Faculty News

Michigan Minds: Pets and Chronic Pain Management

Can pets help with pain? Researchers at the University of Michigan say “Probably.” A recent study showed that there are a number of ways older adults with chronic pain perceive that their pets are helpful to managing pain. 

In this episode of Michigan Minds, Mary Janevic, Associate Research Scientist, Health Behavior & Health Education, shares some of the ways they found pets can help with health management on a daily basis.

The study involved 25 older adults with significant chronic pain who are also pet owners. One of the ways pets help them is through bringing them joy and laughter that distracts from their pain. 

“We also heard that pets really gave them a sense of purpose,” Janevic said. “Both in the everyday sense that they had a routine that they needed to do with their pet, and it kept them going even if they were having a bad pain day.”

Janevic added that one of the key messages in chronic pain self-management is to stay active even while you’re experiencing pain. 

“We are hoping that this will be another way that people can effectively manage chronic pain, and live fuller lives with chronic pain.”

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