What is muscle stiffness in dogs?

Muscle stiffness in dogs means that a muscle stays partially contracted for a period of time. It causes discomfort, tension and stiffness, and if not treated, can lead to chronic pain.

An often overlooked element is the fascia which is your dog’s connective tissue that provides the framework for their body. It surrounds and ‘holds’ every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fibre and muscle in place. Apart from providing a framework, the fascia also has nerves that make it very sensitive, similar to the skin. If the fascia is stressed, it tightens up and develops painful adhesions and trigger points, leading to limited mobility and pain.

Scar tissue from a previous injury such as a muscle strain can also lead to muscle stiffness as scar tissue is much denser, thicker and less flexible than normal healhty tissue, and can be uncomfortable and painful. 


Why does my dog get muscle stiffness? 

Muscle tension and stiffness can also be caused by stress, repetitive movements, scar tissue from a previous injury, and overuse due to compensation for other painful areas such as achy arthritic joints, hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia, tendonitis, muscle strains, or after surgery.

Moreover, your dog’s fascia can play a role in your muscle stiffness in dogs as age, poor posture and a lack of movement can cause the fascia to thicken, become ‘sticky’ and tight. When it ‘dries up’ and tightens around muscles, it can cause tight and stiff muscles, limit mobility and the development of trigger points. 

How we can help

At Paws4Paws we take a multimodal approach by using a variety of modalities to release your dog’s tight and stiff muscles, as well as fascia adhesions and trigger. 

Remedial massage techniques, myofascial pain release, trigger point therapy, stretching and acupressure therapy will help to release tight and stiff mucles, break up adhesions, release trigger points, reduce scar tissue formation, break down already existing scar tissue, remove damaged cells and toxins to stimulate healing after injury, and alleviate pain.