A Word on Compensation: The Domino Effect

The body adopts an abnormal posture that compensates for the weakness by a redistribution of body weight.

I get to write about myself because I believe it is relevant to dogs as well. Sue already wrote an excellent article about compensation, but this is my recent personal experience.

A Word on Compensation: The Domino Effect

My story

I don’t get hurt often.

When I do get hurt it usually resolves quickly or it’s a part of a body I can get around. This time I hurt my knee. So it happened that my leg bent in a direction it’s not supposed to.

It didn’t hurt terribly but it felt like suddenly there were more parts in the knee than there are supposed to be.

Favoring the leg

In order not to injure it further, I favored the leg for a couple of days.

My client and friend, yoga guru, says one should favor anything for more than three days. I favored the knee for two. After that, I have minimal idea of how the knee is doing because of how unhappy my calf got.

Not a leg to stand on

I didn’t have a leg to stand on.

Yes, I’m trying to be funny, but it’s true. Standing is the worst. The calf is not happy, mainly when the leg is straight (such as when standing) and having to carry any weight.

I figured I should try to start walking normally to restore the equilibrium. I couldn’t believe how quickly I actually forgot how that’s done.

It’s like my brain doesn’t know how the leg should move, though the pain doesn’t help. I tried various meds but nothing really helped. I think that finding the normal way of using the leg is the only solution to the problem but surprisingly that’s quite difficult.

Escaping the trap

I reached out to Sue and she gave me some physical therapy pointers.

Also finally found a product that brings some relief; menthol analgesic gel. That seems to take some edge of it. Meanwhile, I’m doing my stretches, massage and trying my hardest to use the leg properly.

As it turns out, limping is an art I’m not good at.

Every time the body is trying to compensate for something, other parts suffer. With me, all it took was two days. Must be some kind of record.

The bottom line, I think, is to do one’s best not to compensate.

Or at least for as short of a time as possible. That’s where pain relief, effective healing strategies, and physical therapy come in. The sooner things can get used properly, the better.

And when compensation cannot be helped, the compensating body parts need extra love and attention.

Did you ever hurt other parts of the body, compensating for an injury?

Related articles:
Injury and Compensation in Dogs: An Attempt To Restore Harmony

Further reading:
Compensatory Injury in Dogs: When One Pain Leads to Another

Categories: CompensationConditionsLimpingMobility issuesSymptoms

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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