Pain often leads people to reduce involvement in social and recreational activities. People may feel that they cannot contribute socially as they once could or that they cannot keep up with friends in recreational activities, and so they withdraw. Unfortunately, this withdrawal and nonparticipation can lead to depressed mood and increased focus on pain and disability. The more adaptive approach is to remain socially active and involved in recreation. This requires some creativity as well as some willingness to be flexible and try different approaches.

Suggestions to increase participation in social and recreational activities

Think about activities you used to enjoy before pain became a problem. Then, try to think of ways to experience that enjoyment while also managing your discomfort. For example, you might consider how to shorten the time you personally spend on an outing or plan ways to take frequent breaks or change postures. Make a list of activities and options, and then plan a way to regularly do them. As you experiment with different activities, you will begin to discover new ways to participate and enjoy them.

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