Herbal Therapy for Musculoskeletal Conditions
Veterinarian Reviewed on September 14, 2011 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Keeping our pets strong and vibrant through their lives is a goal of most pet owners. Pain and discomfort due to a variety of musculoskeletal conditions can alter our pet’s vitality and affect muscles and joints. Owners will most commonly notice an alteration in their pet’s way of moving or may even see an obvious limp or lameness. Musculoskeletal conditions affect the whole body since pain in one area can cause biomechanical compensation (shifting weight) in another area of the body. This is why it is important to treat the whole body, not just the affected limb.
Some conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system include arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, ligament injuries and spinal arthritis. These conditions benefit greatly from physical therapies including acupuncture, chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage. When these therapies are combined with herbal supplements the results can be highly successful. Herbalists treat the body as a system and treat the condition as well as the pain. Some common herbs used to treat inflammation include ‘Withania’ which has anti-spasmodic effect; ‘Devil’s claw’, ‘Boswellia’, ‘Ginger’, and ‘Turmeric’. Herbs used to relieve muscle spasm and provide analgesic effects include ‘Valerian’, ‘Black cohosh’, Wild yam, and Cramp bark. Herbs can be used successfully in treating muscle and joint pain.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan