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Can Pets Help You Cope With Chronic Pain?

Owning furry friends can actually be beneficial to your health. Studies have discovered a distinct connection between a reduction in patient-reported chronic pain and pet ownership. Additionally, owning a pet can aid in reducing the likelihood that chronic pain will lead to depression. Research shows that depression is more likely to occur following long exposure to chronic pain. Pets, however, can serve to promote mental health for those that suffer from chronic pain.

They Help Serve As a Distraction

One of the greatest obstacles chronic pain sufferers face is focusing solely on the pain - the pain they experience overrules their life. However, simple distractions like going to the gym, or in this case owning a pet, can be a great way to get your mind off your chronic pain. Scientists have discovered that endorphins, or our bodies’ neurotransmitters, act as natural pain relievers and are naturally released when interacting and petting animals. For example, studies show that hospital patients who were visited by dogs post-surgery report less pain afterwards than patients who were not visited. Patients also report taking less medications after procedures when they own a pet. Even brief interactions with dogs have been shown to cause a release of endorphins, distract from pain, and improve mood. 

The connection between owning a pet and chronic pain reduction is clear - the simple positive distraction of having to care for a pet can be extremely beneficial for your overall health. But, if you aren’t getting any relief from your chronic pain, contact Pain Specialty Group today to speak with a board-certified New Hampshire pain provider.

Aidan Fisher, Maureen Cassidy Pain Specialty Group

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