The Isolation Trap It’s easy to let pain get the best of you and to fall into certain habits that may actually make your pain worse. Here are five common traps—and how to overcome them.
Arthritis pain trap #1: Isolation. It’s normal to opt out of activities because of the pain and to avoid people because you feel you can’t relate to them anymore. But inactivity can actually increase your pain and lead to depression, which can make your pain worse[hyperlink].
Overcome it: “Fake it until you make it,” says Ingela Symreng, Psy.D., director of psychology for the department of anesthesiology and pain medicine at the University of California at Davis. Try to reach out to family and friends, even if it’s just making a phone call. Go to family gatherings even if you don’t feel like it—getting out is bound to make you feel better. Join online groups such as the Arthritis Central message board on iVillage or the Arthritis Foundation’s online community groups. You can talk about your issues with people who understand, which can help lighten your emotional load, says Patience White, M.D., vice president for public health at the Arthritis Foundation and professor of medicine and pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine.