VSMT belongs to a family of medical practices based on the manipulation of the body to attain better health and quality of life. They all believe in one form or another that the body has an innate ability to heal itself if given the proper nutrition and proper external influences to help it along. Some of these could include magnetic healing, bonesetting, osteopathy, physical therapy, naprapathy, massage therapy, etc. Evidence has shown that the use of manipulative therapies dates back to around 2700 BC in China as noted in the The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. It was used in Greece as described in writings of Hippocrates, where he wrote: “Look well to the spine for the cause of disease.”
The Palmer family is best known as the originators of the modern day chiropractic. D. D. Palmer in the 1890’s began chiropractic, while his son B. J. Palmer is responsible for the expansion of the profession. In 1976, chiropractic gained a major boost by winning an antitrust lawsuit against the American Medical Association, which had created a concerted effort to destroy the profession. Despite the AMA, the medical art has flourished not only because of clinical results patients were experiencing, but also due to a large increase in scientific studies to back what it had been stating for over a century. In the 1980’s, SMT expanded into the veterinary field and has continued to grow as people quickly saw their pets benefit from adjustments as well.
There are many hypotheses as to how SMT adjustments benefit our patients. When an adjustment is being made, we are bringing motion to a “fixed” area of a joint called a subluxation. Correction of a subluxation can normalize blood flow to the spine and nerves, it can relieve compression of spinal nerve roots and irritation of the spinal cord, it can release trapped tissues within the spinal joint, and it can break down adhesions in the joint itself. It has been shown that a subluxation lesion can cause abnormal nerve output, resulting in increased pain signals sent to the brain. The most interesting aspect of an adjustment is that it activates a large number of mechanoreceptors in the spinal joints, creating more input of nerve impulses into the spinal cord. Not only does this help reduce pain by blocking transmission of pain signals up the spinal cord to the brain, it stimulates the nerves, local spinal cord segment, as well as areas in the brain. When this happens, nerve health improves. Therefore, more signals are sent back to the body, increasing muscle tone and giving strength to the joints. It may also allow the abdominal and thoracic organs to function better. Considering that the nervous system controls the functions of virtually every cell in the body, you can see that SMT can help not just the spine, but every area of the body.
Spinal Manipulative Therapy is very safe. When done properly, a patient has a higher probability of getting hit by lightning than being injured by an adjustment. Do not allow adjustments on your pet from an adjuster, veterinary or chiropractic, who has not completed an AVCA veterinary specific training program.