Complex conditions like fibromyalgia and chronic pain syndrome are often triggered by a traumatic life event and hinders a person’s ability to perform regular tasks. There is no known cure in sight for these conditions, therefore, sufferers are often forced to mask their symptoms in an attempt to lead a normal life. In prior posts, we’ve mentioned the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle, to minimise the severity of symptoms, by establishing a good sleep routine, adapting a nutritious diet and incorporating daily low impact exercise. We also understand there’s not just one remedy for fibromyalgia patients and a combination approach is typically most effective. That’s why Brian Barr is constantly communicating emerging techniques to help sufferers cope, involving modern medication and traditional healing, such as music therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy and meditation. This post will highlight how animal companionship has the ability to aid fibromyalgia patients, both physically and emotionally, so continue reading the five points outlined below to find out:
- Relieves Your Mind
Fibromyalgia is known to consume a sufferer’s entire being. A lot of patients are unable to work or face a loss in wages due to the amount of time they’re away from work, usually attending appointments in an attempt to reach a diagnosis, for their widespread symptoms. If you’re in this position, as we’ve heard from fibromyalgia warrior Sue Hadden, it’s best to clearly communicate your condition in order to manage a suitable work-life balance. Having this stress on top of living with constant pain and discomfort is difficult enough, but many sufferers further burden themselves by constantly thinking about their state.
Pets force patients to focus their attention on something else that requires their care and concern and, therefore, leaves little attention for them to anguish over their wellbeing. Animals can have kind, nurturing and bizarre mannerisms that have been known to distract patients from their problems and allow them to see the brighter side of things. Even spending a small amount of time with a puppy can leave a patient, in constant pain, laughing at their antics.
- Facilitates a Healthy Lifestyle
Low impact exercise is encouraged for fibromyalgia patients and can easily be achieved by caring for a pet. The act of taking them for walks and playing or stroking their fur can be therapeutic for your muscles and joints, as well as support a healthy immune function. Pets also require their caretaker to habitually get up and move around the house in order to feed them, let them out or attend to their mischievous behaviour. This regular mobility is key to maintaining healthy circulation and will help relieve fibro fog. Plus, animals expel heat and snuggling next to them can actually soothe and relax stiff and achy muscles, while providing a sense of emotional comfort.
- Lifts Your Mood
Interacting with an animal can increase endorphins and act like a natural painkiller. And the less pain you’re in, even momentarily, will ease your breathing and slow down your heart rate to provide a calming relief. This happy sensation has been known to put sufferers in a better place to proactively handle their fibromyalgia symptoms head on.
- Provides New Companionship
It’s very common for fibromyalgia sufferers to feel alone and overwhelmed, as they face chronic pain, especially when you consider they are three times more likely to suffer from depression and their hormonal axis is frequent offset. When you’re in this state, it can be difficult to maintain relationships with the people closest to you and a quiet companionship may be incredibly comforting. It’s a hard situation for your loved ones to understand, and even though their efforts are sincere, their attempts to emphasise may fall short. Having a no-strings attached, loyal companionship may bring you the confidence and support that you’re seeking. In addition, this bond may trickle into your human relationships, as you may feel more relaxed, ready or willing to connect with people around you. Furthermore, having a pet also brings a new realm of social opportunity and interaction, especially if you choose a dog. If you head out to the park or for a walk around your neighbourhood, you’re likely to run into other dog owners and pets make a great icebreaker.
- Drives Routine and Responsibility
Fibromyalgia has the power to dominate your daily routine by inhibiting you to do the things you love and requiring you to spend time on things you don’t. Owning any type of animal requires a level of routine and responsibility, and provides their owner with the means and ability to do it, and as you’re taking care of them, you’re also taking control of at least one aspect of your life. And even if it feels like a dreaded task at the time, the overall experience is rewarding. Caring for a pet can also help you establish a regular sleeping pattern, which is important for your overall wellbeing.
Animal companionship is scientifically proven to have a positive impact on chronic pain and fibromyalgia sufferers, so even if you’re not particularly drawn to them, you may be pleasantly surprised with the outcome of spending time with one. Get in touch, if you’re a fibromyalgia or chronic pain sufferer that’s been influenced by having an interaction with an animal, we’re on facebook and twitter.