Physiotherapy for Pain Management

Physiotherapy for Pain Management

Pain greatly impacts a pet’s wellbeing, health and mobility. Combined hands-on physiotherapy techniques and equipment help to reduce pain.
Physiotherapy for Pain Management

Whilst your veterinary surgeon will prescribe a variety of medication to alleviate pain; physiotherapy allows us to combine several hands-on techniques and equipment to reduce pain.

Common Signs of Pain

Pain signs in pets can be very subtle. Signs of leg pain, discomfort or weakness may include:

  • Limping and lameness
  • Reluctance to move/ walk as much as before
  • Inability to jump or cope with slippery surfaces
  • Posture changes during toileting
  • Stiffness when getting up from rest

More commonly, pets indicate pain by showing changes in behaviour. Looking at various behaviours, responses and appearances of an animal is more reliable in identifying pain or discomfort than focusing on a single aspect, such as vocalisation.

We utilise pain score charts to help us to better assess pain.

Signs of pain in dogs

Decreased social interaction

Anxious expression

Submissive behaviour

Refusal to move


Growling or guarding behaviour

Aggression or biting

Signs of Pain in Cats

Reduced activity

Hiding, quiet or loss of curiosity

Changes in toileting habits

Hissing or guarding behaviour

Lack of agility

Excessive licking

Stops grooming/ matted fur

Therapies Used in Pain Management

Pain is complex and no one simple way to control it. Physiotherapy allows us to combine our hands with technology to improve pet comfort by reducing both pain and inflammation. We combine several hands on skills, such as joint mobilisations and massage, with modalities such as laser and PEMF to control pain.

Digatherm - thermal imaging

Digital infrared thermal imaging with Digatherm helps us to visualise the pain and inflammation with a non-invasive physiological body scan that evaluates your pet’s circulation, neurological and musculoskeletal function. Thermal imaging is not a diagnosis, but a step to help us to target our treatments and identify issues in recovering pets after surgery joint and bone surgery.

More about Digatherm

How Digatherm technology helped us to see Oreo's pain in a different light!

Our great new Digitherm technology allowed us to identify and pinpoint inflammation.

Read the blog about Oreo

Laser Therapy - (photobiomodulation)

Therapeutic laser uses invisible infrared light energy (photons) to penetrate deep into tissues and enhance tissue healing. Laser therapy can be used to help rehabilitate patients with musculoskeletal pain, spinal or nerve pain, tissue swelling, inflammation, joint pain and osteoarthritis.

More about Laser Therapy

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy - (PEMF)

PEMF is used to generate low level electrical fields in the body, which stimulate the body’s natural anti-inflammatory process to aid in tissue repair and pain relief. PEMF is used after in many different acute and chronic pain situations- nerves, muscles, joints, other inflamed tissues (pancreas, intestines, kidneys) to reduce swelling and inflammation, and as a result, control pain.

More about PEMF


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Thermal therapy

Cryotherapy, or cold therapy, is used to reduce the inflammatory response and provide pain relief, while in contrast, warmth/ heat therapy is avoided in acute inflammation and instead helps with muscle relaxation, removal of toxins and reduces joint stiffness.

More about Thermal therapy

Related Videos

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury. It’s crucial to the healing process but when it gets out of control, it stops being helpful and is painful.
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Getting Treatment from Paws In Motion

Our process for pain management

Information and History

Initially we need to collect as much information as possible about your pet and your concerns; we will send you a detailed online questionnaire to complete. We will also reach out to your family veterinarian and /or specialist for your pet’s full medical history.

Initial Assessment

At our physiotherapy initial consultation, we assess the gait and movement of your pet, review their medical history and perform a thorough physical assessment to understand individual areas of pain and discomfort.

Treatment plan

Working together with you, and your family veterinarian, we then discuss and tailor a pain management plan which meets the needs of your individual pet. The programme will generally include a variety of therapies and home care for you to continue at home, alongside our treatments.

Ongoing therapy and evaluation

Your family veterinarian will play a key role in any pain management plan, as they will provide any medication needed, while we focus on physiotherapy techniques, equipment and supplements to manage pain. We teach you how to recognise and evaluate changes in your pet.

"Your support and treatments have made his debilitating condition a little easier to bear even towards the end."

Lily Chan (pet: Ah B)

"...and by the 3rd day, he surprisingly stood on his hind legs after taking a bath!! He hadn't been able to do that for many months..."

Susan Ng (pet: Yuby)

Arrange physiotherapy for your pet

Our rehabilitation therapist and veterinary surgeon, Dr Jane McNae, is happy to take on new patients and assess their needs, even if they are not under current veterinary care. Sometimes, if further tests or treatment are needed, we may need to refer you back to your family veterinarian for care.

We are here to support your pet’s recovery, as much or as little as you need us. Online consultations can help to keep you on the right path.

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Sorry to interrupt you - exciting new course announcement!

Is your dog is reaching their senior years?

We wanted to let you know that Paws in Motion has a BRAND NEW online course to help your senior dog maintain the best possible quality of life.

The course is currently at a discounted introduction price and we have worked hard to pull together more than 4 hours of training on how to understand and minimise the effect of your pet's aging.