Can watching horror movies lower Chronic pain levels? Do movies help improve mental health?

I came across a few article that claims watching horror movies may help reduce chronic pain. I never thought watching a scary movie could actually benefit my pain levels. I have never heard of this theory before. However, the information presented in both articles does make sense to why it may reduce chronic pain


According to both articles I read on pain and horror movies, both writers explained that according to experts and research our brain is not capable of producing pain and fear at the same time. Our brain may flicker back and forth between pain and fear while watching a horror movie. I tried to look up this theory, but I was not successful in finding any information to back this up. However, the article did mention Professor Lorimer Moseley’s name. Moseley is a professor of clinical neurosciences and an expert in pain from the University of South Australia. He has published over 300 papers and 6 books. You can also find many of his videos on Youtube. It appears Moseley has a podcast – the information could have been shared in one of his podcast presentations.


When we watch horror movies, our body enables our fight or flight system. It is believed that in fibromyalgia our system is stuck in the fight mode. When our fight or flight system is triggered properly, our body releases more endorphins, adrenaline and dopamine. The boost of adrenaline causes your heart to race and pump more blood to your muscles. In a previous blog I posted I shared that Dr. Liptan stated that in fibromyalgia there is lack of blood flow to the muscles of people with fibromyalgia. Would the increased blood flow, lower pain levels? Endorphins help relieve pain, reduce stress and improve over all well being. If we experience an increase in endorphins while watching a horror movie, could this be why people with chronic pain feel lower levels?! As for the increased dopamine levels, it can possibly help lower chronic pain. According to evidence, a disruption to normal dopamine levels plays a role in fibromyalgia.


Does watching a horror movie really lower pain levels? Or does it just make us watch intensively and we are distracted from the pain at the time!? I don’t have the answer, but it would be easy to trial this theory! Turn on some horror films and test it out yourself! Movies in general help us escape from reality for a short period of time.


Watching movies can also benefit our mental health.

1. Relaxation. Ever had a movie night in on a Saturday evening? I have. Often times when I need down time, I will turn on a movie. We all need to sit back and relax every so often.

2. Movies can be a mood booster. Everyone likes different types of movies, but a good comedy movie that can make you laugh the entire movie boosts my mood. How about you!?


3. Reduces stress. Back to the comedy movie – laughter helps reduce levels of hormones in the body responsible for stress.

Did you know there is actually movie therapy ( cinema therapy) !? It is usually directed by a therapist for therapeutic purposes. Read more about it here.


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