Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE Summer 2013, Issue 9 - Page 11

Cover Story Percentage of people feeling worse Percentage of people feeling better Here’s what we found: • Spending time in the regular waiting room didn’t make symptoms substantially better or worse. • Spending waiting time with a therapy dog significantly reduced pain, anxiety, and distress. was rated using a scale from zero for Painten for excruciating pain. Research no pain to studies typically look for a drop in pain severity of at least two points on this scale to represent what’s called clinically meaningful pain relief. For most people, they would say their pain has become much better when the level has dropped by two points. Clinically meaningful pain relief occurred for one in three people meeting with the therapy dog (34 percent of people) and only 4 percent of people waiting with the television and magazines. Spending time with the dog also improved people’s moods, with no change in the regular waiting room. • Before entering either waiting area, about one in five or six people (20 percent or less) felt calm, pleasant, or cheerful. • Feeling calm, pleasant, or cheerful didn’t change after waiting in the regular waiting area. • After spending time with the therapy dog, two in three people (over 60 percent) were calm, pleasant, and cheerful. did this study teach What one would think just your doctor? No spending time 11  Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain with a dog is all you need to do to make fibromyalgia symptoms get better. But spending therapeutic time with a friendly dog can help bring your symptoms down a notch, and that can make an important difference. We found that people felt more relaxed for their appointments, which may make them more likely to have good communication with the doctor and benefit more from other therapy appointments. Healthcare providers might take a lesson from this project and consider adding therapy dogs to their waiting rooms. with learn What can people If you fibromyalgia home from this study? have a dog at and have thought, “I feel so much better, less stressed, etc. when I spend some time with my dog,” you’ve just validated this study. People with a pet dog, cat, or another pet often find time with their pets soothing. Now you know that this time does more than simply distract you from your symptoms. Having some Fluffy time may be a good way to help bring symptoms down a bit and may be something to add in before exercise, relax