OUCH! Most of us have experienced the sudden pain of a muscle spasm. A muscle spasm can wake us from a deep sleep, keep us from activity, and can happen wherever there is muscle mass. A muscle spasm is a sudden, involuntary contraction of a muscle, or group of muscles, that causes pain and even inflammation. Spasms can affect the whole muscle, large parts of a muscle group, or even neighboring muscles. They usually occur suddenly, cause a visible twitching, usually resolve quickly, and are almost always painful.
Pets and Muscle Spasms
In our pets, muscle spasms are easily noticeable as a localized twitching or tremor in a muscle that feels tight and tender to the touch. Muscle spasms can be caused by a variety of conditions including overexertion, muscle strains or injuries, dehydration, pain in the back or legs, protecting an area from further injury, allergies, neurological disorders, or a physical injury. They may also be an indication of a more serious condition, such as a pinched nerve, a slipped disc, or muscle damage.
Since our wonderful pets want to make us happy, your companion may hide the fact that she is experiencing a painful muscle spasm. This is especially true of smaller muscle spasms. However, when they are severe, the muscle may bulge, and even vibrate, will be visibly noticeable, and/or felt under the skin at the site of spasm. When we humans get a pain like this, we will often stretch and massage the area ourselves. But for a pet, this new pain can be both traumatic and confusing.
How Massage Can Help
It is always best to consult your veterinarian first. Once the vet has ruled out any serious conditions, MASSAGE can help! Massage will assist the muscle in relaxing. while also relaxing the surrounding muscles. A variety of techniques, including gentle stretching, will be utilized to relax and “unwind” the affected muscle(s). Other areas in the body will be assessed to see if tightness is occurring anywhere else. Massage will also assist in bringing blood and necessary nutrients and proteins for healing to the area so healing can occur.
If muscle spasms continue, not only will your pet be in pain. but the affected muscles may cause your pet to avoid using them resulting in muscular atrophy and weakeness. Massage therapy is perfect for these issues, preventing this to occur, or at least reducing their severity.
As a preventative, massage can be used to warm up the muscles before any exercise, and also in the cool down process following activity. Another important factor in preventing muscle spasms is to make sure your pet is well hydrated, especially when the weather is hot, or during activity and exercise.
Thanks for reading! Please contact me with any questions or to make an appointment!
*Disclaimer: No dogs were harmed in these photos. Both were happy to help!