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Keywords:

  • headache;
  • chronic pain;
  • pet ownershi

SYNOPSIS

The belief that having household pets promotes good health is ubiquitous among Americans. Recent studies support this belief where certain medical conditions are concerned. To investigate the advantages of pet ownership in the prophylaxis of headache and other chronic pain conditions, we queried 62 patients suffering from such diseases about whether they owned pets and whether children and other adults shared their households. We similarly queried a control group of 38 patients with various conditions not involving headache or chronic pain. We found that statistically, the experimental group and the control group were not significantly different in their household compositions. In fact, those with headaches and chronic pain, on average, owned slightly more pets and had slightly more children and other adults sharing their households than did those without headache or chronic pain conditions. Thus, contrary to our expectations, pet ownership apparently conferred no analgesic benefits, nor did the presence of children or of other adults in the household confer any benefit to headache and other chronic pain sufferers.