• Dan Kao

Mental Health, Injury, and Advocacy (Part 3)

This week is the final post in our blog series with Kerry Morris! We take a look this week a powerful tool to help you evaluate your emotional and mental health after an injury!


Missed the beginning? Check out

Part 1

Part 2


Emotional and Mental Health is a Critical to Recovery

As a knee patient advocate and former ACL patient, I learned very early on that it is essential to ensure that your mind and body are equally as healthy as each other. It is easy to discount our emotional well-being as we navigate our physical health. If we pause and take a moment to conceptualize the silent impact that our mind takes during our knee recovery it truly is astounding.

How many thoughts per day are you having about the future of your mobility, your pain, or the outlook of your life after surgery?

Using the Pain Catastrophizing Scale to Help You Advocate for Yourself

In doing research on how we can better our emotional health, it was important to me to be able to provide my jourknee followers with a tool to evaluate their emotional roadmap.

I stumbled upon; The Pain Catastrophizing Scale, the scale was created in 1995 as a self report measure of thirteen questions, scored from 0 to 4 . The highest score of fifty-two indicates high levels of anxiety, depression and catastrophic thinking. Additionally having a high score may indicate the need to seek mental health services about your situation.

I am not a doctor but I can attest that I would have tested near the high score with relation to this scale during my recovery. This test is eye opening for patients and all orthopedic industry providers. I truly feel this is a scale that should be given to all orthopedic patients. As it would give the surgeon or PT an idea of where we, as patients, are coping with our diagnosis.

I have heard from many Orthopedic surgeons and industry related professionals who were not aware of the mental trauma a knee injury presents until it happened to them. Therefore, I truly believe we need to make a scale like this available in orthopedic offices to provide the best resources for patients.

For example, if this scale is administered and the results are high, then the next step should be to provide the patient with mental health resources on therapy options. Currently, this is NOT the standard of care, which translates to your surgeon is not mandated to provide any mental health resources to you, nor is your physical therapist.

Therefore, as the patient, you are left to become your biggest advocate. Therefore, I want to provide the information on this scale in the hopes that you as the reader can become educated on your options. Please use this scale as a reference with your own circumstance and reflect on your answers. Talk to your healthcare provider about this scale and your answers and see what services may be available to assist you at this time. One of the most important things that you can do for yourself is to become your biggest advocate, and I truly believe that is being one with the mind and body.


Interested in more?

You can check out her site here: https://linktr.ee/Lifeisajourknee

Or her IG here: @lifeisajourknee

And she will be speaking at ACL Study Day 2020 and can be heard in person or on livestream


KERRY MORRIS, BS, MPA, is a former patient of ACL surgery and Massachusetts native. She tore her ACL in May of 2018 and underwent surgery in June of 2018. As a non athlete, she found herself with an infamous sports injury in the world of orthopedics. Her world was turned upside down. Through pain and persistence she learned that the mental and emotional health was just as paramount as the recovery process. After months of physical therapy; ignorance was no longer bliss. Throughout her recovery, it became a profound goal of hers to help others through the use of her Instagram handle @lifeisajourknee. Through this digital avenue, she has reached out to thousands of knee surgery patients from all over the world. She believes that it is not enough to suggest that physical therapy and "at-home" rehab will cure the invisible scars  that are left as a heavy burden on the minds of  patients. Her goal is to support igniting the change that is needed to respect mental health therapy in the same way physical therapy is regarded for recovery. 


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