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Can Pets Help You Cope With Chronic Pain?

Believe it or not, there have been studies which have found a link between a reduction in patient-reported chronic pain and pet ownership. In addition, owning a pet can help reduce the likelihood that suffering from chronic pain will lead to depression. Research shows that depression is more likely to occur after long periods of chronic pain. Pets can serve a role in promoting mental health for chronic pain sufferers.

They Help Serve As a Distraction

One of the biggest problems with chronic pain is that many individuals focus solely on the pain. Sometimes this only ends up making things worse. Simple distractions like going for a walk, or in this case owning a pet, can be a great way to get you mind off the pain. In addition, it’s been shown that petting your animal can cause your body to naturally release endorphins which have been known to act as strong pain relievers. Some studies have shown that patents in the hospital who were visited by a dog reported less pain afterwards than patients who were not visited. It’s even been shown that patients who undergo surgery report taking fewer medications afterwards when they own a pet.

Even if not all of these may apply to you, the simple positive distraction of having to care for a pet can be beneficial.

They Reduce the Likelihood of Depression

Individuals who suffer from chronic pain are more likely to end up suffering from depression as well. That’s why it’s important to have distractions, engage in enjoyable activities, and spend time with loved ones when you have chronic pain. Certain activities like exercise reduce the likelihood of developing depression. In addition, owning and caring for a pet has been shown to reduce the likelihood of depression and promote overall mental health. Even brief interactions with dogs have been shown to cause a release of endorphins, distract from pain, and improve mood.

If you suffer from chronic pain, contact Garden State Pain Control today to speak with a board-certified New Jersey pain physician. Our doctors are some of the best in the state and have been helping patients overcome their chronic pain and regain their function for many years. Call 973-777-5444 today for more information.

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