The healing power of pets

The Healing Power of PetsThey have their own personalities, favorite toys and many nicknames. They’re with you during your happy times, your struggles and all the days in between. They keep you company after midnight when neck or back pain leads to sleepless nights.

“My girl Bailey seemed to know when I was in pain,” said Kathern C., a Laser Spine Institute patient. “Before my surgery, she would sit on my lap and give me kisses to help me forget about the pain for a little while.”

Whether your animal family members have fur, tails or scales, pets are an important part of the household. But pets aren’t just family; they help us find relief. Here are four secrets to how pet ownership may help your neck or back pain:

  1. Reducing your distress It’s a warm, fuzzy feeling — possibly literally. Petting a furry friend may not only put a smile on your face but may also have a positive effect on your neck and back pain. In fact, spending time with any kind of pet may also help stimulate the release of endorphins, lower blood pressure and soothe feelings of isolation, anxiety and sadness. By getting your stress levels under control, you can reduce the muscle tension that aggravates neck and back pain.
  1. Keeping you active — Sometimes the pain makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning. Then, you remember that it’s breakfast time. Your pet is hungry and ready to play, and that friendly face relies on you every single day. Owning a pet keeps you moving, while an active lifestyle may help support your spine by strengthening your muscles and maintaining a healthy weight. Dog owners can also reap the health benefits of daily walks and playing fetch.
  1. Improving your social life — It’s true — pets can give your social life a bigger boost than social media. Pets are always great conversation starters, especially at places like dog parks and other pet-friendly hotspots. When your pet gets you out of the house, they’re helping you make social connections and maintain an active lifestyle. Do you have a friend who’s a fellow animal lover? Try making plans for a pet play date! 
  1. Lending a helping paw — Living with neck or back pain can put a damper on your everyday routine, but your pet may be able to help. Through proper training with verbal cues or hand signals, you can teach your pet to assist you with little things that cause a lot of pain. For example, an animal may be trained to pick up items that you drop on the ground, or turn a light switch on and off.

“Some would say he’s just a mutt,” said Vincent G., a Laser Spine Institute patient. “But he’s been the best physical therapy sidekick a guy could ask for.”

If physical therapy, pain medication or other nonsurgical treatment has not helped you find relief from severe neck or back pain, reach out to Laser Spine Institute today — our minimally invasive outpatient procedures may be able to help you.


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