wellbeing due to other influences such as poor foot balance, saddle fit, unbalanced rider, working above the bit or behind the vertical in the horse, but can also be applied to other degenerative conditions in the dog too.

Every animal is different and the exercises or treatment given to help with retraining muscle memory will be very different which is why you should always seek out the help of a professional.

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