Paws in Motion

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.

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.

Signs of pain in dogs

  • Decreased social interaction
  • Anxious expression
  • Submissive behaviour
  • Refusal to move
  • Whimpering
  • 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.

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.

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.

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.


Joint supplements with key ingredients of glucosamine, chondroitin and Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those available in bioactive green lipped muscle and deer velvet, can help to repair damage to the cells in the body and are extremely useful in improving joint pain and comfort.

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.

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.

#HowTo series with our cutie pie,Gus, showing us how to use the Assisi Loop to help reduce inflammation at his arthritic wrist.

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.

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