Orthopedic Injuries and Mental Health: What’s the Connection?

Summit physical therapist Joe Herdzina, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, explores the connection between orthopedic injury and mental health struggles like depression and anxiety.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Although you may not think that mental health challenges like depression and anxiety are connected with orthopedics, for many people, the two are interlinked. At times, orthopedic issues can certainly cause these problems due to limited mobility, limited social interaction, inappropriate education, and outsized expectations for healing. Read on to learn about the connection between orthopedic problems and mental health struggles.

There is a significant connection between reduced mobility, chronic pain, and mental health challenges like depression. “The simplest way to think about the connection among these is that they all start in the brain,” said Summit physical therapist Joe Herdzina, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS. “People who have decreased mobility as a result of injury have an increased risk of developing a depressed mood. They also may be missing out on the hormone boost that active movement and exercise can provide. It’s a vicious cycle of negative thoughts, which feed on each other and increase the difficulty of starting to move again.”

In addition, 30 to 50 percent of people with chronic pain also have depression and anxiety. So if you are dealing with orthopedic injuries, surgeries, or conditions that are causing chronic pain, what can you do to avoid mental health challenges as well? Here are some tips.

Tip 1: Take a holistic approach

 When your physical pain and orthopedic symptoms are affecting your mood, it can be helpful to try things like mindfulness exercises and meditation. Both of these can reduce pain and boost mood. To get started, there are many great YouTube videos, smartphone apps, and other free or low‐cost resources. Another idea is to listen to music that gives you enjoyment — anything that can provide a mood boost.

Tip 2: Get moving to improve orthopedic symptoms and boost mental health

It may seem counterintuitive to recommend movement and exercise to a person struggling with limited movement ability and pain. But it can really help. Studies show that even walking 6,000 steps a day can reduce joint pain in as little as six weeks for arthritis sufferers.

You don’t have to start a complex new workout regimen. Instead, start small. A simple walk around your neighborhood is a great first step.

“The first step is always the hardest,” Herdzina said. “But the benefits are real, and they’re significant.”

Tip 3: Get support

Use your peer group — friends, family, associates — to help you break the cycle of reduced mobility, pain, and mental health challenges. It can also be helpful to take a team approach, combating the problem from many angles. For example, some people, Herdzina said, could benefit from working with a physical therapist, a pain specialist, and a mental health therapist.

“Working with a team can help you put together a plan to help you feel better, with concrete steps to take,” Herdzina said.

Tip 4: Be kind to yourself for good orthopedic and mental health

Practicing self‐compassion is an important way to break the grip of depression and anxiety caused by pain. There are a variety of stress‐reduction therapies that can give you the mental clarity and energy you need.

Finally, in some cases, your doctor may recommend medication to deal with symptoms of depression or anxiety. Don’t be afraid to get help. It may be worth it to help you feel better after an injury or surgery.

Board of Regents – April Meeting Summary

The CSP Board of Regents met for its regular quarterly meeting on April 30, 2021. During the meeting, the Board:

Received the President’s, Provost’s, and Vice President of Finance’s quarterly reports. The president’s report highlighted a successful academic year, the progress and work of the LCMS 7-03 Task Force, and the HR 5 (Equality Act) legislation. The Provost’s report focused on the progress made toward accomplishing each of CSP’s five strategic goals. The Vice President of Finance’s report reviewed the current budget status and the proposed FY2022 budget.

Received an in-depth overview of CSP’s academic enterprise from Drs. Kimberly Craig, Kevin Hall, and Eric LaMott. The overview included a review of the following items: the five gates through which an academic program must pass before being added to the curriculum; current and proposed academic programs; and standard operating procedures related to faculty hiring and advancement in rank.

Heard from Vice President of Advancement Mark Hill and Mark Marshall of BWF about progress toward developing and launching the comprehensive campaign. 

Took the following actions:

  • Elected Mr. Mark L’Heureux as Chair beginning August 2021
  • Approved meeting minutes from the February and March 2021 Board meetings and Academic, Advancement, Executive, and Finance Committee minutes
  • Approved one tenure track faculty contract
    • To Assistant Professor
      • Jennifer Zafke
  • Approved advancement in rank for a number of faculty members
    • To Associate Professor
      • Dr. Brenda Davies
      • Dr. Katie Fischer
      • Dr. Eric Grube
      • Dr. Shani Johnson 
      • Dr. Laura Wangsness Willemsen
    • To Full Professor
      • Dr. Jean Rock
      • Dr. Stephen Ross
  • Granted emeritus status for Drs. Nancy Harrower and Marilyn Reineck
  • Approved the proposed budget for FY2022
  • Approved the negotiation and acquisition of a piece of property to the west of campus on Concordia Ave.

The Board enjoyed lunch with outgoing and incoming student senate executive board members and heard a presentation from marketing student Skylar Mihajlov, who did a research project about CSP students’ knowledge and opinions of CSP Ministry. Regents also had the opportunity to attend the Service of Sending, Honorary Awards Dinner, and commencement ceremonies.

Brian L. Friedrich
President

Snap a Selfie: CSP Reads Goes Virtual for 2021

CSP Reads

As has so much during the 2020-21 Academic Year, our annual CSP READS promotion is going to look a bit different. For this seventh year of showcasing our campus community on READ posters during the month of April in celebration of National Library Week we are asking you to reflect on how quarantine restrictions or reading in the time of COVID-19 impacted your habits – did you read more, did you avoid or gravitate to a certain genre, did binge-watching a show on Netflix or Hulu lead you to a book (Hello, Bridgerton! Hello Little Fires Everywhere!)?
If you agree to take part in this fun event promoting literacy and the library – and we sincerely hope you do – we invite you to snap a selfie (no photoshoots in the library this year) and fill out this Google Form. Your participation as a poster model, showcasing a favorite book, is a necessary ingredient for making this a success! As in the past, the READ posters will be highlighted both in the Library and online.

Please consider taking part in this fun event promoting literacy and the CSP Library, and encourage a colleague or classmate to join in the fun! We love the enthusiasm that people from all across campus have shown toward the Library and this project in the past and can’t wait to showcase this year’s posters, and we’d like YOU to be a part of it!

We look forward to hearing from you by the submission deadline on Friday, April 9!

If you have any questions, please reach out to CSP Library’s Jeanine Gatzke and Megan Johnson-Saylor.

2021 Spring Commencement– April 30 and May 1

CSP is preparing for three or more in-person commencement ceremonies that will take place on April 30, 2021, and May 1, 2021.

During the week of March 29, student RSVPs will help the commencement team determine ceremony breakdowns and times, which will also be live-streamed. Students will also be able to invite up to two guests. In order to adhere to venue capacity guidelines and to optimize space for graduates and their guests, faculty will not process and the ticketed ceremonies will not be open to the CSP community. Staff and faculty are, however, encouraged to volunteer and remain on-site during the ceremonies to celebrate our graduates’ accomplishments.

More information on volunteer opportunities will follow next week. Please direct students to the Commencement Website for additional information.

Annual Increase in Phishing in Spring

For the last six years, Concordia St. Paul has been tracking the number of phishing emails the university receives. Annually the university has seen an increase in phishing emails from March 1 through April 15. Here are a few tips on handling phishing emails.

  1. Check the email address from which the email is coming. There will be times you might receive what looks like an email from a CSP colleague, yet the “from” address is not a csp.edu email address.
  2. Stay clear of unsolicited attachments. If the email contains an attachment that you didn’t request, think twice before opening that attachment.
  3. Never reply to an email asking for PII (personally identifiable information) or asking you to provide money/gift cards.
  4. Check the signature line. If the email is from a CSP employee, you should notice the approved CSP signature line.
  5. If you see anything suspicious, let the IT department know so they can investigate the e-mail and the number of people who might have received the e-mail.
Following these simple reminders will help reduce the risk to CSP and to you. You are an important part of the university’s cybersecurity efforts.