When you’re feeling isolated and lonely because you can no longer do the social activities that once came easy – playing basketball, taking the dog for a run or going dancing with friends – you fully understand how social pain hurts every bit as much as physical pain.
According to evidence reported in Current Directions in Psychological Science, the reason social pain can be so traumatic might be because it’s processed in some of the same regions of the brain as physical pain.
Nancy Eisenberger, co-director of the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at UCLA, published the first brain-imaging paper revealing the overlap in 2003. She explains that physical pain has two components: sensory and emotional.
“The sensory part of physical pain is mapped in the brain depending on which part of the body is hurt, but the emotional component – how distressing your brain determines the pain to be – is registered in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC). That’s also where the sting of social pain is processed.
The affective component, which tells you more how the pain is bothering you, how much suffering it is causing – that experience seems to be more localized to the dACC and the anterior insula.”
Mary Heinricher, Ph.D., Professor, departments of Neurological Surgery and Behavioral Neuroscience writes: “The idea that physical and emotional pain have parallel underpinnings in the brain makes sense if we think of the importance of relationships with other people for social species such as ourselves. For example, an infant or child abandoned by his or her parents is unlikely to flourish, and may not survive. In evolutionary terms, isolation and loss of social relationships could hamper survival and reduce fitness just as much as physical injury.”
In other words, when we can barely physically get around, emotional issues such as loneliness and lack of self esteem rear their ugly heads.
Because we can no longer join our friends in some of their more physically active pastimes, we may find them slowly drifting off in different directions. It’s not because they no longer care about us, but simply because some of the activities they pursue are ones we can no longer participate in. As a result, we find ourselves spending more and more time alone, which gives us more and more time to think about how much physical pain we have.
Overcoming Social Pain
When you emotionally feel well, you can tackle other issues – such as your physical pain – with renewed vigor and spirit. So what can you do to recharge your social battery and get on to eliminating the physical problem?
Let’s take a quick glance at your currently non-existent social calendar. Chances are your friends are not intentionally excluding you, but instead are at a loss as to how to include you in their physically active lives. They probably just haven’t figured out what you can all do together. Why not help them?
Recharge your social batteries: Hosting regular social get-togethers that everyone can participate in, is a great way to rekindle friendships. After all, friendship is not about what activities you do, but simply that you do them together.
How about inviting friends over to watch ‘the game’? Or why not host a chess or bridge club, or a sewing group, or a book club or an art appreciation group? Your imagination and the sky are the limit.
Eliminating Physical Pain
Obviously the ultimate goal is not only to overcome social pain and isolation, but to permanently get rid of your chronic physical pain. Let’s face it, when you’re physically well, life is generally much easier. The answer to eliminating your chronic physical pain can be found within the pages of this website. Here’s a good place to get started: How The Foot Can Create Muscle And Joint Pain In The Entire Body.
Reading the Curing Chronic Pain website will give you more information about the abnormal foot structures Professor/Dr. Rothbart discovered that cause many forms of chronic muscle and joint pain and help you determine whether an Initial Phone Consultation with him might be helpful.
For a more complete explanation of the Rothbarts Foot and PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity, read: Abnormal Foot Structures That Cause Chronic Pain.
As you learn more about Professor/Dr. Rothbart’s innovative therapy, you may find that addressing and effectively treating your foot structure may be the missing link to ending your long time battle with unrelenting muscle and joint pain.
If you have questions about what’s involved in being treated with Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy by long distance, see our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Page by clicking here.
If you would like to contact Professor/Dr. Rothbart regarding an appointment to resolve your chronic muscle and joint pain, click here.
Professor/Dr. Brian A. Rothbart
Chronic Pain Elimination Specialist
Discovered the Rothbarts Foot and PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity
Developer of Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy
Inventor and Designer of Rothbart Proprioceptive Insoles
Founder of the International Academy RPT
Free Excerpt from Professor/Dr. Rothbart’s second book, The Foot’s Connection To Chronic Pain