It’s estimated that 20.4% of U.S. adults have chronic pain and a further 8% have high-impact chronic pain, totaling 69.9 million people. Chronic pain can affect a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks, from earning an income to falling to sleep at night. Research shows that being in the presence of a dog and petting them can help to distract from pain, provide comfort, and reduce the feelings of isolation that often results from chronic pain.
Better Sleep & Routines
Chronic pain and sleep problems go hand-in-hand, which can lead to serious health problems. Typically, dog owners will be advised to sleep without their pets in their bedroom as it’s believed that they can cause disruptions to sleep throughout the night. However, a recent study has found that people living with chronic pain who co-sleep with their pooches have “overwhelmingly positive” health effects. Participants reported that they enjoy the physical contact with their dog and it distracts them from feeling anxious and lonely, which results in better sleep. Dogs also help owners to get up each morning to see to their needs, stay active in the day, and go to bed at a similar time each night. This routine further helps people to fall to sleep easier and has a positive effect on all areas of life, from home to work.
A Better Work Environment
37% of people have had to take disability leave from work or change their job altogether due to chronic pain. However, ‘Take Your Dog To Work’ day is a growing trend and more companies are allowing dogs in the workplace all year round, including Amazon and Google. Dogs have great benefits for all employees, but for people with chronic pain, the effect can be the difference between them being able to do their job or not. Workers with dogs are more likely to go for several mini walks throughout the day so that their dogs can stretch and do their business. This simple exercise can help to reduce pain by increasing movement and helps to keep weight under control.
Less Painkillers Are Needed
Many people with chronic pain become dependent on painkillers to help them get through the day, all of which have many side effects and don’t always work. Owners often report that their dogs laying on or next to a painful joint or limb can be warm and act as a natural pain relief. Some dogs will even gently lick their humans, which acts as a massage and helps to relieve pain. This can help people to take painkillers that aren’t as strong or less often. With chronic pain often comes depression and dogs are well-known for boosting mood and helping people get out and meet their neighbors when they’re on walks. This can mean that antidepressants aren’t needed when isolation is the cause.
Dogs help to improve all areas of life, especially for people with chronic pain. Dogs can help them to get up in the morning and go to work so that they can lead as normal of a life as possible.