Ways Pets Can Relieve PainOur pets allow us to feel less stressed out. Research has shown even for those that are not into pets, that petting a dog for ten-fifteen minutes reduces cortisol, which is a stress hormone. In a journal for pain, researchers studied the effects of quick therapy dog visits at a pain management clinic. Over 2-months they compared the individuals’ feelings of:
They Generate More ActivitySpecifically, dog owners seem to be healthier than those without a dog. Cats are great but when it comes to activity/fitness, dogs require regular walks, which makes owners get up, go outside and move around. Walking a dog can help:
- Improve balance
- Combat fatigue
- Improve flexibility
- Reduce joint pain
- Increase strength
- Manage weight
They Make Us Feel Better Without MedicationResearch has shown how the proper attitude impacts treatment outcomes. With a positive attitude, an individual is more likely to stick with a long-term pain treatment plan. Petting and playing with a furry friend can be the perfect medicine creating an improved mood literally relieving pain and reducing the need for pain meds.
They Distract The Pain AwayIndividuals living with chronic pain are constantly thinking about it. Having a pet changes the focus from pain to joy and happiness. With a pet to care for gives the day structure and life purpose. Pets need attention and because of their lovability are hard to ignore.
Animal-Assisted TherapyThis type of therapy is a legitimate option for chronic pain management. With the problems associated with opioids, doctors and patients are looking for alternative ways to treat pain. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that nonpharmacological therapies, like animal-assisted therapy, are now included in chronic pain treatment plans. Other options for pain relief include:
- Cognitive behavior therapy
- Chiropractic manual therapy
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Guided imagery
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction
Pet TimeOwning a pet is a real responsibility, for those who are not interested in adopting, there are still benefits from pet medicine. Some ideas to consider:
- Perhaps a family member or friend owns a pet that could have regular visits. This would be a good way to get a feel for the experience and see what it’s like to have a pet without committing.
- Cats are an option if dogs are not your cup of tea. This could be because of allergies or residing in a location that does not permit them. Cats offer companionship along with the same psychological benefits as dogs. However, there is not much activity since they don’t need to be walked. But they still need to play/pretend hunt.
- Try spending time at a pain management clinic that has an animal therapy program. Some of these clinics allow individuals to spend time with a therapy dog a few times per week. These are usually 15-minute sessions.
- Unable to locate a clinic in the area, try looking into other organizations that could provide therapy animals and programs. Local vets and animal shelters can be a good source of information for animal therapy programs.
Therapy and Service Dogs Are Not the SameWhen it’s time you might be ready for a dog of your own. Before searching the local shelter’s website, consider everything that comes with pet ownership. Factor in costs like:
- Veterinary care
- Behavior classes