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Benefits of a Service Dog for Pain Management

Posted on August 5th, 2019 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

Living with chronic pain can make your daily routine difficult. Say you have trouble bending down due to arthritis, or you need help crossing the street. A service dog can provide significant assistance to patients who suffer from daily chronic pain.

Individuals with limited mobility due to their chronic pain can utilize a service dog to ease the challenges of everyday life. Your companion can pick up the item you needed and place it in your hand. Additionally, a service dog can help push crosswalk buttons to prevent flare-ups in your pain. From helping with balance, obtaining items, or providing emotion support, a furry friend may just what you need.

Research Behind Service Dogs for Pain Management

Studies show that therapy dog visits have been effective in treating fibromyalgia, a common type of chronic pain. In nearly twelve minutes, researchers found that patients experienced a reduced level of pain, fatigue, and emotion distress. Service dogs can reduce your heart rate, blood pressure and boost your endorphins. Also, they can be trained to watch for sudden changes in behavior which allows them to quickly assist if something is wrong.

No one is better at easing our suffering than man’s best friend. Dogs are gifted with a natural drive to provide you with a sense of love, loyalty, and support. With extensive training, dogs can provide irreplaceable assistance to those who live with chronic pain.

Types of Support Dogs

There are three types of support dogs that patients can be paired with:

Emotional Support Dogs

Emotional support dogs provide their owner with comfort and support. The primary role of these animals is to provide companionship to their owner. They do not need specialized training and are permitted in certain types of housing that otherwise prohibit animals.

Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs are a solution for patients who do not have the ability or desire to care for an animal full-time. You can still receive the therapeutic benefits of spending time with a pet through therapy visits where the animal’s owner is typically present.

Service Dogs

A service dog is defined as a dog that “has been trained – to assist an individual with disabilities, to perform tasks, on command.” Service dogs have the ability to retrieve dropped objects, fetch medications, or summon help.

If you think a service or support dog could help you, speak with your orthopedist. They can give you information about how you can adopt or train a support animal. If you need help, the Assistance Dogs International is a not-for-profit assistance dog coalition that helps individuals find a dog that best matches their needs.
At Orthopaedic Specialty Group, we offer a wide variety of treatments to help our patients deal with mild to severe chronic pain, strains, and more. Contact us today to schedule your appointment (203) 337-2600!