Who Ya Gonna Call? AGE BUSTERS!!!
08 Feb 2023
By Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt (Animal Physio), CAFCI, CCRT, Cert. Sm. Anim. Acup / Dry Needling
When searching for inspiration for today’s blog, I found an interesting physiotherapy blog, http://physiowinnipeg.com/4-ways-physiotherapy-helps-you-age-gracefully/. Physiotherapy helps you to age gracefully! Now there’s a good spin!
So here were the main points:
Aging gracefully is more than your looks. It’s about overall health and the way we feel. However, healthy people do tend to look younger even in old age! So how can physiotherapy help?
- Physical balance: Falls contribute to injuries and death amongst older adults. The best protection against falls is good balance, body awareness, and physical strength. While a dog falling over isn’t usually fatal, however good balance is key to high physical functioning. With good balance comes the ability to be more physically active and more physical activity has metabolic health benefits as well. Canine rehabilitation can foster all of these things.
- Mental health: Physiotherapists are seen as experts in aspects of physical health care and can play a role in improving mental health via:
- Non-pharmacological management of pain
- Expertise in prescribing individualized exercise programs with can improve mood, promote wellbeing, and address co-morbidities associated with mental health diagnoses.
- Address physical issues that may hinder social participation.
- Expertise in motivating patients and promoting self-management.
Practitioners in canine rehabilitation are adept in all of these measures, even if mental health challenges are not well recognized in dogs.
- Good Posture: Poor posture (i.e. a hunched-over stance) can prematurely age a person. Poor posture can put undue stress and strain on structures unaccustomed to taking on the load. This can lead to pain and movement dysfunctions. In an aging dog, muscle tone can diminish and a dog may develop a saggy belly and sway-back or appear to ‘stand under himself. Physical exercise and treatment of pain can do wonders for a dog that has become deconditioned and painful.
- Weight management: Being overweight is not just about appearance, more importantly, it’s about health. We are all familiar with the health impacts of obesity and being over-weight (i.e. diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, sleep apnea, cancer, gall-stones, osteoarthritis, etc). Physical therapy promotes healthy weight by prescribing exercise and motivating people to include physical activity in their daily routines. Canine rehabilitation services are uniquely positioned to address multiple weight management factors, including diet and exercise, pain management for overworked arthritic joints, as well as motivation and encouragement for owners.
So, with these points in mind, perhaps you are thinking of your older furry friend and are wondering if canine physio might be in order! No dog is ever too old to start physiotherapy! We’re the “Age Busters!!!”