One patient’s treatment of chronic pain will differ from others. Surgery, physical therapy, and even nutrition and fitness coaching may play a role in pain management. A recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, however, suggests another activity – not necessarily physical – may impact a pain patient’s health for the better.
Acts of altruism, namely volunteering, could help reduce physical pain, according to this study. Researchers indicate that among the subjects tested for their experiments, the part of the brain that reacts to pain did so less with those who spent time in volunteer work or giving to charitable causes. Instead, a “helper’s high” sensation offered subjects a reward of feeling less pain during this period. (Source: CNN)
While the study’s abstract notes evidence of relief from induced pain, and chronic pain among cancer patients, it does not specifically mention joint pain. It also does not mean that altruism cannot impact conditions like arthritis or inflammation. Activities that combine light exercise and an aspect of volunteerism, such as participation in an awareness walk or community cleanup, may encourage that “helper’s high” in addition to aiding flexibility in knees, fingers and other affected areas.
At Bon Secours Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists, our physicians and fitness experts work with patients to determine the best treatments to improve quality of life. We treat joint pain brought on by illness, age or injury with care. If you have questions about the services we offer, contact us today.