Everyone loves a good disaster, apparently. The top 10 highest grossing disaster films (from No. 1 "Titanic," which took in well over $2 billion, to No. 10 "Twister" with $494 million) have grossed a combined total somewhere north of $8 billion.
While scary fictional catastrophes can entertain and amuse, catastrophizing about your level of chronic pain ("I am never going to feel better!") doesn't produce an enjoyable outcome.
In fact, it undermines both your physical and mental health.
Researchers from Penn State University looked at data provided by 143 older people with knee osteoarthritis and found that on the days when those folks reported that pain was causing them exaggerated feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, they were also afraid of moving around. As a result, they became sedentary.
And that, ironically, just worsens the pain and makes it harder to get the exercise people need to feel better.
Studies have found that more than 30 % of people with chronic pain catastrophize about it.
If you're stopped in your tracks by pain — or by fear that it will strike — it's time to dial down your worrying and step up your stepping.
The good news is that talk therapy can lead to walk therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps you change your thinking patterns, is the experts' first choice for helping people who contend with catastrophizing pain.
Once you overcome your fear of physical activity, walk therapy can ease osteoarthritis pain significantly.
The Arthritis Foundation also recommends aerobics (low impact), strength building, and range-of-motion/flexibility and aquatic exercises.
Check out physical activity programs approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for people with arthritis at www.cdc.gov/arthritis/interventions/physical-activity.html.