John McTimoney developed this approach in the 1950’s, modifying his human chiropractic technique to apply specifically to animals. It is a non-invasive, holistic treatment which works with the body’s innate intelligence to realign and balance the musculoskeletal system, restoring health and performance.
When treating an animal, the practitioner will be palpating along specific bony landmarks looking for misalignments along the neck, spine and pelvis. A misalignment is when a vertebra is out of alignment with the two bones at either side of it.
It is important to realign the neck and spine, to increase the nerve flow throughout the whole body. The spine is made up of a number of bones called vertebra, which are separated by intervertebral discs. This structure houses and protects the spinal cord which is responsible for carrying messages from the brain to the whole body in the nerves. The nerves exit the spine through spaces between the vertebrae and convey messages to and from the muscles, organs and structures of the body.
A misalignment in the neck or spine would reduce the range of motion in the joint between the vertebrae, decreasing the space for the nerves to exit the spinal cord. This can compromise the nerve signals and cause associated muscle tension, pain and discomfort.
The McTimoney technique treats misaligned joints using a quick and gentle adjustment on a specific bony landmark on the misaligned bone. The adjustments are readily accepted and usually enjoyed by most animals. When combined with massage, stretches and an individually tailored rehabilitation exercise programme, optimum health and performance can be restored.
Causes of a Misalignment
There are many causes of a misalignment which are either chronic or acute, chronic is a longer term reoccurring problem; and acute is more short term like an accidental fall or trauma.
For horses some causes of a misalignments are; conformation, ill-fitting tack, a fall, getting cast, unbalanced rider, trauma causing injury and muscle wastage or foaling.
For dogs some causes of misalignments are: conformation, pulling on the lead, playing with tug toys, falling off furniture, getting caught when running under a fence, and getting bowled over by a bigger dog.