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Meet the Muscles: Brachiocephalicus, Longissimus and Iliopsoas

It's hard to believe that, one month ago, I opened the doors - okay, door - of Kinected Canine. Tucked amongst the walls of Fun Fur Paws sits a haven, a haven where dogs of all sorts are welcome. That room, and these hands, have now welcomed more than 50 dogs into the humble healing quarters. Each of those dogs brought with them a unique history, a story and a lesson. With those sessions, or lessons, I picked up on a few commonalities worth sharing, I thought.

I've also run into "frequently asked questions" brought forward by the owners of these critters. Such as, "What can I do to help if my dog is sore (insert muscle here)?" Or, "How can massage help a young dog?" These are all topics I intend to address on this blog, and potentially in ebooks, as I sort through this ever-growing knowledge and find more knowledge roaming. But first, I'll give a quick snapshot of my most common findings.

1. Brachiocephalicus - The brachiocephalicus muscle not only has a long name, but is also responsible for several actions. It draws the foreleg forward during limb extension, bilaterally flexes the neck and unilaterally flexes the neck. It originates on the occiput (back of the dog's skull) and inserts on the crest of the humerus. As you can well imagine, an agility dog constantly uses this muscle while jumping, weaving, turning...etc!

2. Longissimus Dorsi - Meet the longest muscle in the body, the Longissimus Dorsi. This muscle spans the majority of the spine and extends one to two inches laterally. Actions include extension of the spine, lateral flexion of the spine and stabilization of the spine. I discovered this guy as a main source for heat, hypertonic (tight) muscle and trigger points during my sessions.

3. Iliopsoas - Many dog people have heard of this muscle, as it is noted as one of the most commonly injured muscles in agility dogs. This muscle has only one action: hip flexion. It is a deep muscle, and can be quite painful when injured. The Iliopsoas muscle originates on the ventral surface of the lumbar spine (and end of thoracic; T13-L6) and inserts on the femur.

Why is this useful to know? Education is the first step to prevention, in my eyes. The more we learn about how our dogs move and how their muscles work, the more thoughtful we can be in our efforts to help them. This information is just the very beginning of what Kinected Canine intends to offer the PNW canine community. Stay tuned! And for hands on work, contact Malee Powell.

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