Rheumatism patients suffer from constant pain. That reduces the quality of life. However, a new study now shows that a dog can improve this significantly.

Patients with a chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease have a lower quality of life, among other things due to their permanent pain and possible depression. It has now been proven that a dog can improve this significantly, writes the German Society for Rheumatology e.V. (DGRh) in a statement. In view of the study, she emphasizes the importance of exercise in rheumatic diseases.

A current study by the Hanover University of Applied Sciences on joint rheumatism in women and men who keep a dog or cat at home proves the positive influence on quality of life. 150 people with arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and spondyloarthritis (SpA) from the rheumatology outpatient clinic were asked about their condition.

“With our data, we have demonstrated the positive influence of dogs on depression and quality of life in patients with inflammatory rheumatic joint diseases. However, it is not possible to determine from the available data whether this effect is solely due to the increased exercise caused by owning a dog or also to an emotional attachment to the pet,” summarized study leader Stefanie Hirsch at the German Rheumatology Congress 2022.

The European Alliance Of Associations For Rheumatology (EULAR) also underscores the fact that exercise is beneficial for those affected by chronic inflammatory joint diseases. In their current recommendations, the experts clearly advocate exercising as regularly as possible, from equipment training to moderate-intensity aerobics and cardio gymnastics.

Various studies have shown that people with rheumatism who exercise around 150 minutes a week alone or in groups feel much better. Her pain, fatigue and depression reduced, mobility and quality of life improved significantly. Those who also eat healthily, consume only moderate alcohol and tobacco, reduce and control their weight benefit even more in terms of reduced symptoms.

“If patients with inflammatory rheumatic joint diseases decide not only to walk the dog, but also to do sports, they can significantly improve their quality of life again,” comments Andreas Krause, 2nd Vice President of the DGRh and Chief Physician at the Immanuel Hospital in Berlin and recommendations.

That being said, there are other remedies to relieve the pain. These include cortisone, NSAIDs or highly technical biologicals. Here you can read which ones really help.