Friends, Family, and Faster Healing

Guess what this post is! It’s Post #100! The blog is just a little over 2 years old now and we have finally reached the triple digits. Because of this I’m going to step away from the chiropractic and nutrition for a minute and talk about something completely different today.

One of the questions on my intake forms as a doctor is “Do you have close friends and/or family?” It’s down there in the lifestyle section with questions about smoking and drinking and occupation. When people come across that one they often give me a weird look and ask me why that matters. Well, it really does matter in physical health as well as mental health.

Having someone around to check in on you is the most obvious benefit. Someone to keep you on track with your health goals and maybe work towards them with you. Moral support is great for getting where you want to and healing but on top of that research has repeatedly shown that people with a healthy social life and support network heal faster. Crazy, I know.

Our emotions play a role in our healing and we humans are social creatures. So when we have a social environment we feel safe in we are generally happier and calmer, which allows our bodies to heal faster. I don’t know the exact science behind WHY this happens but the research is out there. A positive outlook has been linked with better prognosis for patients with chronic conditions for a long time.

Similarly, research has shown that people who are happier have a measurably higher pain tolerance than those who are sad or depressed. So a social life and support network to keep you happy will also keep you healthy. Pets can have this effect on healing times, too. Research suggests that animals in the house decrease healing time and actually decrease the frequency of becoming sick as well. This may be due to the fact that pets make us be more active and clean more frequently, so it’s kind of like living with a hairy (or feathered) physiotherapist in your house.

So whether it is coming home to snuggle up to your loved one on the couch or just grabbing a coffee with a friend, make sure that you have a positive social support system in place for the next time you get hurt. Go ahead, grab the next friend you see, give them a big hug and say, “Thanks for making me healthy!”

Thanks for reading,
Dr. Ben

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