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Orthopedic clinics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis ask patients to fill out an electronic questionnaire at each visit. Analyzing data from questions about anxiety and depression, researchers have found that as patients’ musculoskeletal health improves, anxiety and depression don’t necessarily follow suit.

Pain from an injured back, shoulder or hip can make a person feel frustrated, anxious or even depressed. Many in health care may assume that when such injuries heal, mental health also improves. But a new study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that over the long term, symptoms of depression and anxiety often don’t subside when an orthopedic patient’s physical pain improves.

The researchers studied de-identified data from the medical charts of more than 11,000 patients treated in Washington University orthopedic clinics over a period of almost seven years. They found that symptoms of anxiety improved only when a patient had major improvements in physical function — but that even significant improvements in physical function were not associated with meaningful improvements in depression.

A recent study has uncovered a concerning connection between orthopedic patients’ physical health improvements and their mental well-being. Contrary to expectations, the research indicates that even when physical health conditions improve, mental health may not necessarily follow suit. This finding underscores the significance of holistic care and support for individuals undergoing orthopedic treatments.

The study, published in a prominent medical journal, examined a cohort of orthopedic patients and assessed their mental health outcomes alongside their physical recovery. Surprisingly, the results showed that despite significant improvements in physical functioning, mental health symptoms did not consistently ameliorate. The researchers suggest that the interplay between physical and mental health is complex and requires careful consideration.

This study’s findings shed light on the importance of comprehensive care that considers both the physical and mental aspects of a patient’s well-being. Orthopedic patients facing challenges during recovery may experience emotional distress, depression, anxiety, or even turn to substance abuse as a coping mechanism.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction due to orthopedic treatments or any other circumstance, support and professional assistance are available. is committed to providing guidance and tailored addiction treatment solutions to needy individuals. Our compassionate team of experts is ready to offer the support required to embark on a recovery journey.

To take the first step towards a healthier, addiction-free life, reach out to‘s helpline at 855–339-1112. Our dedicated professionals are here to listen, provide valuable information, and guide you or your loved ones toward lasting recovery. Remember, you don’t have to face addiction alone—help is just a phone call away.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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